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

Gentrification in the Global South: Dilapidation, Obsolescence and Land Exploitation

First Call for Papers

RGS-IBG 2011 Conference: The Geographical Imagination

31st August – 2nd September 2011 (London)

Gentrification in the Global South: Dilapidation, Obsolescence and Land Exploitation

Organisers:

Dr Hyun Bang Shin (Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics) h.b.shin@lse.ac.uk

Dr Ernesto López-Morales (Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, University of Chile) elopez@uchilefau.cl

Sponsors: Urban Geography Research Group

Summary:

The proposed session aims to examine how gentrification as an urban phenomenon is played out outside the domain of the European and North Atlantic regions. In particular, we invite contributions that address the production of gentrifiable properties and areas through the interaction between obsolescence (fall of exchange value) and dilapidation (decrease in the use value), reinforced by the re-appreciation of landed value and rent gap exploitation. Dilapidation may occur as a result of physical deterioration caused by either deliberate actions/inactions by property-owners or state institutions (e.g. redlining or blockbusting). Obsolescence, on the other hand, may result from changes in the preference for a particular building style or aesthetic tastes, but increasingly, it is the deliberate acts of market agents that affect the artificial decline of the exchange value. As these processes of devaluation take place, they produce waves of displacement and eventually eviction, prompting potential urban segregation. However, although the public policy usually sees the construction of ‘trendy’ commercial buildings as a neighbourhood ‘saviour’, this form of urban production overshadows existing buildings and often leads to the obsolescence of the latter, prompting a further chain reaction of redevelopment that aims at higher rates of financial gains. Continue reading