New events at LSE Southeast Asia Centre for autumn 2020

The summer has been a busy period for me, partly to put together a series of events for autumn this year for the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre (SEAC) that I’ve been directing since 2018. It is my pleasure to share the confirmed weekly events including research seminars, which bring together speakers from across the world regions.

Weekly discussions cover a diverse set of issues including decolonising higher education, migration and spatial justice, water crisis and urbanisation, urban informality and street vending, and domestic workers. Geographically, they reach out to Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam and more.

The week commencing 19 October is dedicated to showcasing the COVID-19 and Southeast Asia project at SEAC, and will involve roundtable discussions on selected themes.

I am also happy to present an exciting set of events that are branded as LSE Southeast Asia Week, which consists of daily round tables on a range of topics from politics and economics of COVID-19, migration, urbanisation, and environmental resilience. In particular, on 28 October, I’ll be convening a dialogue with the directors of global centres on Southeast Asia, based in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Lund and Copenhagen, discussing the (post-)COVID future of Southeast Asia studies.

All events are going to be held online, and all are welcome.

SEAC Seminar Series: Full programme for Autumn 2020

Book Launch, “On the Margins of Urban South Kore: Core Location as Method and Praxis”, 25-Sep-2020

This new edited volume entitled ‘On the Margins of Urban South Korea: Core Location as Method and Praxis’ is an important volume that is interdisciplinary and adventurous while critical and insightful. It brings together colleagues who have been working on urban Korea from various disciplinary perspectives, and makes a great contribution to the on-going efforts to de-centre global urban studies and knowledge production.

Having first-hand observed the years-long process of the volume shaping up (sessions at the American Association of Geographers and the Association of Asian Studies as well as writing workshop in addition to multiple discussions with editors), I am very honoured to be invited to this online book launch event and joining the authors as well as other esteemed discussants. I will be discussing how the book contributes to the global (southern) urbanism studies, a theme that I have addressed in my contribution to a forthcoming handbook of global urbanism.

If you’d like to join this event, please send an email to Grayson Lee (grayson.lee@utoronto.ca).

Event date and time: Friday, 25 September 2020, 12-2 pm (EST)

Tokyo 2020 and COVID19

I have come across with this news today, which reports on the IOC’s consideration of postponing the Tokyo 2020. Such spectacles as Olympic Games entail a sense of ‘state of emergency’, leading to the suspension of normal planing processes and diversion of investment in necessary social and physical infrastructure for the poor and the marginalised. On this particular occasion, the Olympic spectacle is giving in to another ‘state of emergency’, that is, the COVID19 pandemic, which also produces disproportionate impacts on the populations, disadvantaging the poor and the marginalised. Each ‘state of emergency’ seems to reveal the contradictions of our society in a different way.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/international-olympic-committee-considers-postponing-tokyo-games-11584904096?fbclid=IwAR1aUtxSQqpOQNVNuN9HPF3CkuKcefeX-WXgKevZrjvaWg-kD4z41XhtdBU

Panoramic view of the Tokyo Olympic Games main stadium under renovation (Photograph by Hyun Bang Shin, March 2019)

COVID19 and Changes to Teaching Provision

LSE is one of the first universities in the UK to deliver the rest of teaching online as part of its effort to tackle the COVID19 pandemic situation, and also to switch summer term written exams into online assessments. All public events are also to be cancelled or postponed. My department is to enact this from Monday 16 March, after which all teaching will be using online resources. Students and staff are all naturally anxious and many things remain uncertain as to how the remaining academic year is turning out to be. Several students from abroad have already told me about their plans to return to their home countries and join their families.

Last Friday, on the last day of delivering teaching in person, I was able to meet most of my students in the MSc programme I directed and in the PG courses I taught, having had a chance to explain what’s going to happen and how it’s going to happen.

A few things I highlighted were that: (1) this is not the end of their programme and learning experiences; (2) staff including myself are here to support them; (3) staff and students are all new to this uncharted territory and all of us are worried about the pandemic situation, so let us acknowledge that there would inevitably be many glitches along the way as we try new systems; (4) it would be important for us to act with courtesy when we approach each other.

I have also emphasised the duty of care, that is, the need of looking after their own selves as well as other people within their social network, especially those physically, socially, economically and politically more vulnerable during the times of crisis. For any dissertation-related field research, I have encouraged students to reconsider the scope, scale and nature of their dissertation research, and actively think about research ethics, especially the duty of care for research participants while they look out for their own health and safety.

No matter how much the university tries, the learning experiences are never going to be the same for students, and the teaching experiences are also going to be different for staff members. But, with some sense of solidarity and care, I do hope that we survive this and create teaching and learning experiences that are positively different from the normal times, and that we’d reflect upon this moment at a later date with laughter and celebration.

At the end of the talks with MSc programme students, in particular, we took programme cohort photographs, and I appreciated their high spirits and the kind words many shared with me. Here, I share some of the photos. I look forward to seeing them again and especially in the December graduation celebration.

MSc in Urbanisation and Development, 2019-2020 Class

Arriving soon: Neoliberal Urbanism, Contested Cities and Housing in Asia

I have posted earlier (see here) about a new forthcoming book from @Palgrave_, Neoliberal Urbanism, Contested Cities and Housing in Asia, and it is my pleasure to confirm that the book proof has been finalised and it’s ready for the final production. The book’s cover image is also finalised and is attached here as follows. The image shows an aerial view of Taipei City – the selection of Taipei City was a conscious decision, as the image depicts a mix of diverse urban forms as well as the juxtaposition of both nature and the second nature (the built environment) in an urban space that presents a palimpsest of layers of social relations and histories of contestations. All these speak to the main themes of the book.

https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9781137517500

What is the book about?

Considering Asian cities ranging from Taipei, Hong Kong and Bangkok to Hanoi, Nanjing and Seoul, this collection discusses the socio-political processes of how neoliberalization entwines with local political economies and legacies of ‘developmental’ or ‘socialist’ statism to produce urban contestations centered on housing. The book takes housing as a key entry point, given its prime position in the making of social and economic policies as well as the political legitimacy of Asian states. It examines urban policies related to housing in Asian economies in order to explore their continuing alterations and mutations, as they come into conflict and coalesce with neoliberal policies. In discussing the experience of each city, it takes into consideration the variegated relations between the state, the market and the society, and explores how the global pressure of neoliberalization has manifested in each country and has influenced the shaping of national housing questions.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1. Centering Housing Questions in Asian Cities (Yi-Ling Chen and Hyun Bang Shin)
  • Chapter 2. ‘Re-occupying the State’: Social Housing Movement and the Transformation of Housing Policies in Taiwan (Yi-Ling Chen)
  • Chapter 3. Displacement by Neoliberalism: Addressing the Housing Crisis of Hong Kong in the Restructuring of Pearl River Delta Region (Shu-Mei Huang)
  • Chapter 4. When Neoliberalization Meets Clientelism: Housing Policies for Low- and Middle-Income Housing in Bangkok (Thammarat Marohabutr)
  • Chapter 5. Neoliberal Urbanism Meets Socialist Modernism: Vietnam’s Post-Reform Housing Policies and the New Urban Zones of Hanoi (Hoai Anh Tran and Ngai-Ming Yip)
  • Chapter 6. Beyond Property Rights and Displacement: China’s Neoliberal Transformation and Housing Inequalities (Zhao Zhang)
  • Chapter 7. Development and Inequality in Urban China: The Privatization of Homeownership and the Transformation of Everyday Practice (Sarah Tynen)
  • Chapter 8. Weaving the Common in the Financialized City: A Case of Urban Cohousing Experience in South Korea (Didi K. Han)
  • Chapter 9. Contesting Property Hegemony in Asian Cities (Hyun Bang Shin)

Forthcoming book, Neoliberal Urbanism, Contested Cities and Housing in Asia (Palgrave Macmillan)

Chen, Y.-L. and Shin, H.B. (eds.) (in press) Neoliberal Urbanism, Contested Cities and Housing in Asia. Palgrave Macmillan

Above is an edited volume that I have been working on as co-editor is now at the production stage, scheduled to appear in July 2019. The other co-editor is Dr Yi-Ling Chen at the University of Wyoming. Below is a summary outline of the book as displayed on the publisher’s web site:

Considering Asian cities ranging from Taipei, Hong Kong and Bangkok to Hanoi, Nanjing and Seoul, this collection discusses the socio-political processes of how neoliberalization entwines with local political economies and legacies of ‘developmental’ or ‘socialist’ statism to produce urban contestations centered on housing. The book takes housing as a key entry point, given its prime position in the making of social and economic policies as well as the political legitimacy of Asian states. It examines urban policies related to housing in Asian economies in order to explore their continuing alterations and mutations, as they come into conflict and coalesce with neoliberal policies. In discussing the experience of each city, it takes into consideration the variegated relations between the state, the market and the society, and explores how the global pressure of neoliberalization has manifested in each country and has influenced the shaping of national housing questions.

The book includes nine chapters in total, covering Taipei, Ho Chi Minh City, Nanjing, Bangkok, Seoul and Hong Kong. The table of contents is as follows:


Chapter 1. Centering Housing Questions in Asian Cities (Yi-Ling Chen, The University of Wyoming; Hyun Bang Shin, London School of Economics and Political Science)

Chapter 2. ‘Re-occupying the State’: Social Housing Movement and the Transformation of Housing Policies in Taiwan (Yi-Ling Chen, The University of Wyoming)

Chapter 3. Displacement by Neoliberalism: Addressing the Housing Crisis of Hong Kong in the Restructuring Pearl River Delta Region (Shu-Mei Huang, National Taiwan University)

Chapter 4. When Neoliberalization meets Clientelism: Housing Policies for Low- and Middle-Income Housing in Bangkok (Thammarat Marohabutr, Mahidol University)

Chapter 5. Neoliberal Urbanism Meets Socialist Modernism: Vietnam’s Post Reform Housing Policies and the New Urban Zones of Hanoi (Hoai Anh Tran, Malmö University; Ngai-Ming Yip, City University of Hong Kong)

Chapter 6. Beyond Property Rights and Displacement: China’s Neoliberal Transformation and Housing Inequalities (Zhao Zhang, Zhejiang University of Technology)

Chapter 7. Development and Inequality in Urban China: The Privatization of Homeownership and the Transformation of Everyday Practice (Sarah Tynen, University of Colorado Boulder)

Chapter 8. Weaving the Common in the Financialized City: A Case of Urban Cohousing Experience in South Korea (Didi K. Han, London School of Economics and Political Science)

Chapter 9. Contesting Property Hegemony in Asian Cities (Hyun Bang Shin, London School of Economics and Political Science)


As is expressed in the book’s collective acknowledgments, the book has become “a product of an enduring process, involving negotiations with academic and family responsibilities that have spanned across three continents.” I am glad to see it coming to its material presence. Many thanks are owed to all the chapter contributors and other colleagues who provided insights and inspirations.

Forthcoming paper, #Asian #urbanism, from the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Studies

A paper of mine on Asian Urbanism is going to appear in the forthcoming Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Studies, scheduled to be published in April 2019. Its author copy in PDF is downloadable from the LSE Research Online page found on this link: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/91490/

Abstract:

This chapter on Asian urbanism begins by examining how Asian urbanism can be seen as both actually existing and imagined, taking into consideration the ways in which Asian urbanism has entailed the use of successful Asian cities as reference points for other cities in the Global South on the one hand, and how such referencing practices often entail the rendering of Asian urbanism as imagined models and ideologies that are detached from the realities of the receiving end of the model transfer on the other. The ensuing section examines how Asian urbanism can be situated in the context of state-society relations, with a particular emphasis on the role of the Asian states that exhibited developmental and/or authoritarian orientations in the late twentieth century. The penultimate section explores the socio-spatiality of Asian urbanism, summarising some salient characteristics of Asian urbanism. The final section concludes with an emphasis on the need of avoiding Asian exceptionalism, and also of having a pluralistic perspective on Asian urbanism.

LSE-Southeast Asia Early Career Researchers Network Symposium

Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre is organising its first ever #ECR networking event to take place on 13th February at LSE. Please see the event description in the image below. This is an exciting opportunity to meet ECRs working on Southeast Asia. If you cannot attend but want to be added to the networ list, please send your message to seac.admin@lse.ac.uk, introducing who you are and what you currently do.

[New book] Developmentalist Cities? Interrogating Urban Developmentalism in East Asia, edited by Jamie Doucette and Bae-Gyoon Park

Colleagues and students interested in understanding the ‘developmentalist’ interpretation of urbanisation in East Asia would be delighted to see the this new volume, Developmentalist Cities? Interrogating Urban Developmentalism in East Asia, edited by Jamie Doucette (University of Manchester) and Bae-Gyoon Park (Seoul National University), published by Brill in November 2018.

I am pleased to receive an author copy of this new book just now, and look forward to browsing many interesting chapters in the volume. Many thanks to Jamie and Bae-Gyoon for kindly republishing my Urban Studies paper (co-authored with Soo-hyun Kim, now in the President’s Office in South Korea) in their volume, which in this volume is titled “The Developmental State, Speculative Urbanization and the Politics of Displacement in Gentrifying Seoul” (pp. 245-270). The original Urban Studies paper version can be found here.

Below is the brief description of the book as explained on the publisher’s web site for your information:

Developmentalist Cities addresses the missing urbanstory in research on East Asian developmentalism and the missing developmentalist story in studies of East Asian urbanization. It does so by promoting inter-disciplinary research into the subject of urban developmentalism: a term that editors Jamie Doucette and Bae-Gyoon Park use to highlight the particular nature of the urban as a site of and for developmentalist intervention. The contributors to this volume deepen this concept by examining the legacy of how Cold War and post-Cold War geopolitical economy, spaces of exception (from special zones to industrial districts), and diverse forms of expertise have helped produce urban space in East Asia. 

https://brill.com/view/title/34395