"Living, Traversing and Making the City" Event - April 24

Thursday, 24 April 2014 | 10:30am to noon | room 626, Sixth Floor, Kaneff Tower | York University 


Philipp Kelly, Tracey Skelton, and Linda Peake

Tracey Skelton, Associate Professor in Human Geography, National University of Singapore is the epitome of a city in constant change: demolishing, rebuilding, refitting. A city with a clearly defined landmass (714km2/275m2), Singapore is densely urbanized (population density per kmof 7,405) and so ‘redevelops’ its urban structures within these spatial confines. There is little room for urban spread; new lands are created through reclamation from the sea. The urban planning authority of this city-state is the URA – The Urban REdevelopment Agency – recognizing the constant process of re-development rather than development. In short, Singapore is a constant building site and visibly, on a daily basis, a place in process (Massey, 2005). Due to a dense public transport and a competitive entry schooling system (as opposed to neighbourhood schooling) Singaporeans have relatively high rates of mobility through their city from the age of 12. Consequently they witness the urban landscape and observe its constant transformation. This paper explores the urban narratives of Singaporeans aged 16 to 23 and the ways in which they articulate how they live in, travel through, and make the city. I demonstrate the ways in which young Singaporeans’ urban experiences enable us to read and theorize the urban in nuanced and new ways and how “analysis of [young people’s] everyday processes provides important ways of understanding further the complexities, fluidities and dynamism of urban…and social identities.” (Skelton 2013, 481)

Tracey Skelton is a Senior Research Fellow at the City Institute and a Visiting Scholar at the City Institute at York University and the York Centre for Asian Research. She is an associate professor at NUS and was previously Professor of Critical Geographies at Loughborough University (where she is still a visiting professor) in the UK. Her research and publications have made significant contributions to the development of critical geographies through their focus on social justice issues in relation to gender, race, disability and age. She is internationally known for her work on the geographies of children and young people and is currently Editor-in-Chief of a Springer Major Reference Work of the same name. Since relocating to NUS in 2007 she has conducted two major research projects in the Asia-Pacific region. Young People, Citizenship and Global Futures: A comparative study of Auckland and Singapore and more recently, a Global Asia Institute funded project, Asian Cities: Liveability, Sustainability, Diversity and Spaces of Encounter. The latter involved a team of eight scholars working in four cities (Busan in South Korea; Hyderabad in India; Kunming in China; Singapore). It demanded complex cross-cultural translation and interpretation of both methods and collected data in seven languages. Tracey is currently developing two writing and editing projects: a monograph with Polity on Youthful Urban Futures and a co-edited collection (with Rachel Silvey) on Securitisation, Migration and Subjectivities in Asia, (ARI-Springer Series). She is the Commissioning Editor for Asia of Children’s Geographies.

This event is presented by the City Institute, the York Centre for Asian Research and the LaMarsh Centre for Child and Youth Research at York University.

For more information: city@yorku.ca.