Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/222311
Title: TOWARDS A CONVIVIAL URBAN SPACE: THE SOCIO-­SPATIAL DIALECTICS BETWEEN FOREIGN WORKERS AND LOCALS IN URBAN SPACES OF JURONG EAST
Authors: LEE YAN TONG
Keywords: Architecture
Design Track
DT
Master (Architecture)
Cho Im Sik
2015/2016 Aki DT
Foreign workers
Jurong East
Public space
Singapore
Urban space
Issue Date: 9-Dec-2015
Citation: LEE YAN TONG (2015-12-09). TOWARDS A CONVIVIAL URBAN SPACE: THE SOCIO-­SPATIAL DIALECTICS BETWEEN FOREIGN WORKERS AND LOCALS IN URBAN SPACES OF JURONG EAST. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Transnational movement of migrants into Singapore has been an ongoing social and economic phenomenon since the late 1970s, where low-skilled foreign workers began occupying part of the workforce particularly in the construction, manufacturing, marine industries as well as domestic services. With more than 300,000 foreign workers residing in Singapore by the end of 2014, it is not surprising to observe their spatial presence in various realms of the built environment. Particularly, areas in Little India, Lucky Plaza and Golden Mile Complex are labelled and identified as ‘foreign worker enclaves’, where these public spaces serve as pockets of breathing spaces for foreign workers to congregate and socialize during their free days. Generally, the appropriation of these spaces are tolerated and accepted by both locals and the state, mainly because they do not interfere nor intersect much with the private realms of the locals. In the case of the public housing domain, foreign workers’ spatial behaviour in void decks do lead to negative sentiments from locals. Such sentiments magnify the spatial issue of contestation of public spaces and further emphasize the importance of addressing foreign workers’ spatial roles in the city as much as their economic roles. A deeper analysis revealed that the spatial presence of foreign workers in urban areas is in fact, a kind of manifestation that stems from the subjugation of an exclusionary social and housing system. Spatial appropriation of urban spaces is perceived as a way to achieve ‘spatial justice’. Drawing upon Lefebvre’s socio-spatial theory to analyze relevant concepts of ‘spatial justice’ and ‘the right to the city’, three main dimensions subsequently form the theoretical foundation of this paper: the planned, the physical, and the lived dimension. Spatial appropriation by foreign workers in the lived dimension highlights the dominance of the planned dimension, which simultaneously plans and controls the physical dimension. In the light of all these, can urban spaces still strive to be convivial and socially inclusive? Through a methodological framework that integrates both qualitative and quantitative approaches, this paper investigates how urban spaces in Jurong East can be used as a case study to explore the relationship between conviviality and spatial appropriation, and the dialectical relationship between the three dimensions in the face of new patterns of spatial practices, behaviour and perceptions among foreign workers and locals.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/222311
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