Published on 13 Sep 2022

Smart Cities and Sustainability: Interview with Professor Amillin

by Elijah Tay

For Assistant Professor Nurul Amillin Hussain, studying Sociology opened her up to discourse, ideas, and critique that made her more interested in engaging with the world around her. During her undergraduate years, her interest in Sociology grew, and she went on to learn more about it through doing her masters in Anthropology, and now, her PhD in Geography.

She recently completed her first semester as a Professor at NTU, where she taught a course on urbanization, HS3004: Cities and Urban Life. In the upcoming semester, she will be teaching a course on sustainability, HS4012: Sociology of Green Transformations. These two courses converge with her research interests in smart cities and sustainability. She shares, “I’ve really enjoyed questions that surround environmentalism, the ‘green’ economy, and renewable energy, especially in the context of urban cities we live in – which now, are almost always being described as ‘smart’”.

Just a couple of months ago, Assistant Professor Amillin did a seminar, Seeing, Feeling, Knowing the Smart City, while she was writing up the last bit of her PhD thesis. She discussed some main findings of her research, including how smart city living can be affective and embodied. She also discussed how environmental data can have affective and temporal dimensions which result in contestations, looking at the haze in particular to describe this.

At the moment, she is excited to have submitted proposals to work on two projects, one focusing on solar energy in Singapore, and another, on the intersections of smart futures and energy futures in climate change projections, especially with the increasing incidence of weather-related emergencies.

Beyond her academic work, Amillin is also part of the The Codette Project, which has launched some interesting projects aimed at increasing access of minority/Muslim women to the tech industry. These projects include a yearly women-only hackathon and various collaborative efforts to upskill Madrasah students with tech skills. Amillin also writes poetry, and has published a collection, BEEF, which explores themes of family, friendship, and identity.

Elijah Tay, a Year 2 student, is part of the team of student writers under the SLOC Office. They are also an SSS Student Ambassador.