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.



Developmental Urbanisation and the Genealogy of Urban Rights in South Korea


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


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.


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

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

New publication: Contesting speculative urbanisation and strategising discontents

In my earlier post, I have mentioned a conference in Athens that I am attending soon. As part of this, I’ve written a chapter for a book that is published as a conference proceeding. Attached below is the direct link to my chapter’s online version (images to follow are the ones inserted in my own chapter):

The full conference proceeding can be freely downloaded from this link: :

The proceeding includes a number of writings by key critics including David Harvey, Andy Merrifield, Tom Slater and Stavros Stavrides. For those of you interested in urban crisis in Greece, there are many interesting chapters in the book, written by those who study in/on Greece.

Update: A slightly revised version of this paper is now published from the CITY journal, and can be fully downloaded freely from the link below. Please use this journal version for any citation.

Shin, H.B. (2014) Contesting speculative urbanisation and strategising discontents. City 18(4-5): 509-516


Flattened former rural village in Guangzhou (Photograph by Hyun Bang Shin, 2010)

Flattened former rural village in Guangzhou (Photograph by Hyun Bang Shin, 2010)



Latest issue of Antipode out now, and the Right to the City in China

My paper “The Right to the City and Critical Reflections on China’s Property Rights Activism” recently came out from Antipode, and here is its introduction that has appeared in the journal’s most recent newsletter (original URL: Attached below is its full text as appeared in the newsletter:

Shin, H.B. (2013) The Right to the City and Critical Reflections on China’s Property Rights Activism‘.

Antipode Blog 28112013

Latest issue of Antipode out now, and the Right to the City in China

Hyun’s paper critically revisits the existing debates on the property rights activism in China and refers to the perspective on the right to the city to examine whose rights count in China’s urban development contexts. Through a case study of redevelopment projects in Guangzhou in China, he calls for the need for both migrants and local citizens to form a cross-class alliance that goes beyond the civic activism. Continue reading

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

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

Book Review in Korean: Rebel Cities by David Harvey ??비드 하비? <저항? ?시>

I’ve been invited to contribute book reviews to a Korean daily newspaper called KyungHyang Daily. It’s going to be one book per month, and I presume it’s going to be also available on its online site. The first one I have chosen is David Harvey’s Rebel Cities (2012). The next one to come is Stephen Graham’s Cities under Siege (2011). The following is the original contribution in Korean that I sent to the newspaper.

3월부터 경향신문? 서?? 기고하게 ?었다. 한달? 한번 기고하게 ?었는?, 첫번째 책으로 선정한 것? ??비드 하비? <저항? ?시> (Rebel Cities). 다??는 Stephen Graham’s Cities under Siege (2011) – 아? 한글 번역 제목? 안정했다. 아래 글? 경향신문? 기고한 ?고. 3월 2??로 실릴 예정?다.

저항? ?시 (Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution), ??비드 하비

??비드 하비(현 뉴욕시립대 ?수)는 지리학?로 출발해 분과학문? 뛰어넘는 통찰력? 기반으로 오랫?안 비?? 관??서 공간? 정치경제학? 정립하는 ? 힘? ?아왔다최근 들어 만난 그는 부? 사회변?? 필요성과 방법론? 대해 고민하고 있었다그? 2012년 신작 <저항? ?시>는 ?러한 고민? 성과?다? 책?서 하비는 사회변?? 고민하는 세력?게 방향? 제시하고 있다.

Rebel_cities출발?? ?본? ?시화?는 관??서 본 ?본축?과 ?시화? ?존? 관계?다하비는 ?시화를 단지 ? ?구 대비 ?시?구? ?가 현?? 아닌?본축?? 중요 수단으로 ?해한다?본주? 발전과정?서 초래?는 과잉축? 위기? 주요 해소 수단으로? 부?산 ? ?종 기반시설? ?함한 고정?본공간? 대한 투?가 ?루어진다는 관??다? 과정? 필연?으로 ?거주민? 대한 수탈사회? 약?? 대한 통제와 억압? ?반하며 부? 소수 집중? 야기한다.

[저항? ?시]가 제기하는 근본 질문? 반?본? 광범위한 연대를 어떻게 구성해 낼 것?가?시사회운?? 기여와 역할? 무엇?가 등?다현대 ?본축?? 있어서는 ?산현장보다 ?시화 ?체가 ?욱 중요한 잉여 창출수단?므로 ?본주?? 대한 저항 역시 광범위한 ?시사회운?? 통해 ?루어져야 하며 노?운?? ?? 결합해야 한다고 하비는 얘기한다.

여기서 ?시? 대한 권리’ (Right to the City), 즉 ?시권? 중요성? 강조?다하비는 ?본주??서 ?시화는 다수? 대한 착취가 사회? 부? 소수 ??? 강화하는 쪽으로 ?뤄진다고 본다?시권? ?러한 착취와 불?등 구조를 타개하기 위한 ?시민? 권리주장?다주민?사? 역행하는 강제철거강제?주 등? 대한 반대? 아니?치솟는 집세? 위협받는 ?시민? 주거권?종 지배??올로기? 억압받는 성소수?열악한 환경? ?주노??비정규 노??들? ?간다운 삶? 대한 권리주장? ?함한다.

?같? 권리주장? 사회? 부? 재분배 요구를 수반하기 마련?다그러나하비는 단순한 부? 재분배만으로는 근본? 문제 해결? 힘들며사회? 부? ?산 ? 활용과정 전반? 대한 민주? 통제가 필요하다고 믿는다민주? 통제를 실현하기 위해서는 기존 변?운?먼저 노?운?? 역할 재정립? 필요하다지금까지 반?본주? 투??는 ?산현장 중심? 노?계급투?? 있어 왔다그러나사회? 잉여가치? ?산? ?산노? 현장? 아니? 부?산 투기고정?본 확장?? ??거주민 수탈 등 다양한 형태로 ?뤄지는 현대사회?서 노?계급투?? 여전히 사회변?운?? 중심? ?어야 한다는 것? 하비는 ?문? 표한다현대 ?본주?가 다양한 형태? 수탈?? 등? 통해 ?루어진다면반?본 운? 역시 ? 다양한 경로들? ?괄할 수 있어야 한다따?서 하비는 노?운?지역운? ? 시민운?? ?시? 연대와 ?? 기반한 저항 즉 반?본 ?시?명? 필요성? 제창한다.

하비? 주장? ?시화율? 90% ??? 우리나??서 ?본축?? ??해를 극복코? 하는 반?본주? 운?? 어떻게 전개?야 할 것?지 시사?? ?져준다비정규임시하청?? 기형?으로 비대해지고대기업? 우월? 지위가 강화? ?황?서 소규모 사업장비정규임시 ?용??주노?? 등과 관련? ?제들? ?넓게 설정하여시민권? 기초한 사회? 부? 재분배? 아니? 한층 구조?? 문제즉 ?본 축?? ??는 ?시화 ??해? 관심? 기울?며노?운?지역운?시민운?? 정치세력화만? 위한 ?시? ?는 사안별 연대?서 벗어나 ?시?? 반?본 연대를 ?뤄야 할 필요성 등? 그것?다.