Urban Studies Programme

What is Urban Studies Programme?

Cities are increasingly becoming a topic for research, discussions, policy-making and political debates. Presently, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and this is expected to increase in the coming years. Most of this increase will be taking place in developing countries. In this light, we carry out data-driven studies and research that are of interest to Penang state with regards to urban development, environment and sustainability, and contribute to both policy and intellectual discussions. We also work closely with the state government and urban leaders to ensure our work is relevant, accessible and of practical use to policy makers and people of Penang.

Who are the team members?

Braema Mathi, Visiting Senior Research Fellow
Braema Mathi (Mathiaparanam) is currently a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Penang Institute in Malaysia. Braema has worked as a teacher, a journalist, a researcher, and been a director of research and advocacy, director of programmes, head of corporate communications – with various organisations.

Dr Sri Vaitheki, Senior Analyst
She holds a PhD in Engineering (focusing on environmental research) and an MEng in Biochemical Engineering from University College London, United Kingdom. Her research interests include urban development, environmental research, sustainable development, transport studies, life cycle analysis (LCA) and green engineering.

Tan Lii Inn, Analyst
Holds a Master’s Degree from Korea University, he was a recipient of POSCO Asia Fellowship. Through his academic background and practical experience gained from international organizations and research institutes, he has developed knowledge and understanding on topics ranging from international and regional affairs to urban and local issues. His research interests include, but not limited to, smart city, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), city-to-city cooperation, and paradiplomacy.

Esther Chong, Administrator / Analyst
Esther was trained in International and Strategic Studies and History at University Malaya. She was born and raised in the Land Below the Wind (Sabah, East Malaysia). Before joining Penang Institute, she was a research assistant at the Department of History at University Malaya and Assistant Manager at University Tunku Abdul Rahman Malaysia. Her research interests lie in government policies linked to food sustainability, education, history and heritage of East Malaysia.