Asian Urbanisms

Cluster Projects

1.
Project Name
Aspirations, Urban Governance, and the Remaking of Asian Cities (Theme: Spaces of Hope)
 
Description
This multi-disciplinary research project examines the conditions and consequences of community and institutional aspirations in urban Asia. Bringing together ten urban researchers working on 15 cities across 7 different countries in the region, the project begins from three foundational research questions: 1) What kind of cities and urban lives do community groups and institutions aspire to? 2) Where do these aspirations come from and in what ways are they, in turn, adapted for aspirational actions in different urban contexts? 3) In what ways are cities being reshaped and remade through the aspirational interactions of communities and institutions?
 
Timeline
January 2013 to December 2015
 
Awarding Body
MOE AcRF Tier 2
 
Contact
Tim Bunnell (geotgb@nus.edu.sg)
2.
Project Name
Cyber China: Making Space for Change (Theme: Spaces of Hope)
 
Description
Recognizing that the Internet is shifting how we utilize and think about space, this project is focused on understanding and conceptualizing emerging forms of spatialities around phenomena and events that concurrently span virtual and material worlds. It examines the aspirations and actions of people living in specific places across urban China (and Taiwan) and how they utilise the Internet to make the(ir) world(s) a better place, both independent of and in interaction with state and corporate actors. Expected outcomes include two co-edited books on Online China and a monograph, tentatively titled "Cyber China: making space for change."
 
Completion
May 2014
 
Contact
Peter Marolt (marolt@nus.edu.sg)
3.
Project Name
Situating Decentralization in Urban Milieux: Challenges and Opportunities of Autonomy for Urban Indonesia
 
Description
This project explores the impact of decentralization, or regional autonomy (otonomi daerah) as it is called locally, on Indonesia’s increasingly complex urban development landscape. Growing urbanization and democratic decentralization over the past decade have cast into relief issues relating to environmental sustainability, urban governance and development, the role of the private sector, social cohesion and public participation. The project considers how state and non-state actors see themselves within this rapidly changing environment and the range of choices available to them in order to further our understanding of why some autonomous urban jurisdictions thrive under the new system while others continue to stagnate in the margins of development.
 
Completion
March 2012
 
Investigator(s)
Michelle Miller (arimam@nus.edu.sg)
4.
Project Name
Decentering Nation: The New Geography of Urban and Regional Development in Indonesia
 
Description
This research examines the geography of policy innovation at the provincial, city and regency scales as a result of decentralization in Indonesia. We seek to discover the content of urban and economic development policy innovation, focusing on where policy developments are drawn from or travel to and how they travel. In the era of decentralization following the Suharto New Order regime (1966–1998), the vast archipelago of Indonesia represents something of a laboratory in which there are numerous local experiments in urban and economic development policy innovation. A variety of cities, regencies and provinces have emerged in the national media and in audits and rankings (by the likes of KPPOD and World Bank) as ‘models’ of good governance, local economic development and urban infrastructure policy and practice. Some such as Batam owe much of their success to selective central government policies of the Suharto era but many others have emerged since the introduction of decentralization laws as a product of local initiative (for example, Solo) to be coveted by central government in Jakarta and by local governments in Indonesia and abroad.
 
Completion
December 2013
 
Contact
Nicholas A. Phelps (PRI),
Tim Bunnell (geotgb@nus.edu.sg),
Michelle Miller (arimam@nus.edu.sg)
5.
Project Name
Natural Disasters and Governance: Enhancing Preparedness, Response and Rebuilding (Theme: Disaster Governance)
 
Description
This project brings theoretical and practical expertise to address how governance mechanisms can be enhanced to address natural disasters. It engages leading experts on governance and natural disasters to prepare country-specific case studies to be presented and conducted at a workshop to be held in the Asia-Pacific region, to build on the failures derived from past experiences towards better mitigating and recovering from future disasters.
 
Timeline
January 2013 to July 2013. Conference will be held in July 2013 in Hawaii.
 
Partners
Asia-Pacific Governance and Democracy and the East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii.
 
Contact
Mike Douglass (michaeld@nus.edu.sg)
6.
Project Name
Mera Karachi Mobile Cinema (Theme: Spaces of Hope)
 
Description
This project endeavours to generate visually stirring, collective experiences in outdoor public spaces in Pakistan's leading metropolis, Karachi. The main objective is to generate dialogues within and about marginalized and ethnically stratified communities by using travelling projections of cell phone videos. The screenings held in different unplanned settlements across Karachi will generate a rich exchange that crosses social, cultural and religious boundaries. In Pakistan, and perhaps elsewhere as well, it is rare to find such artistic interventions concerning the city. Key questions posed are: How might we re-think and interrogate site-specific practices? How should we conceive of the Pakistani/South Asian city? What constitutes the public sphere?
 
Timeline
December 2012 – July 2013 (project to be implemented in two separate phases)
 
Contact
Nausheen Anwar (arinha@nus.edu.sg)
1.
Project Name
Decentralization and Urban Change in Indonesia
 
Description
This pilot study assesses the impact of Indonesia’s decentralization project on four Indonesian cities: Jakarta, Banda Aceh, Padang and Sidoarjo. The project explores the relationship between decentralization and urban transformation within these cities as units of analysis in their own right, as well as the networks and linkages forged between cities as a result of the devolution of state power and resources. The selected cities share a recent history of particular localized challenges that have forced local governments to try to reinvent themselves as new centers of innovation and creativity while establishing networks with other cities in Indonesia and beyond. The comparative potential of the lessons learned from these sites will be established to determine their value in approaching other urban environments experiencing the processes and structures of decentralization within and beyond Asia.
 
Awarding Body
Asia Research Institute
 
Investigator(s)
Michelle Miller and Tim Bunnell
 
Proposed date of completion
December 2011
2.
Project Name
Asia's Civil Spheres: New Media, Urban Public Space, Social Movements
 
Description
Asian cities are some of the key sites where everyday life takes place and where new urban spaces and social practices are negotiated. Asia's Civil Spheres zooms in on creative re-imaginings of what 'political action' means in our Global Information Age and on how people continue to create worlds that are worth living in. Focusing on social and political activism as one particular area of cultural activities, the project examines how people use the Internet to spread thoughts and ideas, create and re-create meaningful institutions and social movements, and bring about legible social change. The Why (a.k.a. 'individual and shared aspirations/agency/activisms') and the Where ('space' and 'place') are adopted as equally important and mutually informing interpretive categories for understanding.
 
Awarding Body
Asia Research Institute, Office of Deputy President (Research & Technology) and Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences Cities Cluster, NUS
 
Investigator(s)
Peter Marolt and Rita Padawangi
 
Proposed date of completion
Sep 2012
3.
Project Name
Investment Promotion and Local Economic Development in Indonesia
 
Description
The project explored economic development policy into Indonesia in three cities: Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Central Java and Banda Aceh. The study involved interviewing policymakers in Yogyakarta and Central Java, and combined this new research with previous interviews in Aceh conducted in 2008 and 2009. We updated our interviews in Aceh in early 2011. Our investigators asked questions about improvements to the efficacy of Indonesia’s investment environment in each of these locations and gauged the articulation of World Bank efforts with those of the Indonesian government’s own investment board (BKPM) and local government efforts to stimulate economic development.
 
Awarding Body
Bartlett School of Planning, University College London
 
Investigator(s)
Nicholas A. Phelps (PI), Tim Bunnell, Michelle Miller
 
Proposed date of completion
March 2011