Swee collaborated with Keng Hua on this article that was submitted for mAAN 2010, titled Open Source Neighborhood Design, where the both of them were interested to explore how design and community enjoyed an intricate relationship and how can urban design or lighting design help explore this aspect in design. The following paragraphs are extracted from the article that was published in the Singapore institute of Architects Journal Issue 249.
What is the significance of an open-source neighbourhood design or participatory urban design? Mainly, it is about the empowerment of individuals, and involving everyone to be part of creation process of an urban environment, and hence the improvement of the environment could be attributed to the perceived improvement people could imagine these changes would impact and improve their lives; or how individuals could have a say in determining how their environment should be shaped and designed. The results inspired from these workshops, no doubt some might appear seemingly impractical, could provide platforms for further discussions. For example, ideas could be derived from the design conceived through such workshops on how urban design could be taken from the context of authorities’ guideline orientated designs, to one that really relates to what individuals would hope to see in their urban spaces. Perhaps, that is what defines a city that is designed for its people. Kevin Lynch had been a strong advocate in the city design for people, individuals’ perception of their cities, and the defining factors that would contribute to a city’s legibility, and indeed from the untainted eyes of individuals who were not trained in urban design, perhaps their design generated for a space they are familiar with should provide an insight on how the space relates to the locals
Participatory design could be stratified into a variety of stages and forms. Participation could take the form of mere exploration of alternatives that lead to direct physical change in the identified context or response to a lack; or it could be a spontaneous one in which ephemeral designs could impact the genius loci. Therefore, on one hand, we are looking at a physical and tangible measure that could be implemented to address or REACT against certain issues; on the other hand, we could also examine the unanticipated results of an activity that could potentially change the intangible quality of the space (such immeasurable form would often come in the form of a REACTION). This paper attempts to examine different approaches in participatory design in response to the heritage of the modern neighbourhoods, especially through documenting the initiatives started by various local organizations in Singapore.