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).

Contacts: h.b.shin@lse.ac.ukgeopbg@snu.ac.krdw.gimm@gmail.com

Deadline January 31 2015

Abstracts should be sent by e-mail to abstracts@rc21.org and to the session organizers. Please consult the conference web site for more details.

Journal article (2014): Urban spatial restructuring, event-led development and scalar politics

14.coverA recent paper of mine on examining Guangzhou’s use of the Asian Games has just been published by the journal Urban Studies. Entitled “Urban Spatial Restructuring, Event-led Development and Scalar Politics”, it examines the use of the 2010 Summer Asian Games by Guangzhou in China as a means to justify its developmental vision that aimed at raising the city’s global profile and urban accumulation. Please click here to go directly to the journal page to download the paper.

Below is an abstract. Please e-mail me if you do not have access to the journal and I’ll be happy to share the paper. Other papers that have resulted from my project on Guangzhou can be found on this link (e.g. journal papers from Antipode and City).

Abstract of “Urban Spatial Restructuring, Event-led Development and Scalar Politics”

This paper uses Guangzhou’s experience of hosting the 2010 Asian Games to illustrate Guangzhou’s engagement with scalar politics. This includes concurrent processes of intra-regional restructuring to position Guangzhou as a central city in south China and a ‘negotiated scale-jump’ to connect with the world under conditions negotiated in part with the overarching strong central state, testing the limit of Guangzhou’s geopolitical expansion. Guangzhou’s attempts were aided further by using the Asian Games as a vehicle for addressing condensed urban spatial restructuring to enhance its own production/accumulation capacities, and for facilitating urban redevelopment projects to achieve a ‘global’ appearance and exploit the city’s real estate development potential. Guangzhou’s experience of hosting the Games provides important lessons for expanding our understanding of how regional cities may pursue their development goals under the strong central state and how event-led development contributes to this.

[In Chinese; thanks to Yimin Zhao for translation]

中文标题:“城市空间?构?赛会引领型?展和尺度政治?

本文借助广州举办2010年亚?会的?历分?了这座城市的尺度政治问题。文章首先分?了区域内部?时?生的多?空间?构过程,这些过程的共?目的是?将广州打造?为??地区的中心城市。??本文进一步探讨了广州为与世界关?而进行的”??商性尺度跳跃”,并借助这一跳跃分?了广州进行地缘政治扩张的?度,因为该行为至少在部分程度上?视为与全能型强中央政?妥??的产物。广州的上述?试得到了亚?会的进一步推进:一方?,亚?会使得广州有机会进一步强调通过城市空间?构增进其自身的生产?积累能力;?一方?,亚?会帮助广州更便?地通过城市?开?工程构建所谓”全?形象”,并进而充分?掘城市房地产业?展的潜力。研究广州举办亚?会的?历能深化我们对以下两个问题的?解:一是在强中央政?的管辖下,区域性城市如何追寻自身的?展目标;二是大型赛会引领型的?展策略对于区域性城市的这一抱负是?以?如何?挥作用。

Below is one of the images used in the paper, which shows how the new central business district (Pearl River New Town or zhujiang xincheng ?江新城) has changed substantially during the ten years prior to the Games opening.

Transformation of the Pearl River New Town, 2000 - 2010

Transformation of the Pearl River New Town, 2000 – 2010