Roundtable: Living heritage and urban informalities: perspectives from Southeast Asian cities

Date and time
Monday 6th December 2021
12.30 – 2 pm (GMT); 7.30 – 9 pm (Bangkok)


Roundtable: Living heritage and urban informalities: perspectives from Southeast Asian cities


Marina Kolovou Kouri (Urban Designer and Researcher, Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL, U.K.)

Elizabeth Rhoads (Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Lund University, Sweden)

Jayde Roberts (Senior Lecturer, UNSW, Australia; SEAC Visiting Fellow)

Sri Suryani (PhD student, Sheffield University, U.K.)

Supitcha Tovivich (Lecturer, Silpakorn University, Thailand)


Catalina Ortiz (Associate Professor, Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL, U.K.; SEAC Associate)


Hyun Bang Shin (Professor of Geography and Urban Studies, LSE, U.K.; Director, LSE SEAC)

The Urban Salon is delighted to host a roundtable discussion together with the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre (LSE SEAC) at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Bartlett Development Planning Unit at the UCL on community practice and heritage featuring the voices of researchers working on Southeast Asia.

Heritage making has often focused on the built form, at the expense of leaving out intangible heritage and everyday life of communities. Living heritage is a concept that enables to rethinking of urban futures based on multiple temporal trajectories and alternative epistemologies of what gets valued in the city and whose spatial practices are legitimized. In exploring living heritage in South East Asian cities we bring together diverse researchers reframing the understanding of it as a process grounded in the everyday practices of communities and as a strategy to gain political leverage to combatting spatial and epistemic violence.

Biographies of Participants

Marina Kolovou Kouri is an urban designer and researcher working on community-led development with a focus on Myanmar. She has been collaborating with grassroots organizations in Yangon, coordinating and/or participating in projects around urban safety, housing, informality, and displacement. She is part of the research team in the ongoing project “Yangon Stories: Framing Living Heritage as Tool to Prevent Spatial Violence,” led by the Development Planning Unit.

Elizabeth Rhoads is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Human Rights in Southeast Asia, splitting time between the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies and the Centre for Human Rights Studies at Lund University.

Jayde Roberts (@JaydeThissa) is a senior lecturer in the School of Built Environment at UNSW Sydney and an interdisciplinary scholar of Urban Studies and Southeast Asian Studies. Her research in Myanmar focuses on urban informality, heritage-making, and the effects of transnational networks. During her 2016-2018 Fulbright US Scholar term, she worked with Myanmar’s universities and municipal departments to investigate discourses of urban development in Yangon. Her book, Mapping Chinese Rangoon: Place and Nation among the Sino-Burmese, was published by University of Washington Press in 2016.

Sri Suryani is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield investigating the displacement process of riverbank settlements by flood-risk mitigation policy in Jakarta, Indonesia. Her research aims to understand the social process in displacements, differentiated water infrastructures, and the temporality of spatial politics.

Supitcha Tovivich is a full-time Lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture, Silpakorn University. She was the Head of Department of Architecture (2015-2018). She received her Ph.D. from the Bartlett DPU, University College London, and her MA in Humanitarian and Development Practice, Oxford Brookes University. Her expertise is in participatory design, participatory community development, co-create city rehabilitation, community engagement, and urban design intervention. Her practice focuses on the integration of architectural education, community-based design studio, and tactical urbanism. She has been working with a number of local communities in Bangkok such as the Khlong Bang Luang community, which is an old canal-sided settlement, the 24-hours Bangkok Flower Market, and other communities in Bangkok Old City Area.

Catalina Ortiz (@cataortiza) is a Colombian urbanist. She uses critical pedagogies and decolonial methodologies to study the politics of space production in cities of the global south in order to find alternative ways to forge spatial-racial-epistemic justice. She currently works as Associate Professor and co-Programme Leader of the MSc Building and Urban Design in Development at University College London.  

Hyun Bang Shin (@urbancommune) is Professor of Geography and Urban Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science and directs the LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre. He is Editor of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and is also a trustee of the Urban Studies Foundation.

Register here.

Image is a photograph of Singapore from Hyun Bang Shin.