SINGAPORE AS "MODEL" CITY?
2013/2014, Semester 2
Non-Faculty-Based Departments (Tembusu College)
Modular Credits: SSU2004 ( 4 ) / GEM2905 ( 4 )
A “global city,” a “city in a garden,” a “city of 6.9 million”... what do these and other models say about Singapore and its relationship to its past and future? This course facilitates critical and multi-disciplinary engagement with the imagination and organization of Singapore as city. Students will examine
aspects of the urban environment together with what is (treated as)
, and explore what is at stake in meeting Singapore’s ambition within its borders and beyond. The module culminates in a project that allows students to situate ideals of the liveable (sustainable, inclusive, etc.) city in particular urban sites. The anchor for the module is an intervention project connected to research conducted at the Singapore-ETH Centre’s Future Cities Laboratory (FCL). In groups, students will engage with a particular site or situation in the urban environment and then design and document an intervention project that brings ideals of a liveable city in relation to realities and concerns on the ground.
In AY 2013-2014, students will be able to engage with the research conducted by FCL Module X on the interrelationship between density, public space and the quality of life in HDB precincts (
). Students will be split into groups to cover one of the six case studies (HDB precincts) researched by Module X. You will be briefed and taken on a guided visit of your chosen precinct. Students have to then propose intervention projects that highlight and/or improve upon what you observe are contradictions and/or restrictions to sociality in these public spaces. Planning for your intervention project would require you to be observant and aware of how density, architectural design and different public space configurations in different HDB precincts impact liveability. It will also allow you to think critically and creatively, and engage with the city in a less taken-for-granted way.
Students will be expected to learn how to:
Problematize taken-for-granted understandings of Singapore as a “model” city, by articulating the relations, dependencies and histories on which Singapore as a city depends
Acquire concepts related to urban planning, urban dwelling or the promises and challenges associated with future cities
Apply the relevant concepts (#2) and the ability to problematize common assumptions (#1) when planning and executing an intervention project on the liveability (or sustainability, inclusivity, etc.) of actual sites or areas in the city
Analyse and derive creative solutions from real case materials concerning particular sites or areas in the city
Appraise the significance of, and draw conclusions from, their own intervention projects in a collaborative mode with others
More generally, students should also develop skills in:
interacting and working effectively within a group;
observing and noticing everyday situations;
approaching problem spaces from different disciplinary perspectives;
asking and answering important questions through different kinds of evidence, investigation and reflection;
engaging those residing in the study sites in thoughtful and respectful ways.
In order to make the most of this opportunity, students are expected to:
attend all seminars and related events;
properly prepare themselves for seminar meetings by reading, reflecting on, and writing about assigned and other materials;
engage with each other, with fellows and with guests, through talking and active listening;
draw on your background knowledge, curiosity and creativity to strengthen, enrich and enliven the discussion of module topics for yourselves and your group.
At the heart of this Senior Seminar is weekly 3-hour seminar discussion, during which students from different Faculties and Schools work together with a College fellow in groups of no more than 15 people. Each week, students will have to engage with theoretical readings together with short snippets of news and/or other materials that represent visions, realities and/or concerns on the ground. Multiple seminar sections will run in parallel, and the syllabus provides room for seminar sections to go in different directions, depending on the interests and expertise of the students and the fellows.
Please note that for Weeks 5 and 11, there will be no seminars in the College as you visit your
and carry out your intervention project.
Transport (both ways) will be provided only for the site visit in Week 5. Students will have to make your own arrangements when to carry out your Intervention Project in Week 11. You may claim the two-way taxi fare on this occasion so please ensure that you retain the original taxi receipts.
As this is a seminar-style class, regular attendance is expected. Unaccounted absences will be reflected in your attendance grade: they will reduce from A+ to F in three strikes (A+, A-, B, F). Attendance counts for 10% of the final grade.
Absences will be excused if you have a valid reason, such as illness and some forms of official university-related business. In both cases, documentation is normally required. Note that College-related events and mid-term examinations for other modules are
normally considered a valid reason for missing a seminar. In any given case, unless this is not possible due to an emergency situation, you should contact your lecturer well in advance to determine whether or not you can be formally excused.
Arriving to class on time is also important. If you arrive more than 15 minutes late, then you will be considered absent for the day. If you have a regular conflict that prevents you from coming to class in a timely manner, please schedule a meeting with your lecturer to discuss how it might be resolved.
Whatever the reason that you missed a seminar, please note that it is your responsibility to find out what was discussed, and, by doing so, ensure that your ability to participate in subsequent seminars is not compromised.
It is NUS policy that one Modular Credit (MC) is equivalent to 2.5 hours of study and preparation per week. Thus, a 4-MC module requires 10 hours of work a week, including seminar meetings, assignments, excursions, reading, class preparation, and project work.
Under no circumstances is it acceptable to pass off another person’s work as your own. You should always acknowledge all your sources with proper citations, and ensure that you use quotation marks if you incorporate literal quotes in your text. Tembusu’s Plagiarism Policy, which is congruent with NUS-policy, is now outlined on the College’s website. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with and adhere to this policy.
This table provides an overview of the assignments and assessment for the module, and the weightage of each component in the calculation of your final grade.
As this is a seminar-style class, regular attendance is expected. Unaccounted absences will be reflected in your attendance grade: they will reduce it from A+ to F in three strikes (A+, A-, B, F).
General Class Participation
This includes active participation in seminar discussions, and active engagement with the perspectives of others, including your fellow students, the facilitators, and external guests.
1 x Participation in Intervention Proposal Presentation
All groups will present their ideas for the intervention project. You may present more than one idea and the presentation may take the form of Powerpoint slides, drawings, photographs, etc.. However, students will have to demonstrate research, and due consideration of their site, behind their ideas. Further details will be communicated by the fellow in charge of your session.
1 x Individual Essay
Students will have to write a 2500-word essay engaging one or more of the topics covered in the earlier weeks. Further details will be communicated by the fellow in charge of your session.
End of Week 9
Intervention Project Report
A group of four/five’s 2500-word write-up, with supporting documentation (photograph, video), of the intervention project. The report should also include individual reflections on the development and experience of doing the intervention project.
End of Week 13
This is a CS/CU (pass/fail) module, so the grade you receive will not appear on your transcript and will not count towards your CAP. Your final grade will not be communicated to you unless you request it after the semester has ended. For all the individual components of assessment, you will be given qualitative feedback by the fellow in charge of your group. You can expect to receive such feedback on an ongoing basis throughout the semester.
Please note that non-submission of any of the above assignments will result in an automatic failure of the module.
Only students who are resident at Tembusu College will be able to read this module. Most students will be expected to have read a Junior Seminar and an Ideas and Exposition module before embarking on this Senior Seminar.