Short essay: The Geographies of Gentrification in East Asia, contributed to the IIAS Newsletter Vol.79, 2018

The International Institute for Asian Studies based in Leiden, the Netherlands, publishes The Newsletter three times a year to report on current affairs in Asia and connect academics with wider audience. The news from Northeast Asia in the Spring 2018 edition covers gentrification in East Asian cities, and features four pieces as below. My piece provided an overview of the geographies of gentrification in the region, while three other pieces contributed by Yoshihiro Fujitsuka, Seon Young Lee and Qinran Yang discuss each country case. It was pleasure to work with the section editor, Ilhong Ko, to put the contributors together to make this happen.

News from Northeast Asia, The Newsletter Vol.79, Spring 2018
(direct link:

Editorial: Gentrification in East Asian cities by Ilhong Ko
Read more

The geographies of gentrification in East Asia by Hyun Bang Shin
Read more

Deregulation policy and gentrification in Chuo Ward, Tokyo by Yoshihiro Fujitsuka
Read more

Resisting gentrification in South Korea by Seon Young Lee
Read more

State, global urbanism, and gentrification in Chengdu by Qinran Yang
Read more

SNU Institute of East Asian Urban Research 서울대 SSK 동아시아 도시사업단

I have been part of this exciting research group since 2014 as part of the research project “Crisis and Transformation of East Asian Cities in the Age of Globalization” (In Korean: “세계화 시대 , 동아시아 도시의 위기와 전환”) funded by the Social Sciences Korea programme (2014-2017), National Research Foundation of Korea.

The project aims to “provide a more concrete understanding of Cold War developmental urbanization, the SSK Research Project on East Asian Cities attempts to explain the urbanization of South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and China in terms of three elements that define the character of East Asian urban­ization: compression, exceptionality, and risk.” To see a brief summary of the project in English, click here.

The team’s Korean web site has been revamped recently to include a fuller list of team members and what they do. Click here to visit the staff page and find out their profiles.

제가 2014년부터 함께 하고 있는 서울대 SSK 동아시아 도시사업단의 웹페이지가 새롭게 단장을 마치고, 특히 프로젝트 참여 연구원들의 프로필을 새롭게 추가하였습니다. 자세한 내용은 해당 웹페이지를 참조하세요. 동아시아 도시사업단은 “세계화 시대, 동아시아 도시의 위기와 전환”이라는 SSK 중형 프로젝트를 수행하고 있으며, 2014-2017년 기간 동안 이라는 주제로 ‘압축공간, 예외공간, 위험경관’ 세 주제에 대한 연구를 진행하고 있습니다.

SSK 동아시아  도시연구단

SSK 동아시아 도시연구단

EARCAG Conference Session, Dec 2016: Speculative Urbanisation and Resistant Politics in East Asia

Session Organiser:

  • Laam Hae (York University, Canada)
  • Hyun Bang Shin (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)

Please reach the organiser at or if you are interested to present in this session.

In the Western literature, post-industrialisation and global financialisation are identified as a main driver of the rise of property-based urban accumulation, resulting in speculation in the real estate sector. However, in East Asia, land and housing have been subject to rampant speculation during the last three decades of urbanisation and city-making, and not necessarily a result of post-industrialisation, although the region’s declining profitability of manufacturing industries would have contributed to the further rise of real estate speculation that guaranteed high returns on ‘investment’ (Haila, 1999, 2000; Shin; 2016; Shin and Kim, 2016). While East Asian real estate speculation can be understood broadly as social, economic and spatial manifestation of developmental urbanisation, it is also important to acknowledge unevenness in the ways in which such speculation has taken place among different countries in the region. That is, speculation over the urban built environment has been an embedded process in each country, moored in contexts and histories of local politics, economies and societies and expressed in locally specific ways.

In this regard, this session aims to bring together papers that can engage with the following (and other related) questions.

  • How has speculative urbanisation been unfolding in East Asian cities in locally specific ways?
  • What does speculative urbanisation signify in the changing political economy and emerging (re)formations of social structure including class, gender/race relations in each country?
  • How is the process of real estate speculation fraught with dispossession of people’s rights and displacement of the un/propertied?
  • In what ways have various mechanisms of social reproduction been shaped by the unfolding speculation?

We particularly welcome papers that discuss the transformative potential of various resistant politics that have emerged against speculative urbanisation in East Asia.

Gentrification Seminars in Seoul, 2-22 December 2015, Seoul National University

In December 2015, I will be leading a series of seminars in Seoul on gentrification. This is to take place at Asia Centre, Seoul National University once a week and starting on 2 December. Gentrification has recently become a social and politically hot topic in Seoul, having seen frequent media coverage from late last year and politicians producing various policy proposals in recent weeks to address displacement of original residents and in particular small businesses who are being driven away due to hiking rents. All those in Seoul and interested in the topic are welcome. Please be reminded that the sessions will be run in Korean though.

Below is the seminar poster and the seminar introduction in Korean along with the weekly programme and readings:

Gentrification-WinterSchool-Programme Gentrification_WinterSchool-Cover

SSK?아시아 ?시연구단 겨울학? 

젠트리피케?션 발전주? ?시? 위기 분?과 대안전? 

지난해부터 언론? 통해서 젠트리피케?션 용어가 빈번하게 언급?고 있습니다. ?미롭게? 최근 한 대중가수가 공중파 예능프로그램?서 ? 용어를 언급한 사실? 한국사회?서 젠트리피케?션 현?? ?드러지게 나타나고 있?? 보여주는 척?입니다. ?처럼 대중? ?? ??서 젠트리피케?션 현?? 대한 관심? 확산?고 있지만, 정작 현?? 대한 기본?? 정?나 학술?? 토론 ? 연구는 아? 제대 로 진행?지 못하면서 용어? 사용과 현?? 대한 ?해? 있어서 혼란? 빚고 있습니다. ?러한 ?황 ?서 전지구? 젠트리피케?션 논?를 소개하고, 우리 사회? 젠트리피케?션? 검토하기 위해 본 겨 울학?를 기?하였습니다.

본 프로그램? 네 번? 모임으로 ?루어진다. 첫 번째 모임?서는 LSE 신현방 ?수가 젠트리피케?션 ? 대한 개론? 소개 ? 앞으로? 세미나 방향? 짚어?니다. 전지구? 젠트리피케?션? ?향과 전? ??는 주제로 강?와 토론? 펼칠 예정입니다.
? 번째 모임부터는 본격?으로 참??들? 젠트리피케?션? 대한 해외최신연구들? ?고, 토론하는 리딩(reading) 세미나 방?입니다. ? 번째 모임?서는 현재 젠트리피케?션 논??서 국가별, ?시별, 지역별로 어떤 차?와 공통?? 있는지를 살펴본다. 세 번째 모임?서는 기존? 서구?시 중심? 연구 ? ??를 받아들?면서? 탈서구?? 시??서 아시아 ?시 사례들? 살펴봅니다. ??으로 네 번째 모 임?서는 실천?, 정책? 측면?서 젠트리피케?션? 대한 대안? 혹? 대항?? 실천과 방향? 논하 는 것으로 ?국? 사례를 살펴보고, 한국 젠트리피케?션? 대한 짧? 발표를 들? 예정입니다.

세미나? ??거리는 대부분 ?문논문들??서 ?반?들?게는 발제? 대한 부담? 있? 수 있지만, 세미나? 주제가 현실 ??과 매우 밀접하게 결부?어 있는 만? 발제는 연구?, 대학?? 중심으로 하면서 참?? ?? 넓히고? 합니다.

본 겨울학?를 기?한 SSK ?아시아 ?시 연구단? “발전주? ?시화??는 화?를 잡고서 어떻게 한 국? ?시?서 국가 주?? ?시화 과정? 진행?었고, 민주화, 세계화, 신?유주?화, 경제위기? ?면 하여 ?시가 변형?었는지를 연구하고 있습니다. ?러한 문제?? 위? ?번 겨울학?는 보다 정?롭 고 ?용?? 탈발전주? ?시화로 나아가는 경로를 실천?으로 모색하려는 시?입니다. ? 프로그램? 취지와 젠트리피케?션 논?? 관심 있는 분들? 많? 참여를 기다립니다.


Tel. 02-880-2869


Weekly Schedule and Reading List:

Week 1: Global Gentrifications. Lecture by Hyun Bang Shin (LSE)
2 December 2015, 3 pm (Room 303, Asia Center, SNU)

  • Smith, N. and Williams, P. (1986) Gentrification of the City. London: Unwind Hyman. Chapter by Neil Smith on “Gentrification, the frontier, and the restructuring of urban space?, and Chapter by Pete Marcuse on “Abandonment, gentrification, and displacement: the linkages in New York City?

Week 2: Gentrification from a Comparative Perspective
9 December 2015, 3 pm (Room 406, Asia Center, SNU)

  • Lees, L. (2012) The geography of gentrification: Thinking through comparative urbanism. 36(2): 155-171
  • Ley D. and Teo S.Y. (2014) Gentrification in Hong Kong? Epistemology vs. Ontology. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38(4): 1286-1303
  • Lees, L., Shin, H.B. and E. López-Morales. (2015) “Conclusion: global gentrifications? in Global Gentrifications: Uneven development and displacement. Policy Press. : 441-452.

Week 3: Gentrification outside the Global North
15 December 2015, 3 pm (Room 303, Asia Centre, SNU)

  • López-Morales E (2015) Gentrification in the global South. City 19(4): 564-73.
  • Ghertner A (2015) Why gentrification theory fails in ‘much of the world’. City 19(4): 552-63.
  • Shin, H.B. and Kim, S-H. (2015) The developmental state, speculative urbanisation and the politics of displacement in gentrifying Seoul. Urban Studies

Week 4Alternatives to Gentrification
22 December 2015, 3 pm (Room 303, Asia Center, SNU)


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).


Deadline January 31 2015

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

Book Review [In Korean]: Locating Neoliberalism in East Asia by Bae-Gyoon Park, Richard Child Hill and Asato Saito

My fourth book review for the  Korean daily newspaper KyungHyang Daily. This time, I have selected <Locating Neoliberalism in East Asia> by Bae-Gyoon Park, Richard Child Hill and Asato Saito. Published on 24 May 2013.

2013년 5월 24? 게재? 네번째 경향신문 [해외 책] 서?.

?아시아?서 신?유주? 찾기

Locating Neoliberalism in East Asia: Neoliberalizing Spaces in Developmental States

140519279820세기 중후반 세계경제는 특?한 현?? 목?한다. 저개발국가 대부분? 경제성장? 못 ?루고 빈곤? 허?? 때 아시아? ?부 국가는 산업화, ?시화 ? 수출주?형 경제를 달성하며 경제성장? 기?? ?룬 것?다. ?본? 전후 복구를 설명하기 위한 분?틀로 등장했? 개발주? 국가론? 한국, 대만, ?콩, 싱가?르 등으로 대변?는 ‘아시아 네 마리 용’? 경제 신화 분??? ?용?었다. 반면 2차 대전 ?후 잉태?어 1970년 오? 파? ?후 본격?으로 전파? 신?유주?는 개발주? 담론? 입?하여 ?아시아 경제?? ? ?향? 미치었다. 한국? 지리학? 박배균, 미국? 사회학? 리처드 차?드 ?, ?본? 지리학? 아사토 사?토 세 명? 편저한 <?아시아?서 신?유주? 찾기>(Locating Neoliberalism in East Asia)는 ?아시아? 대한 신?유주? ?향력? 고찰하며, 특히 ?시 ? 지역정책? 중심으로 ?본, 한국, 대만, ?콩, 싱가?르, ?레?시아, 태국 사례를 다룬다.

?아시아?서 발현한 개발주?는 국가주?형 경제가 성장? ?력? ?다는 ??올로기로서 중앙 계?, 공공부문 확장 ? 개발 계? 추진 등? 통한 국가경제 발전? 목표로 한다. 한편 신?유주?는 사?소유 ? 시장 경?? 통해 ?유로운 개?? ?? 실현 추구가 사회 부? ?대를 가져온다는 ??올로기로서, 국가? ?한 시장 개입? 최소화하려 한다. 하지만 ?러한 경제질서를 재편하기 위해 오히려 국가? 역할? ?대하는?, ?는 통치제?? 정비, 공권력 확대, 공공질서 구현 ? 법 체제 정비와 같? 규제 정책? 실시를 통해 드러난다.

? 책?서? 주? 문제??? 개발주?가 세계화? 따? 신?유주?로 대체?었다고 단순하게 ?해하기보다는 ? 둘? ?호작용? 따? 어떻게 발전? 관계를 형성하는지? 맞춰 있다. Continue reading