Seen and heard this week


Seen and heard this week is a weekly column highlighting thought leadership from the NUS community


In an interview with CNBC on 26 December, Associate Professor Nitin Pangarkar from NUS Business shared his thoughts on the value of monetising the data obtained from bike-sharing. Assoc Prof Pangarkar pointed out that since bicycles are more often used for short distances, they are used as complements to the public transport network and the potential of their data might thus be limited. Furthermore, there is limited possibility of using the platforms to cross-sell or diversify into other products, he said, noting that there are already many players in the market. He therefore emphasised that data insights may be used to supplement the core business model but should not be the primary business.

A study led by the Director of the Centre for Ageing Research and Education at Duke-NUS Medical School Associate Professor Angelique Chan investigating the causes of loneliness in elderly people was featured in The Straits Times on 27 December. The researchers studied a group of nearly 5,000 seniors for over a decade and discovered that half of elderly people over the age of 60 felt lonely some or most of the time, but that those living with their spouses, or with their spouses and children did not. Assoc Prof Chan, who is also a faculty member at NUS Sociology, said that elderly people need communication and connection with a peer, and that even employing a domestic worker will not provide the companionship that they need. Ageing experts suggest that people should look out for symptoms of loneliness in elderly relatives, and accompany them to new activities to give them opportunity to make new friends.

NUS Design and Environment Associate Professor Sing Tien Foo wrote a commentary in Channel NewsAsia on 29 December looking at how bigger Housing & Development Board (HDB) flats could facilitate and promote social goals. Assoc Prof Sing, who is the Director of the NUS Institute of Real Estate and Urban Studies, believes that HDB should consider increasing the supply of larger flats such as 3-generation flats that are at least 115sqm in area, which is 5sqm larger than most 5-room flats. Flats such as these would encourage extended families to live together and create a conducive environment of strong family support that could persuade young couples to have more children and at a younger age.

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