Tao talks to us about urban geography and morphology in Southeast Asia. We discuss historic preservation and patterns of heritage-making in Southeast Asia, touristification, image-making and nationalist architecture, the evolution of neighborhoods and their communities as cities get reinvented, and whether Chinatowns in Southeast Asia are “disappearing and dying” as they are in Western countries. To be enjoyed with extra spicy Indonesian food or super sour Thai food with lots & lots of lime!
Napong Tao Rugkhapan is a geographer of urban planning interested in the geographic implications of planning intervention. In particular, he focuses on the technopolitics of urban design and planning, which he defines as the political contestations over knowledge-laden, spatial instruments – maps, zoning, building codes, architectural guidelines. The goal of is work is to expose their ideological, political underpinnings that legitimate planning intervention. Tao’s other research interests include comparative urban theory; cross-context circulation of planning ideas; gentrification and inner-city revitalization; and urban architectural heritage, specifically in historic cities in urban Southeast Asia.