Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Asst Prof Felicity Chan

Assistant Professor, School of Social Sciences

Asst Prof Felicity Chan

I have a deep and keen interest in the organization of space vis-à-vis human activities and its influence on the formation of social relations, particularly in the context of the urban environment.

My fascination with urban space led me to study Geography at the National University of Singapore. My first job upon college graduation was as a physical planner with the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore where I worked on projects that included the re-conceptualizing of Punggol Town and the Jurong Lake, and evaluating the master plans for the development of one-north science, technology and business park.

This experience guided me to pursue a masters degree in urban planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. During the years in Boston, I developed an interest in issues of immigration, particularly about the process of migrant settlement, inter-cultural interaction and social integration. In the summer of 2003, I interned with the Mayor’s Office for New Bostonians where I helped developed the city's English as a Second Language database and facilitated walk-in advocacy. These myriad of life experiences converged to inform my graduate study at the Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California. My doctoral research studied how different ethnicities and nationalities co-exist in the neighborhoods of Los Angeles and the possibilities for inter-cultural learning in the public spaces of these diverse neighborhoods. In 2014, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Gӧttingen, Germany. Between 2007 and 2017, I was a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

I teach courses on urban sociology and on urban planning. In these courses, I emphasize making connections between theory and practice. For this purpose, I like to have students engage with the urban context of Singapore by thinking about how theories apply and translate to our locale, as well as crafting planning & design studios for students to "experience" urban planning through primary fieldwork and practice. Check out this website for the urban planning and design studios showcasing student projects:

The courses that I teach:
HU1001: Introduction to Geography and Urban Planning (AY2018-19)
HU1002: Introduction to Urban Planning (from AY2019-20)
HU2002: Urban Life and Urban Planning
HA4032: What is a City?

Academic Qualifications:
2013 PhD (Policy, Planning and Development), University of Southern California
2004 MUP (Urban Planning), Harvard University
2000 BA (Hons) in Geography, National University of Singapore
1999 BA in Geography and Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore
Research Interests
My core research interest lies at the intersections of the formation of social life in cities, global immigration and the planning/design of the urban built environment. I particularly enjoy including mapping as a method of inquiry. Thus, I am intrigued by research (visual and textual) that concurrently explores the joint dimension of society and space and how they interface with urban policies and institutions.

My current research:
1. HAB-itat
How does our perception of urban change shape our sense of home and belonging? How do children and youth construct home and belonging in this age of global mobility? What is the role of the urban built environment in the formation of home and belonging?

2. Urban Imprints of Immigration in Singapore : the socio-spatial impacts of international schools on locales
This project examines the social and spatial changes experienced in locales close to international schools, as a means to study the size and pattern of the imprints of global immigration on local neighborhoods in Singapore.

3. Inter-cultural Learning and Urban Planning in Diverse Places
How do multi-ethnic and multi-national locales function? What are the tensions in diversity? How can the urban built environments be planned and designed for inter-cultural learning in diverse locales?
Current Projects
  • Urban imprints of the network society: The development of foreign system schools and their effects on the configurations of urban space and social relations in Singapore
Selected Publications
  • Felicity HH Chan.(2019). “Claiming ordinary space in the ‘cosmopolitan grid’: The case of Singapore,”. The New Companion to Urban DesignNew York: Routledge.
  • Tridib Banerjee, Surajit Chakravarty, Felicity Hwee-Hwa Chan.(2016). Negotiating the identity of diaspora: ethnoscapes of the Southeast Asian communities in Los Angeles. Space and Pluralism: Can Contemporary Cities Be Places of Tolerance?(173-199). Budapest: Central European University Press.
  • Surajit Chakravarty, Felicity Hwee-Hwa Chan. (2016). Imagining shared space: Multivalent murals in new ethnic “-Towns” of Los Angeles. Space and Culture: International Journal of Social Spaces, 19(4), 406-420.
  • Felicity Hwee-Hwa Chan. (2013). Intercultural climate and belonging in the globalizing multi-ethnic neighborhoods of Los Angeles. The Open Urban Studies Journal, 6, 30-39.
  • Felicity Hwee-Hwa Chan.(2013). Spaces of negotiation and engagement in multi-ethnic ethnoscapes: the ‘Cambodian Town’ neighborhood in Central Long Beach, California. Transcultural Cities: Border-crossing and Place-making(149-163). New York and Oxon UK: Routledge.

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