On 25th April 2019, I had the pleasure of giving an open lecture at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies on the topic of “In the shadow of state-led gentrification: The commercialisation of residential properties in Seoul”. The abstract of the lecture can be found below.


This talk examines the rise and deepening of gentrification in Seoul, South Korea, as an urban accimulation strategy promoted by a (neoliberalising) developmental state. By examining the contemporary history of Seoul’s urban redevelopment, I put forward arguments that are two-fold. Firstly, I argue that the rise of new-build gentrification from the 1980s is an endogenous process embedded in Korea’s highly speculative urban development processes. Secondly, the recent emergence of ‘commercial gentrification’, and its critiques,reflects the shifting dynamics of state-society relations that give voice to commercial tenants, and changes to the conventional urban accumulation strategies established under Korea’s ‘urban developmentalism’. I conclude by discussing the legal achievements South Korea has witnesseed recently to secure the right of commercial tenants, and their contributions, albeit limited, to building a more progressive urban society in South Korea.

It was also great to catch up with Eric Clark and Annika Pissin over a pint of beer and next day lunch before returning to London.