Essay for Open Democracy | Development and dissent in China’s ‘urban age’

Open Democracy based in the United Kingdom is running a new series on Cities in Conflict, which according to the series editors “seeks to examine cities as conceptualised, planned or contested sites of conflict, security or resistance.” The series includes a number of themes that range from ‘the insurgent city’, ‘cities of exception’ and ‘the city yet to come’ to ‘the disputed city’, ‘splintering cities’ and ‘cities of shock’. It bring together a number of critics who will undoubtedly provide an interesting set of critical perspectives on understanding contemporary cities in this ‘urban age’.

I have also been invited to contribute a piece, and my essay is online. Other essays on China include those from Jonathan Bach and Mary Ann O’Donnell on Shenzhen.

Development and Dissent in China’s ‘Urban Age’

HYUN BANG SHIN 25 February 2013 

The sight of houses standing alone in cleared construction sites has captured the media’s attention both in and outside of China in recent years. A recent case featured a five-storey house that stood in the middle of a newly constructed road in the city of Wenling in Zhejiang province. The house-owners were reportedly frustrated with the inadequate compensation they were offered by the local authority, and unlike their neighbours, refused to relocate. After sparking an internet sensation, the house was demolished in early December 2012: the owners eventually accepted compensation, reportedly around one third of what they claimed to be the original construction costs.  Continue reading