Grants
Heat in Urban Asia: Past, Present, and Future
Description

Our research investigates the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect in Singapore. The combination of climate change and local urbanisation is already a problem and is set to become worse, impacting on social, economic, and cultural life. Unlike scientific studies that focus on models and projections however, our team believe that the myriad challenges posed by urban heat cannot be addressed adequately from within the confines of a single disciplinary tradition. Lead by historians, but involving climate scientists, geographers and sociologists, our preliminary research will set the basis for a larger interdisciplinary project to examine the problem of heat in Asian cities past, present, and future.

Our research has three central themes. Firstly, Taking the City’s Temperature investigates the record of historic temperatures. This integrates quantitative data derived from instrumental temperature records available in archives with qualitative data from historic sources. Our eventual aim is to extend the timeline further into the past than any previous project. Secondly, Living with Heat explores how Asian city dwellers have coped with the quotidian discomforts of life in a hot environment, examining how heat exposure intersects with poverty and vulnerability in dwellings and workplaces. Thirdly, Disastrous Heat examines what happens when temperatures reach hazardous levels. Heatwave disasters are already causing widespread public health and economic problems annually in Asia and will get worse over the next few decades. We are uncovering a record of historic events to determine disaster trends and explore whether policymakers and relief agencies can look to historic solutions for future disaster risk reduction.

Awarding Body: Humanities and Social Sciences Seed Fund Grant

Investigator(s)
Gregory CLANCEYFiona WILLIAMSON, CHOW Winston, CHANG Jiat-Hwee, COURTNEY Chris, Chan Johnny
Duration
01 September 2017 to 01 March 2019
Making Identity Count in Asia: Identity Relations in Singapore and its Neighborhood
Description

This is a three-year grant commencing in September 2017 awarded by the newly-created Singapore Social Science Research Council. It involves investigating the national identities of all ASEAN countries, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong in 2010 and 2015.  The national identities of these countries will be recovered using discourse analysis of mass and elite texts in each country Singapore will also be a testbed for multiple methodological approaches beyond discourse analysis, including a national survey, focus groups, ethnographies, and an analysis of social media.  Monographs and research articles are planned on the identity relations among these states, between these states and great powers, the national identity projects of these states, as well as on multiple methodological approaches to studying national identity. The project involves NUS faculty from Political Science, Sociology, Southeast Asian Studies, History, as well as from Yale-NUS, SMU, and NTU. The project is related to the Making Identity Count project which aims at creating a large-n interpretivist national identity database for all great powers from 1810-2010. The first publication from that project is Making Identity Count (Oxford 2016).

Investigator(s)
Ted HOPF
Duration
01 September 2017 to 31 August 2020
Sustainable Governance of Transboundary Environmental Commons in Southeast Asia
Description

As a small, island city-state, Singapore is closely interconnected, economically, environmentally and politically, with regional neighbours in Southeast Asia.  The resilience and reliability of these interconnections have facilitated economic growth, regional stability and cordial diplomatic relations.  Development benefits in the region have not come without costs, however; rising living standards are associated with increasing rates of resource extraction, reduced environmental quality and impoverishment of biodiversity that have negative ramifications for exposed population groups.  Often the negative environmental impacts are transboundary, impacting populations, activities and environments great distances and in different jurisdictions from the locations of resource extraction.

 This project involves research on transboundary environmental commons in Southeast Asia, with collaborating partners in Singapore, Canada, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Indonesia. More specifically the research seeks to:

1) identify the drivers and impacts associated with two major transboundary environmental challenges impacting land, water and atmosphere in Southeast Asia i.e. biomass burning and haze, and hydropower development and water resources;

2) examine these transboundary challenges in the context of the governance of transboundary environmental commons, or common pool resources, within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as the identification of relevant best practices worldwide; and

3) contribute to environmental sustainability within ASEAN, as well as provide an evidence-based foundation for policy-making and implementation at both national and ASEAN levels that enhances Singapore’s reputation as a responsible neighbour and a leader in sustainability sciences

Awarding Body: Singapore Social Sciences Research Council (SSRC); Grant No: R-395-000-048-120; Timeline: 2017 - 2022

 

Investigator(s)
Jonathan RIGGDavid Taylor
Duration
01 August 2017 to 31 July 2022
Transnational Relations, Ageing and Care Ethics (TRACE)
Description

Our research considers care circulations with a focus on how transnational relations, ageing and care ethics (TRACE) extend across national borders. We investigate how global care circulations mediate experiences of ageing and what this means for transnational relations and care ethics. Increasingly, older adults are moving across national borders to provide care or to receive care; also participating in such care circulations are younger transnational migrants who are family members of those older adults or who have been employed to care for older adults. Study of how ageing is experienced across national borders and through transnationalism remains an underdeveloped field both in terms of empirical research and wider theorisation.

Our TRACE project considers three interrelated aspects of care circulation: (1) grandparenting migration; (2) caring for the aged and the left-behind care chains of foreign carers; and (3) retirement migration. The project focuses on Singapore as a hub where the logics of care mediate migration inflows and outflows, connecting the country to regional sites of care such as Myanmar and China, which we have identified for study. Our project also sets Singapore in international comparative perspective with Australia, which experiences similar care-mediated migration trends that connect the country to China. This project thus considers regional care connections as well as international comparisons of ageing and care.

We combine qualitative research methods with GIS analysis and visualisation to spatially depict and deepen understanding of ageing. Our mixed methods approach enables the project to integrate analyses of micro-mobility and macro-mobility, developing a grounded understanding of care relations that is useful for (re)conceptualising care ethics in transnational contexts

Investigators: Elaine Lynn-Ee Ho, Shirlena Huang, Thang Leng Leng and Brenda Yeoh

Investigator(s)
Elaine Lynn-Ee HO
Duration
02 January 2018 to 01 January 2021
Transnationalism and Diaspora: Enhancing demography’s contribution to migration and development
Description

The replacement of permanent movements by transnationalism as the dominant paradigm in migration studies has raised new questions for demographic measurement and study of migration. This study rethinks demographic concepts of population and migration to incorporate elements such as diaspora, circular migration, and transnational linkages. It shows how use of traditional demographic data with integrated quantitative and qualitative research can yield important insights into diaspora, in particular, the diaspora–migration–development nexus. Four country case studies are undertaken to increase understanding of the characteristics of diasporas, their international linkages, and their potential for enhancing development in origin countries.

Investigator(s)
Brenda YEOH, Andrew Rosser, Fei Guo, Yan Tan
Duration
01 June 2017 to 31 December 2020
Urban Gardening in East and Southeast Asia: Transformations in Perspective and Practice
Description

The resurgence of urban farming and gardening has taken an eminent role in cities across East and Southeast Asia over the last few years. This interdisciplinary project aims at understanding the varied urban gardening and farming practices as well as their socio-political, cultural and historical significance for well-being, community building, participatory urbanism, civil society and redevelopment of the urban environment in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei and Seoul.

This is the first academic research with comparative approach in the regional context that seeks to examine the significance of urban gardening and farming for the past, today and future. The interdisciplinary framework builds on Urban sociology, Environmental aesthetics, Planning and governance, and History and legacy. The four cities are chosen for their position in shared historical trajectories: they are at the turning point where there is a significantly stronger ecological awareness, more active urban citizenship, and new forms of economic and communal experimentations. The comparative perspective also derives from their historical imperial past – which connect them with colonial British and Japanese regimes, and their geographic situation as regional hubs for the exchange of people, belief systems and scientific knowledge. At the same time, these cities share future challenges in terms of ageing populations, sustainability, and food security. In all four cities urban farming and gardening are increasingly seen as a way to combat these concerns by improving citizens’ well-being and quality of life; enhancing the aesthetic experience of city-space; providing an alternative source of sustainable, healthy food; and, moving toward an ideal future city.

This project will deliver significant insights on how high-density cities in the region, such as Singapore, can develop urban farming and gardening activities in socio-politically and ecologically sustainable ways and, how farms and gardens can be sites of community building, place belonging, and environmental citizenship. The new interest in urban cultivation necessarily requires a reframing of the urban-rural link.

Investigators: HO Kong Chong, CHO Im Sik, Minna VALJAKKA, Fiona WILLIAMSON

Investigator(s)
Duration
01 October 2017 to 31 March 2019