New book chapter on the fallacy of Songdo (Smart) City, South Korea

9780415745512Great to see the publication of my chapter “Envisioned by the state: Entrepreneurial urbanism and the making of Songdo City, South Korea” in this new edited volume Mega-urbanization in the Global South: Fast Cities and New Urban Utopias of the Postcolonial State, edited by . In: Ayona Datta and Abdul Shaban. I look forward to receiving its printed copy.

For viewing the Word version and its download, please click here.

Below is an excerpt from the chapter’s introduction:

So much has been said about Songdo City in recent years in both academic and practitioner circles. International media has also taken part to inflate the reputation of Songdo City, hailed initially as an eco-city, then as a ubiquitous city (or U-city) and now a smart city (Shwayri, 2013; Shin, Park and Sonn, forthcoming; Kim, 2010). The New York Times went even further to dub it “Korea’s High-Tech Utopia” (O’Connell, 2005). Sometimes its own promotional material puts all these together and simply refers to Songdo as an eco-friendly ubiquitous smart city (IFEZ Authority, 2007). Governments elsewhere see Songdo as a reference for their own mega-projects to create a brand new city from the scratch (see El Telégrafo, 2012 for example on the construction of Yachay City in Ecuador). However, Songdo has come to cater exclusively for the needs of domestic and global investors as well as the rich who have financial resources to grab upmarket real estate properties. It may indeed be an urban utopia, built on a reclaimed tabula rasa and promoted by the state, merging together technological innovation, fixed assets investment, real estate speculation and financialisation, for exclusive use of the rich and the powerful.



Urban Salon seminar on Cities of Spectacle and Mega-events, 23 February 2017, LSE

Urban Salon is an interdisciplinary London-based seminar series that I organise with a few other colleagues (see the web site here: As part of the series, I am organising a seminar that examines the experiences of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, juxtaposed with the experiences of Asian mega-events (China, Korea and Japan). More details can be found below and on the above Urban Salon web site:


urban salon

Cities of Spectacle and Mega-events: Analysing the Symbolic Economy of Mega-events

Thursday 23 February 2017, 18.00 – 20.00
PAR.LG.03, Parish Building, London School of Economics and Political Science, London WC2A 2AE (view LSE Maps)

Brazil has recently hosted the two most important so-called mega-events, FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games. As all governments before, Brazilian officials have justified the hosting as an “opportunity” to “promote” Brazilian “image” and enhance its “status” in the global space. The caution quotes indicate that all these terms are taken for granted, without the necessary analysis. Bearing that in mind, the aim of this presentation will be as follows:

1)      to understand the condition of production and circulation of images in the mega-events. It will be shown how FIFA and IOC have recently enhanced efforts to control the production and circulation of images and to expand its zone of control, both in terms of physical space and media;
2)      to recognise the specificity of the Brazilian experience focusing on the “image” of Brazil the government tried to propose and the kind of symbolic production it implied. It will be shown that this “image” has been thought as a specific kind, dictated by the marketing and branding;
3)      to understand the disputes around this “image” and the conditions of this dispute according to the media-space of mega-events.

Discussants are to respond to the above talk, reflecting upon their own research on mega-events in Brazil, China, Korea and Japan.


  • Dr Michel Nicolau (Speaker; UNICAMP, Brazil)
  • Dr Jaeho Kang (Discussant; Centre for Media Studies, SOAS)
  • Dr Tomoko Tamari (Discussant; Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, Goldsmiths, University of London)
  • Dr Hyun Bang Shin (Chair and Discussant; Geography and Environment, LSE)

Leeds RC21 conference 2017: CFP – Sessions on “Gentrification and Statehood” and “Gentrification as Method”

As part of the forthcoming RC21 conference (11-13 September, Leeds, UK), I am organising, with Matthias Bernt (Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space) and Paul Waley (University of Leeds) back-to-back double sessions on gentrification, (1) Gentrification and Statehood and (2) Gentrification as Method. The session details are attached below.

Paper abstracts should be sent by e-mail to AND to the relevant session organisers, indicating which session you are submitting to. Please consult the conference web site for more details (

Deadline for Paper Abstract Submission: Friday 10 March 2017

Call for Papers

RC21 CONFERENCE 2017 “Rethinking Urban Global Justice”

11-13 September 2017 | University of Leeds, UK |

Gentrification Sub-session 1-1:
Gentrification and Statehood

The impact of public policies on the dynamics and patterns of gentrification has received increasing attention throughout the recent years. Yet, while it is generally acknowledged that the different institutional contexts have the potential to significantly “limit, alter, or impede gentrification” (Porter and Shaw 2009), the variegated geography of statehood have remained an under-explored issue in gentrification studies. In contrast with studies on “worlds of welfare capitalism” (Esping-Andersen 1990), on “housing systems” (Kemeny 1995 and 2005) or on “varieties of residential capitalism” (Schwarz and Seabrooke 2008), gentrification studies have been marked by a focus on the local (neighbourhood scale in particular) and hardly examined how different patterns of urban upgrading, redevelopment and displacement interplay with different variants of statehood. Divergent trajectories of institutionalizing property relations, tenure relations, and historico-geographical formulations of social justice concepts across the globe have thus remained out of sight. The shortfall extends to the examination of the role of the state and different constellations of private and public actors in producing gentrification.

This session aims to address this gap and invigorate the study of the relationship between gentrification and statehood. It calls for papers which study how reinvestment and displacement function in different institutional contexts, taking into consideration the political economic contexts that bring together divergent state and non-state actors. Both empirical and theoretical contributions are welcome.

Keywords: gentrification, statehood, institutionalisation, socio-political relations

Organisers and their Contact Details:

Dr. Matthias Bernt
Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS). Email:

Dr. Hyun Bang Shin
Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science. Email:


Gentrification Sub-session 1-2:
Gentrification as Method

Proposed for the RC21 CONFERENCE 2017 “Rethinking Urban Global Justice”

Gentrification is one of the few analytical frameworks in urban studies which ‘provides a critical edge and some theoretical coherence to physical and social change incorporating eviction, displacement, demolition and redevelopment” (Ley and Teo, 2014). Nevertheless, increasingly in recent years, it has also been subject to negation, deemed inapplicable outside the global North. It is sometimes argued that gentrification prohibits the possibility of multiple narratives of displacement and eviction. However, is this discussion an appropriate and justifiable way of advancing our production of knowledge? Instead of becoming ensnared in categorical debates on definitions of gentrification and its conceptualisation across space, the session aims to locate “gentrification as part of multiple urban processes at work” (Shin, Lees and López-Morales, 2016), understanding the working of gentrification and other urban processes from the perspective of relational and hierarchical space. Papers presented to this session are to engage with, or be related to, the following questions:

  • What does the use of a particular geographical scale mean for gentrification studies?
  • How does gentrification reconcile itself with other analytical frameworks (e.g. accumulation by dispossession, segregation)?
  • Where does ‘concept stretch’ come into play with gentrification?
  • Are we homogenising space to an extreme when discussing issues of displacement, dispossession and accumulation in terms of gentrification?
  • How do we create a healthier and more productive dialogue between gentrification and non-gentrification researchers, both of whom aim to attain social justice?
  • How can gentrification researchers best overcome the principal methodological problems they face?

The session calls for papers that address any or several of these questions. Both empirical and theoretical contributions are welcome.

Keywords: gentrification, production of knowledge, methods, conceptualisation

Organisers and their Contact Details:

Dr. Hyun Bang Shin
Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science. Email:

Dr. Paul Waley
School of Geography, University of Leeds. Email:


New special issue on ‘Developmentalist Urbanisation and Gentrification’ from Space and Society, a Korean academic journal

A quick announcement in Korean with regard to the publication of a journal special issue on “Developmentalist Urbanisation and Gentrification” guested edited by myself and published in Korean by the journal Space and Society.

공간과 사회 26권 3호 ‘발전주의 도시화와 젠트리피케이션’ 특집호가 얼마전 발간되었습니다. 특집호 제목은 “발전주의 도시화와 젠트리피케이션”입니다. 발간 논문 목록은 아래와 같습니다. 객원편집은 제가 하였지만, 원고를 기고해주시고 투고 원고 리뷰해주신 분들의 노력으로 가능한 특집호 입니다. 모두에게 감사드립니다. 전 과정에서 많은 격려와 도움 주신 InKwon Park 편집위원장님께도 감사드립니다.

이번 특집호에는 Takeout Drawing에서의 저항 경험을 분석한 두 개의 글이 실렸습니다. 객원편집위원을 비롯한 모든 필진들이 테이크아웃드로잉에 다양한 방식으로 함께 했었기에 어떤 의미에선 이번 특집호가 테이크아웃드로잉 헌정호라고 할 수도 있겠습니다.

특집호에 실린 모든 글들이 한국에서의 젠트리피케이션 저항 운동에 조금이라도 도움이 되기를 바랍니다. 주변에도 널리 소개해주시길 부탁드립니다.

논문을 원하시는 분들은 공간과 사회 온라인 사이트에서 ( 원고 받으실 수 있지만, 접속이 어려우신 분들은 제게 또는 개별 필자에게 별도 메시지 주십시오. 그리고, 제 편집의 글은 아래 링크에서 다운 받으실 수 있습니다.

  • 신현방 (2016) 편집의 글: 발전주의 도시화와 젠트리피케이션, 그리고 저항의 연대. 공간과 사회 26(3): 5-14. URL:…/Shin-2016-발전주의도시화와젠트리피케이션_KCI_FI0…
  • 김지윤, 이선영 (2016) 도시형 재난과 문화적 저항: 테이크아웃드로잉의 안티-젠트리피케이션 운동을 중심으로. 공간과 사회 26(3): 15-41
  • Yoonai Han (2016) 도시공유재의 인클로저와 테이크아웃드로잉의 반란적 공유 실천 운동. 공간과 사회 26(3): 42-76
  • Hyunjoon Shin (2016) ‘청년’과 ‘동포’ 사이의 도시재생과 문화예술 구로의 산업적 젠트리피케이션/전치와 그 배후의 장소만들기. 공간과 사회 26(3): 77-114
테이크아웃드로잉, 2016년 어느 여름 (c) Hyun Bang Shin

테이크아웃드로잉, 2016년 어느 여름 (c) Hyun Bang Shin

Planetary Gentrification book talk at pro qm in Berlin, 14 October 2016

I am heading to take a part in the KOSMOS-Workshop “Universal Gentrification? Conceptional Challenges of Comparative Urbanism”” at Humboldt University in Berlin, organised by Dr Andrej Holm, and the first event scheduled will be the following book talk at a Berlin bookshop called “Pro qm”. This takes place on 14 October from 8.30 pm.

Address: Pro qm, Almstadtstraße 48-50, D-10119 Berlin

14. Oktober 2016 – 20:30

Planetary Gentrification

Book presentation & discussion with Loretta Lees, Hyun Bang Shin, Ernesto López-Morales and Andrej Holm
For the description of urban change processes Gentrification has not only developed to a popular keyword in Berlin. From Sao Paulo to Prague, from Goteborg to Johannesburg, from London to Bombay Gentrification-concepts are used to analyze revaluation and expulsion in urban quarters. Loretta Lees, Ernesto López-Morales, and Hyun Bang Shin recently published a comprehensive book on the globalised nature of gentrification. All authors will be present and look forward to the discussion on “Planetary Gentrification” in Berlin.
Loretta Lees,  Hyun Bang Shin, Ernesto López-Morales:
Planetary Gentrification
Cambridge: Polity Press 2016

The book presentation by Loretta Lees, Ernesto López-Morales, and Hyun Bang Shin is the public part of the KOSMOS-Workshop “Universal Gentrification? Conceptional Challenges of Comparative Urbanism” at Humboldt-University. The Workshop is funded by Future Concept resources of Humboldt University Berlin through the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal Government and its Federal States.

My first memory of David Harvey – How he shared his working draft with MSc students


David Harvey, 2000, Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development

I met David Harvey in person for the first time while auditing his course during my MSc study at the LSE in 1999/2000 academic year. I think the course was simply called “Historical Geographical Materialism” or something similar. It was one of the few courses that sounded anything like Marx at the LSE, and I was drawn towards it. After having had my several years in the private sector after my first degree, I was in thirst of input by progressive scholarship. I did not know David at the time, as I knew few geographers by then. It was a small seminar course, having only about 12-13 students, with discussions for two hours or so each week. Readings included his own work and the works of Gramsci, Lefebvre and more that I cannot remember. If my memory is correct, he used to occupy a small office where he held his office hours. Now that I think of it, it was too small a room for such a figure like David, equipped with fairly empty bookshelves, a desktop and a printer. It wasn’t filled with books, as I presume he was at the LSE at the time on a three-year stint and did not relocate completely. The office is what is numbered as S509 at present, and coincidentally, it happened to be my office during my first year or so as professor at LSE.

One day during the term, he came in with copies of handouts, and he told us it was a working draft of his new paper. I think he was inviting any comments from his students. The draft paper was entitled “Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development”. Another week or two later, he brought a thicker version of the same paper, revsied substantially but still a working version, and this time, its title read “Working Notes Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development”. While clearing an old ring binder from my MSc/PhD period, I came across with the paper copy again, and realised this draft actually was the basis for his 2006 Verso book Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development”, first published as Spaces of Neo-liberalization by Franz Steiner Verlag in 2005. As the course took place in the spring of 2000, it must have taken another 4-5 years for the paper to be substantially revised, perhaps presented at several academic occasions, before it came out as a book. The memory of him sharing his paper is still vividly within me, and I appreciated a distinguished professor like David willing to share unpolished version of his drafts and inviting postgraduate students to comment on them.

“Planetary Gentrification” authors-meet-Critics session at RGS-IBG annual conference 2016

PlanetaryGentrification-CoverVisualI am very much looking forward to this ‘authors-meet-critics’ session at this year’s RGS-IBG annual conference, featuring my co-authored book Planetary Gentrification.

The session is to be convened and chaired by Professor Ronan Paddision (University of Glasglow), and sees the contributions from three critics, Professor David Ley (The University of British Columbia), Dr Andy Merrifield and Dr Kate Maclean (Birkbeck, University of London). All three authors are also going to be present (Ernesto via Skype connection).

The session is sponsored by the journal Urban Studies, and is followed by a drink reception in the Drayson Room from 18.45.


235 Authors meet critics: Planetary gentrification
Convenor(s) Ronan Paddison (University of Glasgow, UK)
Chair(s) Ronan Paddison (University of Glasgow, UK)
Timetable Thursday 01 September 2016, Session 4 (16:50 – 18:30)
Room RGS-IBG Ondaatje Theatre
Session abstract At the beginning of the C21st proclamations rang out that gentrification had gone global, this book critically evaluates that assumption. Drawing on the ‘new’ comparative urbanism and writings on planetary urbanization the book argues that gentrification is one of the most significant and socially unjust processes affecting cities world-wide today. Looking beyond the usual gentrification suspects in Euro-America, towards ‘non-Western cities’ in the Global South and East, the authors undertake a much needed transurban learning underpinned by a critical political economy approach. The book shows that gentrification has unfolded at a planetary scale, but it has not assumed a North to South or West to East trajectory, it is much more complex than that. Rich with empirical detail, yet wide-ranging, Planetary Gentrification unhinges, unsettles, and provincializes Western notions of urban development. The book is invaluable to urban scholars interested in the Future of Cities and the production of a truly global urban studies, and to all those committed to social justice in cities. Sponsored by Urban Studies


Origin of ‘Gentrification’ – confusing reference to 1888 publication

젠트리피케이션이라는 용어가 처음 사용된 것이 1888년 ‘영국 맨체스터 인문학 및 철학협회 백서’란 문헌이라는 설명을 듣고 뒤적여 봤습니다. 결론은 해당 문헌을 다운받아 단어검색을 한 결과 (단어검색을 허용합니다 – 스캔을 잘 했더군요…), 찾을 수 없다는 것이었습니다.

I come across with this occasional statement that the first use of ‘gentrification’ can be found in “Memoirs and Proceedings of the Manchester Literary & Philosophical Society” published in 1888. For instance, Jordi Nofre’s 2013 article says:

“Although the term ‘gentrification’ can be origi- nally found in Memoirs and Proceedings of the Manchester Literary & Philosophical Society written in 1888 (Atkinson & Bridge 2008), it acquired a contemporary meaning when the British sociologist Ruth Glass (1964) used it in her book London: Aspects of Change”. 

However, Atkinson & Bridge (published not in 2005, not 2008) does not appear to have made any such claim.

A recent column by a Korean urban planner in a Korean newspaper also contains a similar statement: “이 용어는 1888년 ‘영국 맨체스터 인문학 및 철학협회 백서’란 문헌에서 처음 사용됐다”

You can actually access and download this Memoirs and Proceedings from this link below:……/memoirsproceedin14manc/mem…

The PDF copy allows word search, and you can quickly search for ‘gentry’ or ‘gentrification’. Nowhere in the book can you find the expression.

New publication: Introduction to a special issue on Latin American gentrifications

Finally, it’s with great pleasure to be able to announce the forthcoming special issue on Latin American gentrifications. This is part of the collective project that I have been working on with Loretta Lees and Ernesto López-Morales. Previous outputs included a co-edited volume Global Gentrifications: Uneven Development and Displacement, a co-authored monograph Planetary Gentrification, and a special issue from Urban Studies “Locating gentrification in the Global East“. The forthcoming special issue from the journal Urban Geography marks the conclusion of our project, and the following is the co-authored introduction to the special issue:

López-Morales, E., Shin, H.B. and Lees, L. (2016) Introduction: Latin American gentrifications. Urban Geography. DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2016.1200335
Currently, Latin American cities are seeing simultaneous processes of reinvestment and redevelopment in their historic central areas. These are not just mega-scale interventions like Porto Maravilha in Rio or Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires or the luxury renovations seen in Santa Fé or Nueva Polanco in Mexico City, they also include state-led, piecemeal, high-rise interventions in Santiago, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Panamá and Bogotá, all of which are causing the displacement of original populations and thus are forms of gentrification. Until very recently, these processes have been under-conceptualized and little critiqued in Latin America, but they deserve careful scrutiny, along with new forms of neighbourhood organization, activism and resistance. In this introduction, we begin that task, drawing on the work begun in an Urban Studies Foundation-funded workshop on Global Gentrification held in Santiago, Chile in 2012. Our aim is not just to understand these urban changes and conflicts as gentrification, but to empirically test the applicability of a generic understanding of gentrification beyond the usual narratives of/from the global North. From this investigation, we hope to nurture new critical narratives, to engage sensitively with indigenous theoretical narratives and to understand the dialectical interplay between state policies, financial markets, local politics and people. The papers in this special issue deal with the core issues of state power and urban policies (exerted at metropolitan and neighbourhood scales), the enormous influx of financial investment in derelict neighbourhoods that produces exclusion and segregation, the significant loss of urban heritage from rapidly “renewing” neighbourhoods and the institutional arrangements that can enable anti-displacement activism and self-managed social housing production.

The rest of the papers in this special issue are as follows:

How are we to overcome ‘gentrification’ as urban disaster?

A forum was held in Seoul on 27 May 2016 to discuss anti-gentrification strategies and legislation, organised by one of the district governments in Seoul. I was not able to accept the invitation to attend and give a talk due to schedule conflict, but wrote a paper “How are we to overcome gentrification as urban disaster?” to contribute to the forum. The link below will take you to the paper (in Korean).

2016 Anti-Gentrification Seongdong Forum지난 5월 27일 서울 성동구청에서 “젠트리피케이션 방지와 지속가능 도시재생을 위한 MOU 체결 및 포럼”을 주최하였습니다. 37개 지자체가 포럼에 앞서 협약식을 체결하고, 이어진 포럼에선 여러 의미있는 논의가 기획되었는데, 아쉽게도 이번엔 초청에 응하지 못하고 대신 특별기고문을 포럼 자료집에 수록하였습니다. 제 글 서론은 아래 참조하시고, 전체 글은 아래 링크에서 다운 받으실 수 있습니다.


경향신문: “‘‪#‎젠트리피케이션 방지’ 37개 지자체 손잡았다”


젠트리피케이션이라는 ‘재난’, 어떻게 극복할 수 있을 것인가?

젠트리피케이션은 임대료나 지가 상승을 노리고 건물과 토지의 용도 변경이 이루어지고, 이 과정에서 기존 사용자가 내몰리는 도시 과정을 지칭합니다. 이러한 과정은 보통 물리적 환경의 변화를 동반합니다. 상업지역의 경우 더 높은 지불능력을 가진 소비자 위주로 업종 변화가 이루어지곤 하는데, 이는 종종 프랜차이즈점과 명품가게 등의 입점으로 이어지고, 이 과정에서 다양성이 감소, 획일화가 이루어지며 결과적으로 타지역과의 차별성이 없어져 상권 축소의 전주곡이 되곤 합니다. 주거지역의 경우, 전월세 임대료가 상승하는 과정에서 저소득층이 밀려나는 현상, 그리고 개발수익을 위한 재건축, 재개발로 인해 기존 주민 대다수가 쫓겨나고 중산층 등 소득상위계층으로 대체되는 과정이 젠트리피케이션에 포함됩니다. 이 역시 지역의 다양성을 파괴하는데 기여하고, 지역개발이 지역주민을 위한 것이라기 보다는 외지인을 위한 개발이 되는 문제점을 낳습니다.

최근까지 건물주와의 갈등으로 강제 퇴거 위기를 겪었던 이태원 소재 까페겸 미술관 ‘테이크아웃드로잉’의 운영진은 자신들이 겪었던 고난의 시기를 ‘재난’이라고 표현했습니다. 천재지변과 같이 당사자의 의지를 벗어난 불가항력적인 힘으로 인해 삶의 공간을 잃고, 생계수단을 잃는 것을 재난이라 지칭하고 그 처지에 놓인 사람들을 이재민이라고 표현한다면, 젠트리피케이션은 말 그대로 재난이고, 그 과정에서 축출된 사람들은 이재민이라고 할 수 있다는 문제의식에서 비롯된 표현이었습니다. 천재지변으로 인한 이재민을 위해서는 사회 각계각층에서 곧잘 의연금을 모으고 정부 차원의 특별보호대책을 수립하지만, 젠트리피케이션으로 인해 생계와 삶의 터전에서 밀려나는 우리의 이웃들은 이재민과 같은 보호를 받지 못하는 것이 우리 도시의 현실입니다.

어느 시민단체 보고에 따르면 1983년부터 1988년 사이 서울에서 재개발 사업으로 인해 쫓겨날 처지를 경험한 주민숫자가 72만명에 이르렀다고 합니다. 1983년 당시 서울시민의 13% 가까운 대규모였습니다. 최근 들어서는 소득이 불안정하거나 미미한 문화예술가 등이 이 대열에 합류하였습니다. 홍대 인근 지역처럼, 인디밴드와 예술가들이 모여 동네가 유명세를 타다보니 토지건물가격이 급등하고, 막상 그 동네를 일궜던 문화예술가들은 주변으로 흩어졌지요. 이번 기고글에서는 이러한 젠트리피케이션을 저지하기 위해 어떤 정책을 수립해야 할 지, 지자체에서 우선 고려해야할 정책적 시각은 무엇인지를 제언하고자 합니다.

(나머지 글은 Shin-2016-Gentrification-SeongdongForum 참조하세요)