As Phnom Penh grows exponentially, its many environmental challenges are expected to magnify, placing the city on a course like major Southeast Asian cities like Jakarta. This talk establishes a comparative analysis between Phnom Penh and Jakarta on environmental perceptions of middle-class residents. Based on surveys, we find middle class residents report experiencing environmental challenges less frequently than they occur, problematizing notions that ecological challenges fuel concern. We argue that residents ignore such challenges because of a feeling of powerlessness, raising questions over the direction these two cities will take as they address urban ecological issues.
About the Speaker
Rafael Martinez is a Research Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities. His research focuses on mainland and insular megacities in Southeast Asia and involves recycling of sacred spaces and the production of ephemeral and provisional space. At the LKYCIC, Rafael work on the Future of Asian Cities, a project focusing a variety of urban issues in different Southeast Asian cities, including Jakarta and Phnom Penh, and the Chen Tianqiao programme on urban innovation.
Hamzah Yaacob graduated from Macalester College in Minnesota, USA where he majored in Anthropology. He is a Research Assistant at the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities in the Citizen Urban Science: Policy and Practice Project. His research focuses on environmental issues in Southeast Asian cities, in particular public attitudes towards urban ecological challenges and how these can impact policies that seek to ameliorate such problems.
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