Concepts and Methods

Urban horticulture plots as high-rise containers for public use, Hortpark Singapore

Projects concerned with the Covid-19 pandemic often focus on stressors and negative outcomes of pandemic-induced transformation. COVLess attempts to pusue a different path. The project probes into linkages between food security, social connectedness, and creative solutions in an exploratory manner. It identifies and assesses opportunities ermerging through attempts to cope with the crisis, and highlights lessons that can be, or have already been, learnt from dealing with the pandemic.

In Bangkok, COVLess focuses more on small-scale local and regional food production serving the urban market. In Singapore, the project is concerned with food security on a national level (imports and alternative domestic production), and on citizen-based creative solutions to produce, or acquire, food. Since the Covid-19 pandemic is having a continued impact on social connectedness (curfews, lock-downs, "circuit breakers" etc.), the project is interested in solutions to overcome social disconnectedness in particular, and in the role food plays in fostering social cohesion and citizenship.

Methodology Bangkok:

  • Examplary personal and phone interviews with small commercial food producers and small-scale farmers in the urban and peri-urban area
  • On-site field visits and expert interviews

Methodology Singapore:

  • Review of policy papers, statistics etc. on non-traditional food security threats and changes in food import patterns
  • Stock taking of food-related initiatives with a focus on type (e.g. fresh food, cooked food; farms, gardens; etc.), beneficiaries (e.g. general public at large, specific target groups, etc.), initiators (e.g. individuals, informal groups, registered NGOs, multiple-actor collectives, etc.), aims, challenges, progress etc.
  • Citizen-oriented online survey with of focus on pandemic-related experiences in respect to food security and social interaction
  • On-site field visits and expert interviews

These activities will be complented by expert and stakeholder workshops in Bangkok and Singapore, with times and venues depending on how the pandemic progresses.