I am Professor of Geography and Urban Studies in the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where I have been teaching since 2008. I have also been the director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre at LSE since 2018.
My research centres on the critical analysis of the political economic dynamics of speculative urbanisation, the politics of redevelopment and displacement, gentrification, housing, the right to the city, and mega-events as urban spectacles, with particular attention to cities in Asian countries such as South Korea, China, Vietnam and Singapore. My recent projects on ‘circulating urbanism and (Asian) capital’ have also brought him to work on Quito, Manila, Iskandar Malaysia, Kuwait City and London.
My books include a co-edited volume Global Gentrifications: Uneven Development and Displacement (Policy Press, 2015) and a co-authored monograph Planetary Gentrification (Polity Press, 2016), all part of collaboration with Loretta Lees (University of Leicester) and Ernesto López-Morales (University of Chile). The publication of these books emanated from a series of workshops Towards an Emerging Geography of Gentrification in the Global South in 2012, funded by the Urban Studies Foundation.
More recently, I have published Anti Gentrification: What is to be Done (Dongnyok, 2017), an edited volume that brought together activists, artists, professionals and academics who have been at the forefront of fighting gentrification in South Korea in recent years, and Neoliberal Urbanism, Contested Cities and Housing in Asia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), a co-edited volume that included a series of chapters on Taipei, Hong Kong, Nanjing, Bangkok, Hanoi, and Seoul. Exporting Urban Korea? Reconsidering the Korean Urban Development Experience (Routledge, 2021) is another co-edited volume that examines the the ‘Korean development model’ from its urban dimension.
My other on-going book projects include a monograph Making China Urban (Routledge), and an edited volume The Political Economy of Mega Projects in Asia (Routledge).
I am a board member (trustee) of the Urban Studies Foundation, and currently sit on the international advisory board of the journal Antipode as well as on the editorial board of the journals: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research; Urban Geography; CITY; City, Culture and Society; Space and Environment [in Korea]; China City Planning Review [in China].
I am also a co-organiser of the Urban Salon, an interdisciplinary London forum for architecture, cities and international urbanism, and edits LSE blogs Field Research Method Lab and LSE Southeast Asia.
I was awarded BSc from Seoul National University in 1994, worked in the construction sector for six years before arriving at the LSE to pursue MSc (2000) and PhD (2006), and held a post-doctoral fellowship at the White Rose East Asia Centre, University of Leeds (2007-2008). I have professional work experiences in mechanical engineering and project management and urban planning, having worked for a leading construction firm in South Korea before my graduate studies.