FASS Staff Profile


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Brief Introduction

I work on human geographies of urban and regional change. That includes examination of the transformation of urban regions (cities and wider urban territories), the lives of people in those territories, and constitutive connections between them. Empirically, I have focused on Southeast Asia (mostly working on cities in Malaysia and Indonesia) and on interurban connections between that region and elsewhere.

Beginning with doctoral research carried out in the 1990s, my work on the discursive and material making of megaprojects and high-tech urban space in and around Kuala Lumpur culminated in the publication of Malaysia, Modernity and the Multimedia Super Corridor (Routledge) in 2004.

The main focus of my research subsequently shifted to examination of historical linkages between Southeast Asia and the port city of Liverpool through the lives of Malay men who arrived there as sailors in the middle decades of the twentieth century. The book which emerged from that research, From World City to the World in One City: Liverpool through Malay Lives (Wiley) was published in 2016. I am developing further material from my research on Malay sailors in Liverpool and other Atlantic port cities, particularly Cardiff where Malays were caught up in racial riots in 1919.

I also have a longstanding interest in relations between innovation, broadly conceived, and urban and regional studies – ranging from economic geographies of firm location and networks, to policy and governance ‘good practice’ and to ground-level incremental change associated with individual and community aspirations.

Teaching Areas

After almost two decades of teaching at NUS, I have taught a wide range of geography modules, from introductory human geography classes to undergraduate cultural geography, economic geography and methods modules to graduate urban geography seminars. I am currently involved in teaching the following undergraduate modules: Cultural Landscapes (GE3224) and Urban Space: Critical Perspectives (GE4204). I also teach a graduate module on Cities and Global Connections (GE5212).

I am heavily involved in graduate studies in the Department of Geography at NUS, both as chair of the Graduate Studies Committee, and as an advisor to Masters and PhD students. I am currently advising four Masters students (Hui Ying Ng, Andy Tan, John Goh and Ivin Yeo) and (co)supervising six doctoral students (Ding Yan, Samantha Lim, Karel Caals, Prerona Das, Jess Clendenning and Miya Irawati). I welcome expressions of interest from other would-be graduate students who wish to conduct urban studies research, particularly in Malaysia or Indonesia.

Current Research

I am currently working through material from a comparative research project on urban aspirations that was funded by the Singapore Ministry of Education's Academic Research Fund (AcRF Tier 2). The wider project (entitled "Aspirations, Urban Governance and the Remaking of Asian Cities") explored practices of future-making in and across a range of cities in Asia. My own empirical contributions have centred largely in the Indonesian city of Solo (aka Surakarta) in Central Java. I am examining: (1) ways in which ostensibly people-centred city policy had enabled socio-economically marginal residents to prospect urban futures in new ways; and (2) the politics associated with Solo's emergence as a "model" for aspects of urban development, particularly concerning challenges of the "informal city". In each case, insights from Solo have been placed in comparative relation to other cities examined by collaborators from the Asia Research Institute (ARI) and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

A volume from the urban aspirations project, entitled Urban Asias: Essays on Futurity Past and Present, was published recently by Jovis. Editorial work on that volume (together with Daniel P.S. Goh) has spurred my interest in conducting further research of my own on urban geographies of "the future".

I am also still developing material from my research on Malay sailors in Liverpool and other Atlantic port cities, particularly Cardiff where Malays were caught up in racial riots in 1919. My book on Malay Liverpool provided some of the historical background for the movie Pulang (Primeworks Studios, directed by Kabir Bhatia).





  • Bunnell, T. and Goh, D.P.S (2018) Urban Asias: Essays on Futurity Past and Present. Berlin: Jovis.
  • Miller, M.A. and Bunnell, T. (2014) Asian Cities in an Era of Decentralisation. Abingdon: Routledge [republication of special issue published in Space and Polity]
  • Miller, M.A. and Bunnell, T. (2013) ‘Decentralised Governance and Urban Change in Asia’, Pacific Affairs 86 (4).
  • Goh, D. and Bunnell, T. (2013) 'Recentring Southeast Asian Cities', International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 37 (3).
  • Bunnell, T., Parthasarathy, D. and Thompson, E.C. (2013) (eds) Cleavage, Connection and Conflict in Rural, Urban and Contemporary Asia. Dordrecht: ARI-Springer Asia Series. [table of contents attached]
  • Bunnell, T. and Harris, A. (2012) 'Reviewing urban informality: Perspectives from urban Asia', International Development Planning Review 34(4)
  • Bunnell, T., Goh, D., Lai, C-K. and Pow, C.P. (2012) 'Global urban frontiers: Asian cities in theory, practice and imagination', Urban Studies 43(13).
  • Miller, M.A. and Bunnell, T. (2012) 'Asian cities in an era of decentralization', Space and Polity 16(1).
  • Bunnell, T., Grundy-Warr, C. and Sidaway, J.D. (2006) 'Re-mapping the Growth Triangle: Singapore's Cross-border hinterland', Asia-Pacific Viewpoint 47(2)
  • Sidaway, J.D., Bunnell, T. and Yeoh, B. (2003) 'Geography and Postcolonialism', Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 24(3).
  • Bunnell, T., Drummond, L.B.W. and Ho, K.C. (2002) (eds) Critical Reflections on Cities in Southeast Asia. Singapore: Times Academic Press.


  • Bunnell, T., Padawangi, R. and Thompson, E.C. (2018) 'The politics of learning from a small city: Solo as translocal model and political launchpad', Regional Studies. 52(8): 1065-1074.
  • Loo, W.B. and Bunnell, T. (2018) 'Landscaping Selves Through Parkour: Reinterpreting the Urban Environment of Singapore', Space and Culture. 21(2): 145-158.
  • Bunnell, T., Gillen, J. and Ho, E. (2018) 'The prospect of elsewhere: Engaging the future through aspirations in Asia’, Annals of the American Association of Geographers 108(1): 35-51.
  • Bunnell, T. and Kathiravelu, L. (2016) 'Extending urban liveability: friendship and sociality in the lives of low-wage migrants', International Development Planning Review 38(2): 208-20.
  • Bunnell, T. (2015) 'Antecedent cities and inter-referencing effects: learning from and extending beyond critiques of neoliberalization', Urban Studies 52(11): 1983-2000.
  • Phelps. N.A., Bunnell, T., Miller, M.A. and Taylor, J. (2014) 'Urban inter-referencing within and beyond a decentralized Indonesia', Cities 39: 37-49.
  • Bunnell, T., Miller, M.A., Phelps, N.A. and Taylor, J. (2013) ‘Urban development in a decentralized Indonesia: Two success stories?’, Pacific Affairs 86(4): 857-876.
  • Bunnell, T. (2013) 'City networks as alternative geographies of Southeast Asia', TRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia 1(1): 27-43.
  • Bunnell, T., Yea, S., Peake, L., Skelton, T. and Smith, M. (2012) 'Geographies of friendships', Progress in Human Geography 36(4): 490-507.
  • Hogan, T., Bunnell, T., Pow C.P., Permanasari, E. and Morshidi, S. (2012) 'Asian urbanisms and the privatization of cities', Cities 29 (1): 59-63.
  • Phelps, N.A., Bunnell, T. and Miller, M.A. (2011) 'Post-disaster economic development in Aceh: Neoliberalization and other economic-geographical imaginaries', Geoforum 42 (4): 418-426.
  • Bunnell, T. and Miller, M.A. (2011) 'Jakarta in Post-Suharto Indonesia: Decentralization, Neoliberalism and Global City aspiration', Space and Polity, 15(1): 35-48.
  • Bunnell, T. (2010) 'Routes of identity: Malay Liverpool and the limits of transnationalism', Pacific Affairs 83 (3): 459-479.
  • Bunnell, T. and Maringanti, A. (2010) 'Practicing urban and regional research beyond metrocentricity', International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 34 (2): 415-420.
  • Bunnell, T., Nagarajan, S. and Willford, A. (2010) 'From the margins to centre stage: Indian demonstration effects and Malaysia's political landscape', Urban Studies 47 (6): 1257-1278.
  • Bunnell, T. and Das, D. (2010) 'A geography of serial seduction: urban policy transfer from Kuala Lumpur to Hyderabad', Urban Geography 31 (3): 1-7.
  • Bunnell, T. (2009) ‘Human geographies of decentralized Indonesia’, Indonesian Journal of Geography 41(2): 195-206.
  • Bunnell, T. (2008) 'Multiculturalism's regeneration: Celebrating Merdeka in a European Capital of Culture', Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 33 (2): 251-67.
  • Law, L., Bunnell, T. and Ong, C. E. (2007) 'The Beach, the gaze and film tourism', Tourist Studies 7(2): 141-64.
  • Bunnell, T. (2007) ‘Post-maritime transnationalization: Malay seafarers in Liverpool’, Global Networks 7 (4): 412-29.
  • Bunnell, T., Muzaini, H.B. and Sidaway, J.D. (2006) 'Global city frontiers: Singapore's hinterland and the contested socio-political geographies of Bintan, Indonesia', International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 30 (1): 3-22.
  • Wong, K.W. and Bunnell, T. (2006) '"New economy" discourses and spaces in Singapore: a case study of one-north', Environment and Planning A 38(1): 69-83.
  • Bunnell, T. and Coe, N.M. (2005) 'Re-fragmenting the "political": globalization, governmentality and Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor', Political Geography 24: 831-49.
  • Bunnell, T., Kong, L. and Law, L. (2005) 'Social and Cultural Geographies of Southeast Asia', Social and Cultural Geography 6(1): 135-49
  • Sparke, M., Sidaway, J., Bunnell, T. and Grundy-Warr, C. (2004) ‘Triangulating the borderless world: globalisation, regionalisation and the geographies of power in the Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore growth triangle', Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 29: 485-89.
  • Bunnell, T. and Nah, A. (2004) ‘Counter-global cases for places: contesting displacement in globalizing Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan Area’, Urban Studies 41(12): 2447-67. 
  • Bunnell, T. (2004) ‘Re-viewing the Entrapment controversy: Megaprojection, (mis)representation and postcolonial performance’, Geojournal 59: 297-305.
  • Coe, N. M. and Bunnell, T. (2003) ‘Spatializing’ knowledge communities: towards a conceptualisation of transnational innovation networks’, Global Networks 3 (4): 437-56.
  • Bunnell, T., Barter, P. A. and Morshidi Sirat (2002) ‘Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan Area: A globalizing city-region’, Cities 19 (5):357-370.
  • Bunnell, T. (2002) ‘Kampung rules: landscape and the contested government of urban(e) Malayness’, Urban Studies 39 (9):1686-1701.
  • Bunnell, T. (2002) ‘Cities for nations? Examining the city – nation-state relation in Information Age Malaysia’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 26 (2): 284-98.
  • Bunnell, T. (2002) ‘Multimedia utopia? A geographical critique of high-tech development in Malaysia’, Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography 34 (2): 265-295.
  • Bunnell, T. (2002) ‘(Re)positioning Malaysia: High-tech networks and the multicultural rescripting of national identity’, Political Geography 21 (1): 105-124.
  • Bunnell, T. G. and Coe, N. M. (2001) ‘Spaces and scales of innovation’, Progress in Human Geography 25 (4): 569-589.
  • Bunnell, T. G. (1999) ‘Views from above and below: The Petronas Twin Towers and/in contesting visions of development in contemporary Malaysia’, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 20 (1): 1-23.


  • Bunnell, T. (2016) ‘Conventionally partial critique’, Dialogues in Human Geography 6(3): 282-86.
  • Bunnell, T. (2015) 'Smart city returns', Dialogues in Human Geography 5(1): 45-48.
  • Bunnell, T. and Marolt, P. (2014) 'Cities and their grassroutes', Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 32: 381-385.
  • Bunnell, T., Ong, C.E. and Sidaway, J.D. (2013) 'Editorial: Jim Blaut and the trajectories of tropical geography', Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 34(3): 285-291.
  • Bunnell, T. and Goh, D. (2012) 'Urban aspirations and Asian cosmopolitanisms', Geoforum 43(1): 1-3.
  • Bunnell, T., Higgitt, D.L., Savage V.R. and Sidaway, J.D. (2011) ‘The SJTG vision and the tropical mission’, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 32 (1): 1-3.
  • Bunnell, T. and Thompson, E.C. (2008) 'Unbounding area studies: Malaysian studies beyond Malaysia and other geographies of knowing', Geoforum 39: 1517-1519.
  • Bunnell, T. (2007) ‘Extending hospitality, offshoring protest: When the International Monetary Fund and World Bank came to Singapore’, Political Geography 26: 493-98.
  • Bunnell, T., Sidaway, J.D. and Grundy-Warr, C. (2006) 'Re-mapping the "Growth Triangle": Singapore's Cross-border hinterland', Asia Pacific Viewpoint 47(2): 235-40
  • Nah, A. and Bunnell, T. (2005) 'Ripples of Hope: Acehnese Refugees in Post-Tsunami Malaysia', Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 26(2).
  • Sidaway, J D, Bunnell, T, Grundy-Warr, C, Robina Mohammad, Park B-G, and Asato, S. (2004) ‘Translating political geographies’, Political Geography 23: 1037-49.
  • Sidaway, J. D., Bunnell, T. and Yeoh, B.S.A. (2003) ‘Editors’ introduction: Geography and postcolonialism’, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 24 (3): 269-72.
  • Olds, K., Bunnell, T. and Leckie, S. (2002) ‘Forced evictions in tropical cities: Introduction’, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 23 (3): 247-251.

Other Information


Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography
Editorial board member, 2000-present
Book review editor, 2009-2010
Associate editor, 2010-2011
Co-editor, 2012-

Editorial board member, 2007-2014

Pacific Affairs
Editorial board member, 2007-present

ARI-Springer Book Series
Cities Section editor, 2008-present

Social and Cultural Geography
Editorial board member, 2010-2015

Dialogues in Human Geography
Editorial board member, 2011-

Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde
Advisory Board Member, 2012-

Environment and Planning A
Editorial Board Member, 2013-

Regional Studies, Regional Science
International Editorial Advisory Board Member, 2014-16

Journal of Regional and City Planning
Editorial Board Member, 2016-

Urban Geography
Editorial Board Member, 2018-

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