Experiential Learning:

The ‘Ideathon Challenge’ Case Study

Abstract (evaluative study – in progress)

Hackathons have burgeoned in popularity as a time-sensitive and team-based competition-style approach towards generating creative solutions to complex real-world problems. This study evaluates an innovative pedagogic model of experiential learning that evokes the essence of a hackathon but reframed and reformatted as an “Ideathon Challenge” for the specific context of an undergraduate elective course that I developed and am currently teaching in the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia. By examining the pedagogic design and delivery of the Ideathon Challenge against students’ pre-and-post self-assessments of their learning experiences, this study investigates the merits and challenges of cultivating “collaborative innovation” through a novel experiential learning environment for a particular form of planning education. That is, an early planning education accessible to learners from various knowledge domains and, as such, aims to fulfill a broader service role across disciplinary boundaries.

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Fostering Resilience Thinking:

A Cross-sectoral Approach

Abstract (working paper – in progress)

The future of humanity is, with undeniable certainty, urban; yet, a vision of what will become of this urban future grows ever-more uncertain. Here, then, is the need for an adaptive mode of thinking that will mitigate the potentially paralyzing effect of uncertainty. This adaptive mode of thinking is referred to as ‘resilience thinking’. Through the case example of an undergraduate course in planning, this paper will demonstrate that resilience thinking can be fostered in an educational setting shaped by multiple stakeholders across different sectors. And, in doing so, address these crucial questions: What is the role of the university in times of uncertainty? Why is a cross-sectoral relation between the university, non-profit agency, and government beneficial in cultivating resilience? How can the built environment disciplines (e.g. planning, urban design, architecture) expose students to resilience thinking, and how might this learning transfer meaningfully beyond the classroom?

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Right to the City (at Night): Spectacle and Surveillance in Public Space

Abstract (book chapter – under review)

In the twenty-first century globalized world, time is expanding through a technological epoch by which contemporary cities remain wakeful around-the-clock; thus, emboldening planning strategies aimed at boosting urban productivity and consumption after dark. Concurrently, space is contracting through the rapid pace of urban development and dense confluence of an ever-diverse urban society; thereby, elucidating one’s right to the city (or lack thereof). This right to the city is further compounded at night as various agents—from local authorities and corporate entities to ordinary citizens—seek to shape the nocturnal culture of public space. And, in doing so, raising crucial questions: How does the night change our affective experience of public space? What actions, both state-driven and collectively-enacted, define the use of public space after dark? Who is in/excluded in the city at night through such actions, and what are the planning implications of these in/exclusions? This chapter will explore public space and the right to the city at night by way of two linked strands. The first strand, surveillance, points to the contentious practices of monitoring people in public space as a means to curb instances of anti-social behaviour and transgressive activities, especially after dark. The second strand, spectacle, highlights the opportunistic gains of the nighttime economy for urban regeneration, placemaking, and street vitality. By examining these two disparate vignettes of public space at night, this chapter aims to illuminate the complex entanglement between exerting surveillance, on the one hand, and promoting spectacle, on the other, while advancing the city at night as a public good and a right for all.

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Imagineering, Illuminating, and Imprinting Night Spaces: The Case of Singapore

Abstract (working paper – in progress)

Since the advent of electric lighting, nightlife has become synonymous with urban living. Today, this relationship is vigorously cultivated within the postindustrial city. More specifically, the rise of a new urban economy—with its intonation towards cultural commodity, aesthetic materiality, and conspicuous spending—has revived policy interests in the promotion, development, and management of not only the nightlife industry but also the spaces of nightlife production and consumption. In this paper, I explore the notions of ‘imagineering’ and ‘illumination’ in the production of contemporary urban nightscapes, and the ‘imprinting’ of these nightscapes in visual form for local and global consumption. Taking Singapore as a departure point, I examine state policies and urban strategies in transforming the waterfront precinct of Marina Bay into one of the more prominent and neoteric nightlife destinations in the city. By drawing links between the processes of imagineering, illuminating, and imprinting, I seek to reveal the inexplicit power relations and hidden socio-spatial implications of the new urban nightscape in the postindustrial city.