Louisa-May Khoo

PhD Candidate

Louisa was an urban planner involved in public policy and research in Singapore prior to doctoral work. As Senior Assistant Director with the policy research think-tank Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), she led the housing and social research teams, focusing on issues relating to affordable housing, immigration and diversity as well as ageing.

Having been awarded the International Doctoral Fellowship by UBC, Louisa moved to Vancouver in Fall 2018 to extend her work with vulnerable communities. Her overall mission is to shift public policy and planning towards a more human centred lens from the highly economistic and urban-design driven one that it is today.

Louisa is UBC's Public Scholar and holds a BA and a MSSc in Geography, both from the National University of Singapore. Committed to public service and bridging the research-policy gap, her ongoing work includes working with the Chinatown community and City of Vancouver in developing a seniors housing inventory. The report, ‘Vancouver Chinatown Affordable Seniors Housing Inventory: Towards Chinatown as Campus of Care’, outlines the critical need for culturally appropriate seniors housing in Vancouver Chinatown and an invitation to work collectively with non-profit and community stakeholders, and across all levels of government to translate the recommended strategies to action. 

How can we better plan for longevity?

Louisa is an interdisciplinary urban scholar working at the intersections of planning, governance and mental well-being through an ageing perspective, bringing expertise in institutional governance and public policy practice to her research.

Combining urban planning, gerontology, the humanities and neuroscience, Louisa seeks to untangle the causes underlying the record-high suicide rates among the older adults in Singapore towards a better understanding of the social toll that the rapid transformation of Singapore from slum to global city might have effected ageing experiences. In doing so, Louisa's research takes a genealogical approach to exploring seniors' lived worlds and its juxtaposition with governmental rationalities, urging the shift from age-friendly cities that is physicalist oriented towards a more just and holistic planning for longevity in ageing research and practice.

Louisa likes to think of this as developing a different AI - an anthro-intelligence that draws on grounded intimate understandings of everyday patterns and meaning-making of people to attentuate the bluntness of policies towards a more empathetic perspective and a focus on 'heartware'.

National University of Singapore Reviewer: EG2501: Liveable Cities
AY 2022
UBC SCARP Instructor: PLAN 425: Urban Planning Issues and Concepts
2021 Winter Term 1
UBC APSC Training Facilitator
for GTAs
AY 2019-2021
UBC SCARP GTA PLAN 425: Urban Planning Issues and Concepts
AY 2019-2020

  • UBC Public Scholar (2021)
  • International Doctoral Fellowship (2018-2023), University of British Columbia
  • The Brahm Wiesman Memorial Scholarship in Community and Regional Planning (2020, 2021)
  • The Walter G. Hardwick Scholarship in Urban Studies (2020)
  • President's Academic Excellence Initiative (2020, 2021)
Louisa-May Khoo
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