CFP RC21 2015: (Re-)making Cities: the politics of scale in mega-projects in Asia and beyond

With apologies for any cross-posting,

Call for Abstracts

RC21 International Conference on The Ideal City: Between Myth and Reality

27-29 August 2015  |  Urbino, Italy

 

(Re-)making Cities: the politics of scale in mega-projects in Asia and beyond

STREAM F – Urban renewal

The globalisation of Asian economies has accompanied the emergence of urban real estate development, a key characteristic of late capitalism, as one of the main pillars of their economic expansion. The result has been speculative urbanisation, driven by desires of individual and/or corporate investors, central and/or local state elites, and domestic and/or transnational businesses. Their collective interests are reflected in the proliferation of state-led mega-projects to install iconic landmark buildings, new towns, and new CBDs in and outside existing urban centres, the experiences of which have been also increasingly inter-referenced within Asia.

In order to understand the above-mentioned processes of city (re-)making, it is important to overcome state-centric perspectives and adopt a relational approach that pays attention to inter-scalar dynamics and the politics of scale. For instance, the domination of Asian developmental states does not necessarily mean that the developmental ethos and visions, held in a particular period and space, had been uniform across factions in the state and capital. Such ethos and visions that led to the production of new towns and special zones of development would have been subject to geopolitical as well as domestic struggles.

This stream aims to scrutinise how the aspirations of Asian developmental states have been reflected in the course of (re-)making cities, and, at the same time, contested by non-state actors, civic organisations and local resents at various geographical scales. It invites contributions that critically examine why and how particular interests were represented, how they mobilised mega-projects and shaped cities ultimately in their own imagination, what roles local communities, nascent advocacy groups or popular struggles played in contesting the state-led mega-projects. Papers that attempt to compare the Asian experiences with those elsewhere are also welcomed.

Organizers: Hyun Bang Shin (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK); Bae-Gyoon Park (Seoul National University, KR); Dong-Wan Gimm (Seoul National University, KR).

Contacts: h.b.shin@lse.ac.ukgeopbg@snu.ac.krdw.gimm@gmail.com

Deadline January 31 2015

Abstracts should be sent by e-mail to abstracts@rc21.org and to the session organizers. Please consult the conference web site for more details.

“Speculative Urbanisation in Asia”, an LSE-PKU Summer School course

The London School of Economics runs a summer school programme annually in Beijing in collaboration with Peking University. There will be altogether 15 courses provided for the 2015 session, including Speculative Urbanisation in Asia (course code GY201). This is an urban geography course of mine, an updated version of Urban Asia and China taught in the 2014 session.

Applications for the 2015 LSE-PKU Summer School in Beijing, China, will open in early January 2015. Early applications are recommended. For more details on application procedure and details of fees, accommodations and entry requirements, please visit the official web page of the LSE-PKU Summer School here.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any enquiries about the course itself. Below is the summary of the course descriptions and a list of topics covered.

Course Outline

The course explores the contemporary dynamics of urbanisation in Asia, with special emphasis on cities in China and other East and Southeast Asian economies, which share theexperiences of rapid urban development with strong state intervention in speculative city- (re)making and economic development. The course will benefit from the geographical advantage of taking place in Beijing and make use a number of China case studies to examine the differences as well as similarities of urban development between Chinese and other Asian cities.

Applying interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives, the course encourages students to develop critical knowledge and comparative understanding of how urban space is transformed in different social, economic and political settings, and what socio-spatial implications are made in a differentiated way upon local populations. Throughout the course, we ask whether the concepts and theories born out of the (post-)industrial Western urban experiences can be applicable to the understanding of urban Asia. We also ask what are the challenges that cities in East and Southeast Asia face, given its current development trajectory. We do this by examining a set of carefully selected themes that address (a) the integration of Asian cities with the global economy, (2) the distinctive characteristics of Asia’s urban development, and (3) the place-specificities of state intervention in forming urban growth strategies.

Course Contents

Day 1. Introduction: Planetary Urbanisation and Asian Cities
Day 2. Speculative Urbanisation and the East Asian States
Day 3. Urban Change in (Post-)Socialist China: Dialectics of Decentralisation and the Path
Dependency of Economic and Social Reform
Day 4. (Re-)making Cities in East Asia: Speculative Urbanisation and Growth Politics
Day 5. Land and Housing Development in China: ‘Nation of Chai’ (Demolition), Sub-urban
Development and Informality
Day 6. Olympic Cities: Event-led Urban Development and Politics of Spectacles
Day 7. Heritage and Urban Development (inc. Field trip to central Beijing)
Day 8. Gentrifying Asia: Global Gentrifications and Politics of Displacement
Day 9. Contesting Cities: The Right to the City and the Critique of Property-rights Activism
Day 10. Indebted Citizens: Economic Crisis and Work/Social Inequalities

LPS-GY201-2014 (1)

Part of the university campus where Peking University students carry out their daily life

LPS-GY201-2014 (2)

Weiming Lake (or Unnamed Lake in English) in Peking University campus

LPS-GY201-2014 (3)

Field trip in central Beijing (Drum and Bell Tower area) as part of the course activities in 2014

LPS-GY201-2014 (4)

One of many university canteens in Peking University

LPS-GY201-2014 (5)

Group photo session for the 2014 LSE-PKU Summer School students