SINGAPORE AS "MODEL" CITY?
2014/2015, Semester 2
Non-Faculty-Based Departments (Tembusu College)
Modular Credits: SSU2004 ( 4 ) / GEM2905 ( 4 ) / SSU2004X ( 4 ) / GEM2905X ( 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 organisation 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 the 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, carry out and document an intervention project that highlights the gap between ideals of a liveable city in relation to realities and concerns on the ground.
In AY 2014-2015, students will be able to engage with the research conducted by the FCL Simulation Platform (Module IX) on the interrelationship between data acquisition, information visualisation and simulation for urban sustainability (
). Students will be taken on a guided visit of FCL, briefed on some of the research by Module IX, and tasked to conduct survey of particular urban sites. Drawing on what they discover, students will work in groups to then propose an intervention project that highlights or makes visible hidden aspects of their selected site. For example, they may want to visualise the gap between the rhetoric and actual energy distribution related to a particular infrastructure. Planning for the intervention project would require students to be curious, observant, and to think critically and creatively, in order to engage with the city in a less taken-for-granted way.
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.
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.
As this is a seminar-style class, regular attendance is important and 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 familiarise yourself with and adhere to this policy.
Assignments and Assessment
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: it will be reduced 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/lecturers.
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 to you by the fellow in charge of your session.
End of Recess Week
Intervention Project Group Presentation
All groups will present their intervention project in the form of PowerPoint slides, photographs, video, etc. Groups will have to demonstrate research, and due consideration for their site, behind their ideas. Further details will be communicated to you by the fellow in charge of your session.
Intervention Project Reflection
An individual one-page reflection on the development and experience of doing the intervention project.
This Senior Seminar has two module codes. Students who matriculated in AY2013-2014 or before use the regular module code (e.g. SSU2004/GEM2905). They take the module on a compulsory pass/fail (CS/CU) basis. Students who matriculated in AY2014-2015 use the module code with the suffix X (e.g. SSU2004X/GEM2905X). They take the module on a graded basis, with the possibility to exercise the S/U option if their quota and faculty arrangements allow for it. The change for the AY2014-2015 cohort is related to the University-wide implementation of the grade-free first semester.
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 refer to the weekly lesson plan.
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.