BOOK DISCUSSION on 25 Aug, 6pm – Neighbourhoods for the City in Pacific Asia

BOOK DISCUSSION – Neighbourhoods for the City in Pacific Asia

Date: Thursday, 25 August 2022

Time: 6pm – 8:10pm

Venue: The Pod, Level 16, National Library Building, 100 Victoria Street, Singapore 188064

Registration: Eventbrite (

Light refreshments will be provided.


6:00 Registration and Refreshments
Welcome Remarks by Vice Dean of Research, Associate Professor Elaine Ho Lynn-Ee
6:35 Opening Remarks by Chair, Associate Professor T.C. Chang
6:40 Presentation by Discussant, Associate Professor Vincent Chua
7:10 Presentation by Author, Associate Professor, Ho Kong Chong
7:40 Q & A Session, moderated by Chair, Associate Professor T.C. Chang
8:10  Refreshments and End of Event

About the Author

Ho Kong Chong is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at NUS FASS and Head of Urban Studies at Yale-NUS College. Trained as an urban sociologist at the University of Chicago, A/P Ho’s research interests are in the political economy of cities, housing, neighbourhood, community, youth and international education. He is an editorial board member of Pacific Affairs and the International Journal of Comparative Sociology. Much of his published work is on East Asian (Hong Kong, Seoul, and Taipei) and Southeast Asian (Bangkok and Singapore) cities. A/P Ho is is author of Neighbourhoods for the City in Pacific Asia (2020), co-author of City-States in the Global Economy: Industrial Restructuring in Hong Kong and Singapore (1997), and co-editor of Service Industries, Cities and Development Trajectories in the Asia-Pacific (2005), Globalization, the City and Civil Society in Pacific Asia (2008), New Economic Spaces in Asian Cities (2012), and Post-politics and Civil Society in Asian Cities: Spaces of Depoliticisation (2020). His active research projects include: the Ministry of National Development (MND) funded “Study of Mixed Housing Typologies” (Lead Researcher), MOE funded Tier 2 Project Belt and Road Initiative and Student Mobilities in China-Southeast Asia, MOE funded SSRTG grant “In Work Poverty and Challenges of Getting by among the Young” (Co Lead), USPC_NUS grant “Governing Diverse Cities in Europe and Asia”, and MOE SSHR grant “Fostering Positive Community Behaviour (Co-Lead).

About the Discussant

vincentchuaVincent Chua is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at NUS. He received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in November 2010. His research interests are in social networks and social capital – primarily how institutional factors such as labour markets and education affect the job search and networking practices of people. He also researches social support, education, neighbourhoods, and ethnic stratification.

About the Chair

T.C. ChangT.C. Chang is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at NUS. He is a tourism geographer by training, and has research interests in Asian tourism, as well as urban, social-cultural and tourism geographies in general. He received his Ph.D. from McGill University (Montreal, Canada) in 1997 and has been an Associate Professor at NUS since 2003. A/P Chang was Deputy Head of the Department of Geography in 2006-2007; Assistant Dean (Alumni and External Relations, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, NUS) in 2008-2010; and Vice Dean (External Relations and Student Life, June 2010-December 2015). He was also Deputy Director of NUS Global Relations Office (April 2017 – end 2018). He was awarded the NUS Outstanding Educator Award 2006 and the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in 2008, 2019, and 2020.

About the Book


The largest cities in East Asia are the engines of their countries’ economic growth, seats of national and regional political power, and repositories of the nation’s culture and heritage.  The economic changes impacting large cities interact with political forces along with social-cultural concerns, and in the process also impact the neighbourhoods of the city.

Neighbourhoods for the City in Pacific Asia looks at local collective action and city government responses and its impact on the community and the city. By adopting a multi-sited comparative approach in studying local action in five important cities (Bangkok, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and Taipei) in East Asia, the book enables comparisons across a number of key issues confronting the city: heritage (Bangkok and Taipei), community involved provisioning of amenities in a number of different contexts (Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore), place making versus place marketing (Hong Kong). The collaborative efforts city governments establish with local communities becomes an important way to address the livability of cities.

Ho, K.C. Neighbourhoods for the City in Pacific Asia (Amsterdam University Press, 2019).

The presentation will focus on the chapter titled ‘Tampines Central: Government-Resident Partnerships at Work’, where Associate Professor Ho Kong Chong uses Tampines Central as a case study to investigate how government-resident partnerships affected the creation of public amenities in the neighbourhood. He argues that recent developments in Tampines Central illustrate that these partnerships are valuable in community-building.

A team from the NUS School of Design and Environment conducted several rounds of consultation, focus group discussions, and feedback-gathering with residents of Tampines Central to determine the types of improvements residents would like to see in their area. In collaboration with relevant government agencies, the residents’ feedback led to the construction of five public amenity projects in the Tampines Central area. A/P Ho analysed the consequences of government intervention in the Tampines Central neighbourhood at these five project sites. Using CCTV footage of the five projects, A/P Ho developed measures of public amenity usage which included the average time a person spent at a site, the nature of interaction between users of the site, and the number of users in a typical day. These elements were observed and recorded. In addition, A/P Ho provided a visual, activity, and interaction account of the sites. This involved him visiting the sites in Tampines Central and interacting with residents to determine the impact of these new sites on the residents’ public amenity usage habits.

Singapore’s housing policies are closely aligned with national objectives. Public housing estates and neighbourhoods are seen as sites for community-building and integrating individuals with multicultural identities. A/P Ho cites Singapore’s ethnic quota policies as an example of how housing policies have been used as a means towards the national objective of building one united people. Fostering social ties localized to an individual’s neighbourhood is an important way of building social cohesion within the country.

From the observational analysis of CCTV footage and his visual account of the sites, A/P Ho concludes that government-resident partnerships are valuable in co-creating particular amenities. This differs from the usual method of constructing public amenities without consulting residents in the area. He argues that the approach employed in Tampines Central motivated residents to use public amenities longer and more frequently, increasing the likelihood of interaction between the residents. Such interactions provided more opportunities for socializing. This illustrates the potential government-resident partnerships have in co-creating public amenities and spaces that foster community-building efforts and social cohesion. A/P Ho asserts that the success of government-resident partnerships demonstrated in Tampines Central can be adopted and implemented island-wide.

You can order Neighbourhoods for the City in Pacific Asia in hardback or ebook here:


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