Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/220820
Title: PARTICIPATION IN LOCAL-LEVEL PUBLIC SPACES: INVESTIGATING THE AUTHORITY-GARDENER RELATIONSHIP IN URBAN GARDENS IN SINGAPORE
Authors: YAP MEI YING
Keywords: Architecture
Design Track
DT
Master
Jurgen Rosemann
2013/2014 Aki DT
Authority-gardener
Community gardening
Gardening
Guerrilla gardening
Participation
Issue Date: 11-Nov-2013
Citation: YAP MEI YING (2013-11-11). PARTICIPATION IN LOCAL-LEVEL PUBLIC SPACES: INVESTIGATING THE AUTHORITY-GARDENER RELATIONSHIP IN URBAN GARDENS IN SINGAPORE. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: “The man who wears the shoe knows best that it pinches and where it pinches, even if the expert shoemaker is the best judge of how the trouble is to be remedied.” It seems only logical that the eventual users of a space will naturally know best what they want out of the space and how it can better serve their needs. However, the reality of classic architectural and urban planning often resists such reason; especially in a state like Singapore where hegemonic control extends down to most levels of space planning, the citizen’s ability – or perhaps, his right – to directly affect the design and use of even local-level public spaces has been repressed. Subject to the power of the select elite – “shoemakers” – that lord over the bureaucracy of space planning, to what extent can an ordinary citizen participate meaningfully in the making of his own environment? Recognizing the emergence of the urban garden as a space for meaningful citizen participation, this paper will explore three groups of urban gardens in an investigation of participation in local-level public spaces in Singapore. A study of the gardens reveals how varying extents of authority control affect the gardener’s – and also the non-gardener’s – ability to participate in a multitude of ways. In several instances, authority influence is shown to reduce gardeners’ control over decision-making processes, affecting the “quality” of their gardening experience. The question of whether urban gardens truly constitute public spaces also arises, as there are various factors that cause them to be exclusionary – limiting the “quantity” of participation that takes place. Apart from acting primarily as a body of control, what other roles can authority play in order to affect participation? Through an evaluation of urban gardens in Singapore, this paper thus seeks to understand the optimal authority-gardener relationship that can allow for most meaningful participation.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/220820
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