Assignment 3: User Experience of Hawker Centers & Food Courts



Document your observations using a combination of photographs and/or video, audio recordings and notes in your journal. Observe the following: how do customers find what they want, find a place to sit, save a table, choose, communicate what they want and what languages are spoken, how do vendors advertise their products to customers, how do they compete with other vendors? Why might some places be more popular than others? What else do you observe in terms of user behaviors? Carefully observe both customer and vendor behavior and document them. Notice lighting, sounds, smells and other factors and how they might affect the way people experience their environment.


Assignment 3: Experimental Map



Think of a way in which you could develop an experimental map using images, sounds and stories. Some ideas… What else would we use if we didn’t use maps to find our sense of place? How would you map the sounds you hear every day? How would you map emotions? How would you map the overlooked peoples or places of Singapore?

To answer this question, I take inspiration from Kawara’s TODAY series.

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How would I map places in Singapore by stories..

Maybe by making a video installation.

I would archive newspapers’ pieces with articles and photos related to the place. Related news on TV can be included as well.


Image source:

Imagine that names of places in Singapore are flashed before the viewer, like the example above.

Someone can randomly touch on one box, and the link will expand, and the explanation about the place will appear. More videos and pictures related to the place will be shown.

Assignment 3: Response to “Seen and unseen: Ho Chi Minh City’s sidewalk life”


This week’s reading is Sidewalk City‘s first chapter “Seen and unseen: Ho Chi Minh City’s sidewalk life”, written by Annette Kim.

In this chapter, she is explaining about her 3 methods of mapping Ho Chi Minh city’s sidewalk. Her research includes:

  1. spatial ethnography:
    a method of spatial ethnography that joins together social science research and physical spatial analysis to uncover how sidewalks are actually used and the social processes and meaning of that use”
  2. property rights of public
    “many possible systems for organizing space”

  3. critical cartography
    “mapping overlooked spaces and people”

Overall, the part that struck me the most is about how to conduct a comprehensive research by going down to the space and interact with the locals. By having research conducted this way, one would have a better comprehensive of the field, and he would avoid making a project that does not resonate well with the society.

This weekend, I was not in Singapore. I went back to my hometown in Surabaya, Indonesia. Here, I noticed similarities between Ho Chi Minh City and Surabaya in how the society used up the pedestrians. Here are some photos that I took while I was on the way by car.

Through the assigned reading, I learned from Annette Kim about a glimpse of sidewalk life. Honestly, although I have been in Surabaya since I was born, I have not really used the pedestrian often. My mobility in the city depends on my family car. Therefore, it was interesting for me to relook at the sidewalk that has always been invisible for me.

Some questions that I have with regards to the reading:

  1. I understand that the author had invested a big amount of time being in Ho Chi Minh between 1996 and 2010. There must be a lot of changes in the city, as the author has admitted as well in the book. I wonder how she depicts the ever changing the city’s sidewalk scene in the map, and until how long the map will remain relevant?
  2. Who will benefit most from her sidewalk map? The vendors? The police? The government? The city dwellers?