Invited talk at CKS SOAS | Developmental Urbanisation and the Genealogy of Urban Rights in South Korea

On 26 February 2016, I am giving an invited talk at the Centre of Korean Studies, SOAS. It will be interesting to present my on-going work in front of an audience that has primary interests in Korean affairs. More details about the talk can be found below. The Centre also hosts a number of interesting Korea-related seminars each year, so it’s worth bookmarking the page and check it out.


 

CENTRE OF KOREAN STUDIES

Developmental Urbanisation and the Genealogy of Urban Rights in South Korea

URL: https://www.soas.ac.uk/koreanstudies/events/seminars/26feb2016-developmental-urbanisation-and-the-genealogy-of-urban-rights-in-south-korea.html

Dr. Hyun Bang Shin

Date and Time: 26 February 2016, 5:15 – 7.00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B102

Type of Event: Seminar

Series: CKS Seminar Programme

Abstract

In this paper, I examine the case of urban protesters against forced eviction in Seoul from the 1960s, and discuss the evolving nature of rights claims that were put forward by protesters against urban redevelopment projects in times of condensed and highly speculative urbanisation in South Korea. I make use of the collection of protesters’ pamphlets compiled by an influential civic research organisation in Seoul, and of on- and off-line archives, photographic images of protests against eviction, and my own interviews with former and current housing activists and evictees in Seoul. By adopting a strategic-relational perspective that pays a particular attention to the struggles among socio-political actors, I aim to understand particular notions of urban rights adopted by protesters against eviction due to urban redevelopment projects, and scrutinise how their rights claims have evolved over time. Such an understanding is expected to shed light on enhancing our understanding on the question of displacement, urban rights, and urban social movements to bring about alternatives to speculative urbanisation in South Korea as well as other economies that share similar trajectories of urbanisation and accumulation.

Shin-2016-SOAS

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Wonderful line-up of speakers for #AAG2015 sessions: Contextualising Rights in Urban Protests against Displacement

Following up on my earlier post that announced the call for papers for organising sessions at the forthcoming annual conference of the Association of American Geographers in Chicago in April 2015 (for the original CFP, please click here), it is with great pleasure to see the wonderful line-up of speakers, both paper presenters and panel session members, in the three sessions that will take place next week. Many thanks to all the contributors for making these sessions ever more exciting and inspiring.

 

AAG Annual Conference 2015

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

Sponsorship:
Urban Geography Specialty Group
Cultural Geography Specialty Group
China Specialty Group

Organiser and Chair
Hyun Bang Shin, London School of Economics and Political Science

Paper Session I

Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 8:00 AM – 9:40 AM in Regency D, Hyatt, West Tower, Gold Level

The Tragedy of The Commons As a Cost of Rapid Urbanization in South Korea’s Late Industrialization Context.
Dong-Wan Gimm, Seoul National University, South Korea

Displacement as Marginalised Property Rights in Australia, Brazil and Chile: Toward a Conceptual Comparative Framework
Libby Porter, Monash University, Australia

Property rights and informality: street food sellers in Singapore and Helsinki compared
Anne Haila, University of Helsinki, Finland

Rightful Resistance in Relational Spacetime: A Case Study of Beijing’s Greenbelt
Yimin Zhao, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

The Fragmented Grassroots Resistance and the “Civilised” Capital Accumulation in “the City of Benevolence?
Zhao Zhang, University College Dublin, Ireland

Paper Session II
Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 10:00 AM – 11:40 AM in Regency D, Hyatt, West Tower, Gold Level

What rights do resettled farmers claim in the city? Assessing demands for sustainable livelihoods, assets and urban citizenship among rural labourers involuntarily relocated to Tianjin
Jiabao Sun, King’s College London, UK

The Fragile Right to the City: Homeownership and Speculative Urbanism in Taipei
Yi-ling Chen, University of Wyoming, USA and Hung-Ying Chen, Durham University

Bangkok’s street vendors and their rights to the city
Chaitawat Boonjubun, University of Helsinki, Finland

Whose right to what city? Voices from post-Gezi movement urban forums in Ankara, Turkey
Ceren Ergenç and Özlem Çelik, Middle East Technical University, Turkey

Fighting the right to human flourishing: top-down mode of planning challenged in Hong Kong
Mee-Kam Ng, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Panel Discussion
Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 1:20 PM – 3:00 PM in Regency D, Hyatt, West Tower, Gold Level

Hyun Bang Shin (Introducer), London School of Economics and Political Science

Anne Haila, University of Helsinki, Finland

George C.S. Lin, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Christian Schmid, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Sharad Chari, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Eric Clark, Lund University, Sweden

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New Publication: Global Gentrifications: Uneven Development and Displacement (2015)

GlobalGentrifications2015-coverimageGlobal Gentrifications: Uneven Development and Displacement, a co-edited volume that I’ve been working on with Loretta Lees (University of Leicester) and Ernesto Lopez-Morales (University of Chile, Santiago), is finally out now! The initial starting of this project was the support from the Urban Studies Foundation and the Urban Studies journal for a seminar series on Towards an Emerging Geography of Gentrification in the Global South, which took place in London and Santiago de Chile in 2012. Some of the contributors to this volume were from the seminar series, but many others kindly made contributions along the way to this exciting project. To acquire the book, please visit the publisher’s page here.

About the book:

Under contemporary capitalism the extraction of value from the built environment has escalated, working in tandem with other urban processes to lay the foundations for the exploitative processes of gentrification world-wide. Global gentrifications: Uneven development and displacement critically assesses and tests the meaning and significance of gentrification in places outside the ‘usual suspects’ of the Global North. Informed by a rich array of case studies from cities in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Southern Europe, and beyond, the book (re)discovers the important generalities and geographical specificities associated with the uneven process of gentrification globally. It highlights intensifying global struggles over urban space and underlines gentrification as a growing and important battleground in the contemporary world. The book will be of value to students and academics, policy makers, planners and community organisations.

Endorsement:

“The political economy of inequality and poverty is foundational for understanding cities everywhere. This wonderfully curated volume on gentrification does this to illuminate urban realities of the global south.? Susan Parnell, African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town

“This magnificent collection of gentrification studies interrogates this classic western-derived concept at an unprecedentedly global scale.The book profoundly extends the scope of gentrification research and reinvigorates the notion from the perspective of comparative urbanism.” Fulong Wu, Bartlett Professor of Planning UCL

“This remarkable book, edited with clarity of vision and political purpose, is sensitive to the ‘new comparative urbanism’ whilst arguing that to ‘unlearn’ how we theorise gentrification would be highly questionable. The circulation of capital and the dominance of speculative landed developer interests in cities is leading to massive displacement and social suffering, and this timely volume reminds us that these issues should be at the forefront of our inquiries.” Tom Slater, University of Edinburgh

 

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New publication: “The developmental state, speculative urbanisation and the politics of displacement in gentrifying Seoul”

The paper that I’ve been working on for a while with another colleague Professor Soo-Hyun Kim (Sejong University; now the Director of the Seoul Institute) is out now, published by the Urban Studies journal as an online first version. This is part of the forthcoming special issue on Locating Gentrification in East Asia, co-edited by myself, Loretta Lees and Ernesto López-Morales. Its full bibliography details for citing are as follows:

Shin, H.B. and Kim, S-H. (2015) The developmental state, speculative urbanisation and the politics of displacement in gentrifying SeoulUrban Studies doi: 10.1177/0042098014565745

It adopts a broader definition of gentrification as an urban process of commodifying urban space that results in displacement of original inhabitants (hence not just owners but also users), and argues that contrary to the notion of gentrification travelling from the West to the East or from the global South to the global North, gentrification as a process of class-led socio-spatial restructuring is essentially an endogenous process that helps rewrite the landscape in Seoul to address the needs of speculative accumulation by the Korean developmental state. I attach its abstract below, with some of the images that are included in the paper.

Abstract:
What does gentrification mean under speculative urbanisation led by a strong developmental state? This paper analyses the contemporary history of Seoul’s urban redevelopment, arguing that new-build gentrification is an endogenous process embedded in Korea’s highly speculative urban development processes from the 1980s. Property owners, construction firms and local/central governments coalesce, facilitating the extraction of exchange value by closing the rent gap. Displacement of poorer owner-occupiers and tenants was requisite for the success of speculative accumulation. Furthermore, the paper also contends that Korea’s speculative urbanisation under the strong developmental (and later (neo-)liberalising) state has rendered popular resistance to displacement ineffective despite its initial success in securing state concessions. Examining the experience of Seoul in times of condensed industrialisation and speculative urbanisation helps inform the existing literature on gentrification by resorting to non-Western empirics.

Figure 2. Ogsu neighbourhood before and after redevelopment (project period: November 1984 - October 1990). Source: Photographs provided through the courtesy of The Seoul Institute.

Figure 2. Ogsu neighbourhood before and after redevelopment (project period: November 1984 – October 1990). Source: Photographs provided through the courtesy of The Seoul Institute.

Figure 4. Locations of areas designated for redevelopment in Seoul. Source: Map adopted from Bureau of Housing (2008) and adjusted

Figure 4. Locations of areas designated for redevelopment in Seoul. Source: Map adopted from Bureau of Housing (2008) and adjusted

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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

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Book Review [In Korean]: Shanghai Gone by Qin Shao

This is the fifth monthly contribution to the Korean daily newspaper, The KyungHyang Shinmun. I have chosen by Qin Shao, Professor of History at The College of New Jersey. There is an excerpt of the book in English, which can be viewed on the Asia Society web site on this link.

The book discusses the life and struggle of Shanghai’s displacees whose life courses have abruptly changed by the city-wide redevelopment projects. Facing the almighty power of the state, developers, media and so on, displacees are transformed from ordinary residents to an occupational petitioners, a barrack-room lawyer or a community leader. The rights discourse spelled out by these people also provides a fascinating insight for our understanding on how the interaction between reform measures (economic, political and legal) and people’s response to these have reshaped their rights awareness and views on social justice.

The contents of this book resonate with my own research on residents’ displacement and redevelopment in Seoul (Nangok neighbourhood, 난곡) in South Korea (see my papers from Geoforum and Environment and Urbanization) as well as in Beijing and Guangzhou in China (in particular, my papers from Antipode and Urban Studies).


2013년 6월 22? 지면 게재 예정 [해외 책] 서? 송고 ?고:

(게재? ?고 바로보기)

?하?, 사?지다 (Shanghai Gone: Domicide and Defiance in a Chinese Megacity), 친 샤오

ShanghaiGone-QinShao?하? 정부 통계를 근거로 유추해보면 2003년부터 2010년까지 48 가구대략 150만명 가까운 시민? 철거?주 대??었? 것으로 파악?다. 2003 기준 ?하? ? 가구수가 486만?었으니, 8 ?안     집꼴로 ?종 개발사업으로 ?해 철거?주? 셈?다?러한 통계?는 ?민공??고? 불리우는 ?주노??가 제외?니 실제 철거?주? ?시민 규모는 훨씬 ? ? 것?다중국? 20세기초 ?시화 과정? 연구하? ?양사학?  샤오가 2013 발표한 저작 <?하?사?지다> 최근 10년? ?어난 ?하?? ?시개발로 ?해 집과 ??? 파괴? 보통 사람들? 고난과 투? 역사를 담고 있다.

중국 사회주? 정부하?서 재개발? 애초 주거환경개선??는 복지? 성격? 강하였다. ?러한 성격? 근본?으로 변한 것? 1990년대 집중? 주? ?품화, 토지 ?품화 정책? 기?한다. 국가소유? 토지? 사용권? 시장 거래 대?? ?고, 그 ?매 수?? 지방정부 예산외 재?으로 편입?면서 지방정부가 토지개발? ? ?해관계를 갖는다. 여기? 급?히 팽창한 주?시장? 몰린 투?사, 건설사 등과 공통? ?해관계를 토대로 협력? 관계를 맺? 것?다. ?로? ?시재개발? ? ?? 복지?기보다는 ?윤추구를 위한 수?사업? ? 것?다.  Continue reading

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