Chinese version of my paper on Displacement and Urban Redevelopment in Seoul

Back in 2008, I had a paper published in the journal, Environment and Urbanization. It discusses the effectiveness of public rental housing provision as compensation measures for tenants in substandard neighbourhoods which become subject to wholesale demolition and redevelopment. I argue in the paper that while the provision of public rental housing provision is a step forward for addressing housing problems of the urban poor, it cannot be all-encompassing solution, and that compensation needs to take into account the diverse socio-economic circumstances (including tenure preferences) of the urban poor.

Not too long after its publication, I had a chance to come across with a colleague who at the time was based in China, working on a number of urbanisation-related research projects. He thought the paper was useful for Chinese audience too and kindly arranged its translation into Chinese to be subsequently posted on a Chinese web site on urban governance. I post the Chinese version of the paper in this post. I express sincere thanks to the colleague who at the time was based in China. (My understanding was that he preferred to remain anonymous at the time, and I will contact him if he’s happy to be named here)

On a separate note, I notice that the Chinese web site has gone through some changes during the last few years. I still find the Chinese version of my paper on the web site (click here to view), but it does not mention my name as the author of the original paper. As there is no contact detail on the web site, I am not sure how to go about asking for corrections. Any tips and help in this matter would be much appreciated. Continue reading

2015 AAG CFP – The Politics of Desire and Despair: Contextualising Rights in Urban Protests against Displacement in Asia and Beyond

Call for Papers for a session that I am to organise in anticipation of the 2015 annual conference of the Association of American Geographers in Chicago. Please feel free to disseminate and share.


The Politics of Desire and Despair: Contextualising Rights in Urban Protests against Displacement in Asia and Beyond

Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, 21-25 April 2015, Chicago

Co-Sponsored by the Urban Geography Specialty Group, Cultural Geography Specialty Group, China Geography Specialty Group

Organiser: Hyun Bang Shin, London School of Economics and Political Science, h.b.shin@lse.ac.uk

Session Outline

The proposed session is a call for researchers who work on the rights of displacees due to forced eviction and involuntary relocation, attempting to provide space for discussions on how rights concepts emerging out of displacees’ protests can be contextualised in both historical and geographical terms. Here, the notion of rights would include, but not limited to, the right to survive, the right to housing, or the right to the city. The regional focus is Southeast and East Asia including China, where condensed urbanisation and speculative urbanism have resulted in developmental projects that aim to maximise the extraction of exchange value from the built environment, leading to mega-displacement. However, researchers working on other countries displaying comparable urban experiences (e.g. selective cities in Turkey, India, Brazil, Russia or South Africa) are also welcome to contribute.

Flattened former rural village in Guangzhou (Photograph by Hyun Bang Shin, 2010)

Flattened former rural village in Guangzhou (Photograph by Hyun Bang Shin, 2010)

The session is on the basis of an understanding that contemporary discussions on the Right to the City or urban inhabitants’ rights in general do not adequately capture the local historical and socio-political processes of how people have come to perceive the concept of rights in their struggles against the powerful. These limitations tend to restrict the contextual application of such concepts as the ‘right to the city’ to non-Western contexts. In late-industrialising Asian countries, it is particularly important to consider the role of the developmental and authoritarian state as well as its political alliance with particular societal actors (e.g. South Korean state’s alliance with large conglomerates from the 1960s or Singaporean state’s populist alliance in the aftermath of its independence) (Haila 2000; Park 1998). Legitimising the rule of the dominant class through the use of state apparatus requires co-opting the national population based on a particular set of state ideologies including nationalism, and this inevitably has repercussions on how protesters frame their demand for a certain set of rights vis-a-vis the hegemony of the state and capital. Continue reading