Felicity is an urban planner, designer, and social researcher who enjoys doing comparative urban research that first seeks to understand the urban conditions and relational dynamics of a place, and then offer practical socio-spatial insights for the crafting of policies and plans that enable social inclusion and place enjoyment. She likes using a mix of methods including ethnography, interviews, and surveys with different forms of mapping to understand the multi-faceted urban realm. Felicity’s research has focused on issues of urban diversification arising from immigration and how it has shaped inter-group relations, local belonging, and public space design. She is the author of the book Tensions in Diversity: Spaces for Collective Life in Los Angeles published by the University of Toronto Press. The book presents a visually rich narrative of how groups negotiate socio-spatial co-existence in multi-ethnic and multi-national neighbourhoods of Los Angeles, and the design elements of public spaces that are conducive for inter-cultural learning.
Prior to joining LKYCIC, Felicity was an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University Singapore where she started an undergraduate program in Geography and Urban Planning. Her teaching pedagogy emphasizes a theory-practice nexus through planning and design studios that offer students the opportunity to apply urban and planning knowledge to real-world contexts of urban development and local community dynamics. Felicity is currently a council member of the Singapore Institute of Planners (SIP), and between 2007 and 2017, a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Before graduate school, Felicity practiced physical planning at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA) where she gained familiarity with local planning issues and processes in Singapore, evaluated masterplans, and designed new land use plans. She played a key role in the formulation of the one-north masterplan and the redesigning of Punggol New Town to enhance the recreational and ecological values of the neighbourhood. A stint at the Institute of International Urban Development (I2UD) assisting in development consulting projects deepened her understanding of the different political, economic, social, and spatial conditions of urbanization for countries in the Global South and the Global North.
Her current research interests: 1) how do transformations in the urban built and social environments, such as via urban redevelopment, shape the formation of a collective and individuals’ sense of home and belonging? 2) what is the lived experience of urbanization for rural migrants in small Chinese cities? 3) as a co-investigator with Future Cities Lab-Global, she is researching about urban design parameters and outcomes that enable resilient forms of social interaction in densely populated environments facing changing climatic conditions.