Final Programme





Registration and Fieldtrips



Global Conference On Economic Geography
5-9th December 2000, National University of Singapore


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Final Programme

Website here: Programme

Download files here: Introduction

Detailed Programme

Abstracts and Index

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Conference Rationale

There are few opportunities for "economic geographers" (broadly defined) to engage in genuinely global dialogue. In the context of globalising tendencies in the world economy, such dialogue is increasingly important for it facilitates the development of knowledge, and the establishment of international collaborative relations for both teaching and research. Such dialogue also requires economic geographers to face head on the complex issues of vantage point and ethnocentric bias.

We believe the timing is appropriate for a global conference on economic geography. As one of the key sub-disciplines in Geography, it is time to discuss and debate current research agendas in economic geography. It is also a critical time to rethink the relationship between the sub-discipline (within human geography) and the wider social science community; a "project" invigorated by the recent collection
Geographies of Economies (eds. Roger Lee and Jane Wills, 1997, Arnold), and the American Association of Geographers Economic Geography Specialty GroupÌs initiatives (details available at

In organising this global conference on economic geography, we have three specific objectives:

  • The conference will provide a forum for constructive cross-regional dialogue among economic geographers from all regions and countries. Such dialogue is critical for the advancement of the subject.
  • The conference will provide an opportunity for economic geographers from outside Asia to interact with geographers and other interested social scientists from within the host region. While acknowledging the Anglo-American influence in much of the recent work in economic geography, we recognise that there is a considerable stock of knowledge in the Asian region that contributes to our understanding of regional and global economic geographies. In short, the conference will enhance the global interdependence of networks of economic geographers.
  • The conference and its associated activities will enable economic geographers from outside the Asian region to experience (first-hand) the dynamics of economic transformations in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Through carefully designed field trips, both within and outside of Singapore, the conference will offer insightful educational experiences that can be brought home for the benefits of students and institutions.


Conference Format and Schedule

Conference sessions will take place from 6 to 8 December 2000 on the campus of the National University of Singapore. The conference will consist of plenary panels, special sessions organised by various Economic Geography Study Groups of geographical societies, general sessions made up of submitted papers, and discussion roundtables. We also welcome proposals for other formats and styles of presentation (e.g., multimedia shows, performances).

Fieldtrips will take place on 5 December (Johor/Batam) and 9 December (Singapore).

Four plenary speakers have been confirmed:

  • Ash Amin (University of Durham, England);
  • Trevor Barnes (University of British Columbia, Canada);
  • Walden Bello (FOCUS on the Global South, Thailand);
  • Katherine Gibson (The Australian National University, Australia).

The specific titles of their talks will be announced in due course.




Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, in collaboration with economic geography study groups of Association of American Geographers, Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers, Institute of Australian Geographers, International Geographical Union and Commonwealth Geographical Bureau.

Conference Organising Committee

  • Tim Bunnell (National University of Singapore)
  • Neil Coe (National University of Singapore)
  • Philip Kelly (National University of Singapore)
  • Andrew Marton (University of Nottingham)
  • Kris Olds (National University of Singapore)
  • Martin Perry (National University of Singapore)
  • Jessie Poon (University of Buffalo-SUNY)
  • K. Raguraman (National University of Singapore)
  • Henry Wai-chung Yeung (National University of Singapore)


Conference Setting in Singapore

The conference will be held in the city-state of Singapore. Situated at one of the most important cross-roads in Asia, Singapore is a unique blend of "East" and "West", the product of an evolving constellation of local, regional and global social and economic networks. Singapore is made up of over three million Chinese, Indian, Malay and Eurasians, along with a huge temporary migrant labour force of approximately 600,000 people. English is spoken everywhere, and is the common language for business, government, and education. There are a wide variety of reasonably priced hotels offering good standards of service and hospitality. Singapore is also well-known for offering an incredible range of culinary experiences - from basic hawker or Western fast food options, to elegant Thai, Chinese, French and Italian restaurants. The climate is warm and welcoming with temperatures ranging from 23C at night to 32C in the day at this time of the year. Select information on Singapore for tourists is available at, and

As noted above, field trips will be conducted to specific sites in Singapore, as well as nearby parts of Indonesia and Malaysia. Of course participants are encouraged to use this conference to embark upon more lengthy trips throughout the Asia-Pacific region.


Registration Details and Form

If you have not done so, please complete the following registration form (click here).

In addition, ALL participants are required to submit an abstract of 100 words (maximum) by 30 April 2000. We strongly encourage you to submit your abstract via email (both in-email-text and as an attachment). Upon receipt of the abstract, we will issue an acceptance letter in electronic form in the first instance. Please let us know if you require the acceptance letter in printed form.

Registration and Field Trip Fees

The conference registration fee is S$170 (approximately US$100), inclusive of three lunches and all tea/coffee sessions.

The charges for each field trip destination are:

  • Singapore (on Saturday 9 December) for S$25 (including a lunch);
  • Either Johore, Malaysia (on Tuesday 5 December) for S$35 (including a lunch) or Batam, Indonesia (on Tuesday 5 December) for S$70 (including a lunch)

Please issue a bank draft from your local bank in Singapore Dollars and make it payable to "National University of Singapore". Your payment should reach us by 31 August 2000.

Note: All refund after 31 August 2000 will be subject to a 50% surcharge to cover administrative and bank draft costs.

Details of fieldtrips:

Johor, Malaysia: from Agricultural Dependence to Export-Manufacturing Region
Organizer: Tim Bunnell <>
Tuesday 5th December (whole day) Cost: S$35 (lunch included)
Johor is Peninsula Malaysia's southern-most state and forms part of the Singapore-Malaysia-Indonesia Growth Triangle. The southern part of the state has undergone dramatic urban expansion and economic transformation since the mid-1980s. The fieldtrip is designed to give delegates an overview of state economic development as well as in-depth insights into key industries. A briefing by Johor Corporation on state and regional economic development in the state capital, Johor Bahru, will be followed by a visit to Pasir Gudang township and an oil palm complex. Pasir Gudang includes port facilities and has been a focus for new industrial activity as the state has encouraged its use as a shipping alternative to Singapore. The importance of primary commodity exports in Malaysia is a colonial legacy but oil palm, in particular, remains a significant component of Johor's contemporary economic landscape.
PLEASE NOTE: Citizens of some countries may need a visa to enter Malaysia. It is your responsibility to arrange for the visa, and to ensure that you are allowed to reenter Singapore after leaving the country for the day.

Exploring the Diverse Industrial Landscapes of Singapore*** Note: The Singapore fieldtrip is NOW FULL. Please do not send any further payments.
Organiser: K. Raguraman Krishnas <>
Date: Saturday 9th December (morning only) Cost: S$25 (lunch included)
The fieldtrip will begin with a bus-ride to one of the government organisations involved in economic and industrial planning in Singapore. Officials there will provide a brief presentation on the evolution of the industrial landscape in Singapore over the past 30 years. This will be followed by a guided tour of various industrial sites in Singapore, including business parks, science parks and other planned industrial estates. This will give participants an opportunity to appreciate the changing character of industrial land use in Singapore. The tour will end with lunch at a local restaurant.

Industrialising Indonesia: economic and social dimensions of rapid development on Batam
Organiser: Philip Kelly <>
Date: Tuesday 5th December (whole day) Cost: S$70 (lunch included)
Batam Island is located south of Singapore in Indonesia's Riau archipelago. Over the last decade it has seen very rapid growth in population as migrants have come from across the country to work in industrial estates and other new employment opportunities. While industrial estates and commercial developments are burgeoning, many social problems, such as housing provision, remain unresolved. The fieldtrip will involve a 45 minute ferry ride to the island and visits to the Batam Industrial Development Authority, the Batamindo Industrial Estate, the factory of a multinational corporation located in the industrial estate, and a 'squatter' settlement currently being formalized. In each case there will be a brief presentation and opportunities for discussion.
PLEASE NOTE: Citizens of some countries will need a visa to enter Indonesia. It is your responsibility to arrange for the visa, and to ensure that you are allowed to reenter Singapore after leaving the country for the day.

When submitting registration fees, please make it very clear which fieldtrips you have selected (NOTE: it is not possible to go to Johor AND Batam), and add the appropriate amount to your basic registration.

Numbers for these fieldtrips are limited, so please register for the conference and fieldtrips through the conference secretary (Henry Yeung) as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Payment details are provided in the letter acknowledging receipt of your abstract or on the conference webpage. It is also important to note that it will not be possible to sign up for the fieldtrips upon arrival in Singapore.


Information on Hotel Accommodation for Conference Delegates

We have negotiated special rates for delegates at two hotels. These special rates will only apply if there are a minimum number of rooms booked. We therefore advise delegates to make their arrangements as soon as possible to ensure that these concessionary rates are maintained.

Please note the conference organisers will not be involved in arranging accommodation at these hotels for delegates. To acquire these concessionary rates please mention "Global Conference on Economic Geography" in all your communication with the hotels.

Merchant Court Hotel

S$135 per room in superior accommodation + 14% service charges & taxes, including free daily transport from the hotel to the conference venue.

This hotel is located close to Chinatown and the Singapore River. A single taxi fare from the hotel to the university will cost approximately S$10.

Contact: Gino Tan E-mail: (fax: (65) 334-0606) or or fax: 65-336-9993) for reservation. See for further information on the hotel.

RELC International Hotel

S$82 per room + 13% service charges & taxes, including American breakfast.

This hotel is located close to Orchard Road. A single taxi fare from the hotel to the university will cost approximately S$10.

Contact: Winston Leow E mail (fax: (65) 733-9976). See for further information on the hotel.

Public transport via bus and MRT is also available from both hotel locations, although in both cases there is no direct service to NUS. The distance to the university is approximately 10 km and involves a 20 minute taxi ride. Hotels will supply information on transport to NUS.

NUS Visitors Lodge

(Please note that the Lodge booking is fully taken up for the moment. We will notify if more vacancies are available)

In addition to the downtown hotels we have reserved a number of rooms in the Visitors Lodge sited on the University campus. The room charge is S$66.95 per night, for either twin sharing or single occupancy. Delegates wishing to stay at the Visitors Lodge should send their name, address (postal, fax & e mail), room preference and period of stay to Dr Martin Perry, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, e-mail

Bookings for the Visitors Lodge must be made by 30 October 2000. Payment will be the responsibility of delegates direct to the Visitors Lodge upon arrival. Late cancellations are subject to a financial penalty.

For information on other hotels in Singapore see,;, or


Enquiries and Further Information

Please direct all your enquiries and requests to either:

Dr. Kris OLDS
Chair, Organising Committee
Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, 1 Arts Link, Singapore 117570 Tel: 65-874 6811; Fax: 65-7773091;


Dr Henry Wai-Chung YEUNG
Secretary, Organising Committee
Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, 1 Arts Link, Singapore 117570 Tel: 65-874-6810; Fax:
65-777-3091; E-mail:

This page is maintained by Henry Yeung. Last updated 20 June 2001