7 July 2014

R&R: Research and Relaxation

The final stretch of the field school for the New Colombo scholars has begun. We’ve had a jam-packed week full of meetings, tours, policy discussions, a bit of sight seeing and far too much chicken and rice. Our time so far has been largely structured, looking to give us a complete view of the housing policy from as many perspectives as possible. Today has been our first real opportunity to break off into our respective interdisciplinary groups and tackle our research questions independently.

This has meant a day largely spent indoors researching our chosen question and planning how we want to allocate the precious amount of time we have left before the end of the program. This has challenged my own group to identify what each of our strengths and weaknesses are as well as what our unique disciplinary backgrounds can offer to the group. For example, in dealing with my groups question on how the Singaporean housing policy accommodates for an ageing population, Robbie's familiarity with housing plans accommodating the disabled and frail has been invaluable (Robbie is our resident architect in the making). We have been able to take this knowledge and integrate it into our findings on policies, financial feasibility of housing upgrades and the social impacts of any new government initiatives. This process can be time consuming and challenging, but ultimately rewarding in creating a holistic view of our chosen topic that would otherwise be lacking.

While today has been invaluable in planning for our presentations and conducting our own independent research, we are all extremely keen to get back out to our respective regions to collect primary evidence tomorrow. Comparing the information we have gathered today and over the past week with first hand observations of the housing estates should provide some interesting results.

This blog was originially published on Sydney Life: Student experiences at the University of Sydney.

Jack Collins
Current student at the University of Sydney Business School and participant in the New Combo Plan, a short-term interdisciplinary field school in Singapore where students work together to understand and analyse the Singapore government’s housing policy

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