Short essay: The Geographies of Gentrification in East Asia, contributed to the IIAS Newsletter Vol.79, 2018

The International Institute for Asian Studies based in Leiden, the Netherlands, publishes The Newsletter three times a year to report on current affairs in Asia and connect academics with wider audience. The news from Northeast Asia in the Spring 2018 edition covers gentrification in East Asian cities, and features four pieces as below. My piece provided an overview of the geographies of gentrification in the region, while three other pieces contributed by Yoshihiro Fujitsuka, Seon Young Lee and Qinran Yang discuss each country case. It was pleasure to work with the section editor, Ilhong Ko, to put the contributors together to make this happen.

News from Northeast Asia, The Newsletter Vol.79, Spring 2018
(direct link:

Editorial: Gentrification in East Asian cities by Ilhong Ko
Read more

The geographies of gentrification in East Asia by Hyun Bang Shin
Read more

Deregulation policy and gentrification in Chuo Ward, Tokyo by Yoshihiro Fujitsuka
Read more

Resisting gentrification in South Korea by Seon Young Lee
Read more

State, global urbanism, and gentrification in Chengdu by Qinran Yang
Read more

Urban Studies journal launches a new initiative, Editors’ Featured Articles

Earlier this month, the Urban Studies journal has announced the introduction of a new initiative called Editor’s Featured Articles ( According to the journal, the new initiative:

makes popular and significant articles that have been recently published available on an open access basis. In addition, selective papers that are not yet in print but connect with the subject matter of these articles in interesting ways will also be available on an open access basis via the website. Featured articles will be updated every quarter.

For this launch, six papers were selected as featured articles. Two of them are on gentrification in Seoul, and one of them is my own paper (with Soo-hyun Kim) entitled The Developmental State, Speculative Urbanisation and the Politics of Displacement in Gentrifying Seoul

Very pleased to have this paper included in this new initiative.

신간 <안티 젠트리피케이션, 무엇을 할 것인가> 기념 행사 안내

2015년 12월에 구상, 작년 초가을 본격 추진했던 중요한 프로젝트 하나를 이번 한국 방문 기간에 맞추어 마무리합니다. 새로 나오는 <안티 젠트리피케이션, 무엇을 할 것인가>를 기념하기 위해 저자들을 모시고 두 번의 행사를 갖습니다. 이번 출장 동안 미처 찾아뵙지 못하고 연락도 제대로 못드린 점 너그러이 이해해주시길 부탁드리며, 시간 되시는 분들은 두 행사장 모두 또는 한 군데에서 뵐 수 있으면 좋겠습니다. 주변에 널리 알려주시길 부탁드리며, 책에도 관심 가져 주시길 부탁드립니다. 목차도 아래에 첨부합니다.

I am organising a book talk and a book symposium to mark the publication of an edited volume (in Korean), which I have been working on since last year. It’s entitled <Anti Gentrification: What is to be done>.

<안티 젠트리피케이션, 무엇을 할 것인가> (신현방 엮음; 도서출판 동녘)

11월 7일 Book Talk

장소: 테이크아웃드로잉 (서울시 용산구 녹사평대로 244)
시간: 7시
패널: 신현방, 달여리, 이채관, 이영범, 전은호, 최소연

11월 8일 Book Symposium

장소: 경희대학교 서울캠퍼스 경영대학 대강의실 (오비스홀 지상1층 111호)
시간: 3시
사회: 지상현
패널: 신현방, 김상철, 신현준, 이강훈, 정용택, 조성찬, 최소연
안티젠트리피케이션-포스터-웹용2 안티젠트리피케이션-포스터-웹용1

<안티 젠트리피케이션, 무엇을 할 것인가>

(신현방 엮음; 도서출판 동녘)
1장 안티 젠트리피케이션, 무엇을 할 것인가_신현방
2장 문제는강제퇴거:인간의존엄을박탈하는폭력_미류
3장  재美난학교:재난현장이학교입니다_최소연
4장  영욕의도시,홍대앞:지킬것인가,불태울것인가_이채관
5장  미술생산자,신자유주의의’미생’?: 잘려나가는 서울에서 예술가와 젠트리피케이션_신현준
6장 젠트리피케이션, 그 보통의 장면_달여리
7장  2009-2017서울젠트리피케이션_정용택
8장 왜정부의임차상인보호정책은실패하는가: 투기를 부추기는 임차상인 대책 평가_김상철
9장 지방도시,소멸과축소그리고재생의갈림길_이영범
10장 젠트리피케이션과법제도의개선방향_이강훈
11장 내쫓김을 극복하기 위한 새로운 도전: 토지가치 공유형 지역자산화_조성찬
12장 젠트리피케이션의 대안, 토지의 본질 회복하기_전은호

‘안티 젠트리피케이션’ 운동은 더욱 계란으로 바위치기 하는 셈이 아닐까라는 우려가 들 수 있다. 그러나 젠트리피케이션을 막을 방법이 없다고 해서 ‘안티 젠트리피케이션’ 운동 자체가 아무 의미 없다고 할 수는 없다. 자본주의 체제의 폐해가 심하다고 해서, 자본주의 하에서 개혁ㆍ변혁운동은 아무 소용없는 일이라고 하지 않는 것과 같은 맥락이다. 오히려 이러한 운동에 더욱 매진해야 할 일이다. 젠트리피케이션으로 인한 폐해가 기존 토지 이용자의 쫓겨남이라면, 결국 ‘안티 젠트리피케이션’ 운동의 관건은 소극적으로는 이러한 쫓겨남을 방지할 수 있는 대책을 세우고, 경제적 지위에 상관없이 도시민 모두가 공존할 수 있는 다양성을 보장 받기 위한 제도의 마련에 있을 것이다. 이러한 공존을 위해 재개발ㆍ재건축 현장 등에서 버려지거나 소멸되는 각종 동식물에게도 ‘시민권’을 부여하는 것 역시 진지하게 생각해봐야 할 것이다. 좀 더 적극적인 의미에서의 ‘안티 젠트리피케이션’ 운동은 자본주의적 공간 생산 방식 자체를 새롭게 디자인 하는 것이라고 할 수 있다. 이를 위해서는 젠트리피케이션을 가능하게 하는, 부동산 지배 이데올로기에 맞설 대안 이데올로기의 생산과 지역공동체의 지속적 저항을 가능하게 하는 물질적ㆍ제도적 기반의 확보도 필요할 것이다. 그를 위한 운동은 궁극적으로 자본주의 사회에서 공간 기획과 생산의 주체가 되지 못하는 수많은 도시민들이 주체로 나설 수 있도록 도시권을 확보하는 운동일 수 밖에 없으며, 도시공간의 경제적 기능이 사회적 기능에 종속되기 위한 운동이 되어야 할 것이다. (신현방, 1장 중에서)

New publication: Introduction to a special issue on Latin American gentrifications

Finally, it’s with great pleasure to be able to announce the forthcoming special issue on Latin American gentrifications. This is part of the collective project that I have been working on with Loretta Lees and Ernesto López-Morales. Previous outputs included a co-edited volume Global Gentrifications: Uneven Development and Displacement, a co-authored monograph Planetary Gentrification, and a special issue from Urban Studies “Locating gentrification in the Global East“. The forthcoming special issue from the journal Urban Geography marks the conclusion of our project, and the following is the co-authored introduction to the special issue:

López-Morales, E., Shin, H.B. and Lees, L. (2016) Introduction: Latin American gentrifications. Urban Geography. DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2016.1200335
Currently, Latin American cities are seeing simultaneous processes of reinvestment and redevelopment in their historic central areas. These are not just mega-scale interventions like Porto Maravilha in Rio or Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires or the luxury renovations seen in Santa Fé or Nueva Polanco in Mexico City, they also include state-led, piecemeal, high-rise interventions in Santiago, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Panamá and Bogotá, all of which are causing the displacement of original populations and thus are forms of gentrification. Until very recently, these processes have been under-conceptualized and little critiqued in Latin America, but they deserve careful scrutiny, along with new forms of neighbourhood organization, activism and resistance. In this introduction, we begin that task, drawing on the work begun in an Urban Studies Foundation-funded workshop on Global Gentrification held in Santiago, Chile in 2012. Our aim is not just to understand these urban changes and conflicts as gentrification, but to empirically test the applicability of a generic understanding of gentrification beyond the usual narratives of/from the global North. From this investigation, we hope to nurture new critical narratives, to engage sensitively with indigenous theoretical narratives and to understand the dialectical interplay between state policies, financial markets, local politics and people. The papers in this special issue deal with the core issues of state power and urban policies (exerted at metropolitan and neighbourhood scales), the enormous influx of financial investment in derelict neighbourhoods that produces exclusion and segregation, the significant loss of urban heritage from rapidly “renewing” neighbourhoods and the institutional arrangements that can enable anti-displacement activism and self-managed social housing production.

The rest of the papers in this special issue are as follows:

A short column in Korean on Gentrification: Whose City?

Having heard about a talk that I gave at The Hope Institute (see the summary of the talk here; also my contribution to The Hope Institute blog here), an editor of a magazine called Monthly Coffee asked me if it’s alright for them to publish a one-page summary of my talk. Then, I literally re-wrote it, and it’s out now as shown in the attached JPG file. Come to think of it, given the preponderance of instances of commercial gentrification affecting a number of small cafes and art spaces in Seoul, I would have given a ‘lighter touch’ and a different take on the column if I were given more time. In the column, I tried to emphasise the importance for all citizens to realise that gentrification is non-discriminatory for most citizens, and that most of us are compelled to live a life of nomads (as displacees and being under constant displacement pressure) under gentrification as urban disaster. The nomad and disaster analogies come from my earlier encounters with TakeoutDrawing in Itaewon, Seoul, which has been launching an inspirational fight against its landlord (Psy, the pop singer) to resist displacement pressure.

046 커피칼럼.indd

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.


Publication of a journal special issue on Locating Gentrification in the Global East

USJ-53-3-2016I am delighted to see the publication of the following special issue on Locating Gentrification in the Global East from Urban Studies as Volume 53, Issue 3. You may find the table of contents and all the papers on this page: (also see below). The abstract for the guest editors’ introduction provides some key thoughts behind this special issue:
This special issue, a collection of papers presented and debated at an Urban Studies Foundation-funded workshop on Global Gentrification in London in 2012, attempts to problematise contemporary understandings of gentrification, which is all too often confined to the experiences of the so-called Global North, and sometimes too narrowly understood as classic gentrification. Instead of simply confirming the rise of gentrification in places outside of the usual suspects of North America and Western Europe, a more open-minded approach is advocated so as not to over-generalise distinctive urban processes under the label of gentrification, thus understanding gentrification as constitutive of diverse urban processes at work. This requires a careful attention to the complexity of property rights and tenure relations, and calls for a dialogue between gentrification and non-gentrification researchers to understand how gentrification communicates with other theories to capture the full dynamics of urban transformation. Papers in this special issue have made great strides towards these goals, namely theorising, distorting, mutating and bringing into question the concept of gentrification itself, as seen from the perspective of the Global East, a label that we have deliberately given in order to problematise the existing common practices of grouping all regions other than Western European and North American ones into the Global South.
This project has been a long and persistent endeavour, and it is the greatest pleasure for me, Loretta and Ernesto as guest editors to be able to see the project coming to fruition. All the contributions are empirically rich and theoretically insightful. It is the belief of the guest editors that this special issue would make a substantial contribution to the contemporary debates on gentrification and urbanisation as well as broader discussions in (comparative) urban studies and urban geography of Asia and the Global South.
The publication of this special issue coincides nicely with another book, Planetary Gentrification, which has just been released from Polity Press ( The book coauthored by the guest editors builds upon a wide range of contemporary literature on urban processes in both the Global South and North. What we learnt from the contributions to this special issue have greatly enriched our arguments in this book.

Continue reading

젠트리피케이션 없는 세상 꿈꾸기 (Dreaming about a world without gentrification)

지난 해 10월부터 12월 사이 두 차례 한국을 방문하였고, 지내는 동안 젠트리피케이션을 화두로 많은 만남을 가졌습니다. 앞서 가졌던 고민의 깊이가 더욱 깊어졌고, 답답하고 아픈 현실에 마음 아팠지만 수 많은 실천의 몸짓을 통해 긍정의 에너지도 얻었습니다. 앞으로 해야할 일을 생각하며 신발끈을 다시 고쳐 맵니다. 아래 글은 희망제작소 ( 에 초청기고한 것 입니다. 희망제작소 웹페이지에 게시한 글은 다음 링크 참조하세요:

This is a short commentary contributed to an NGO based in Seoul, South Korea. I visited Seoul on two occasions between October and December 2015, had an opportunity to meet many people and organisations to talk about gentrification in Seoul, what damages it brings to people and neighbourhoods, and what we can do about it. It had been a very thought-provoking experience, with a lot to think about to make a difference in the future by working in solidarity with many who are already making a difference in their own place.


젠트리피케이션 없는 세상 꿈꾸기

신현방 (런던정경대 지리환경학과 부교수)

2015년 서울은 한국 젠트리피케이션 논쟁에서 의미있게 기억될 것입니다. 우선, 지자체가 젠트리피케이션으로 인한 임차상인의 피해를 줄이기 위해 적극적으로 개입을 시작한 해입니다. 9월 23일 성동구에서 ‘서울시 성동구 지역공동체 상호협력 및 지속가능발전구역 지정에 관한 조례’를 선포하였으며, 곧이어 두 달 뒤 11월 23일에는 서울시에서 성동구 조례를 참조하고 발전시켜 ‘젠트리피케이션을 막기 위한 종합대책’을 발표하였습니다. Continue reading

Planetary Gentrification (@politybooks, 2016), a first advanced author copy arrived

In my previous post in August 2015, I was happy to note the confirmation of the cover visual of my new book co-authored with Loretta Lees and Ernesto Lopez-Morales. I am pleased that the book Planetary Gentrification is just published and my first advanced author copy has arrived today!





It is great to have this publication made available in January, coinciding nicely with the forthcoming publication of a special issue on Locating Gentrification in the Global East from the journal Urban Studies next month (February). The introduction to this special issue is available here: journal’s online first page and its Word version on the LSE site.

Below is the description of the book and reviews as displayed on the publisher’s web page.


Continue reading

Gentrification Seminars in Seoul, 2-22 December 2015, Seoul National University

In December 2015, I will be leading a series of seminars in Seoul on gentrification. This is to take place at Asia Centre, Seoul National University once a week and starting on 2 December. Gentrification has recently become a social and politically hot topic in Seoul, having seen frequent media coverage from late last year and politicians producing various policy proposals in recent weeks to address displacement of original residents and in particular small businesses who are being driven away due to hiking rents. All those in Seoul and interested in the topic are welcome. Please be reminded that the sessions will be run in Korean though.

Below is the seminar poster and the seminar introduction in Korean along with the weekly programme and readings:

Gentrification-WinterSchool-Programme Gentrification_WinterSchool-Cover

SSK동아시아 도시연구단 겨울학교 

젠트리피케이션 발전주의 도시의 위기 분석과 대안적 전망 

지난해부터 언론을 통해서 젠트리피케이션 용어가 빈번하게 언급되고 있습니다.  대중의 일상 속에서 젠트리피케이션 현상에 대한 관심이 확산되고 있지만, 정작 현상에 대한 기본적인 정의나 학술적인 토론 및 연구는 아직 제대로 진행되지 못하면서 용어의 사용과 현상에 대한 이해에 있어서 혼란을 빚고 있습니다. 이러한 상황에서 전지구적 젠트리피케이션 논의를 소개하고, 우리 사회의 젠트리피케이션을 검토하기 위해 본 겨울학교를 기획하였습니다.
본 프로그램은 네 번의 모임으로 이루어질 예정입니다. 첫 번째 모임에서는 LSE 신현방 교수가 젠트리피케이션에 대한 개론적 소개 및 앞으로의 세미나 방향을 짚어줍니다. 전지구적 젠트리피케이션의 동향과 전망이라는 주제로 강의와 토론을 펼칠 예정입니다.
두 번째 모임부터는 본격적으로 참석자들이 젠트리피케이션에 대한 해외최신연구들을 읽고, 토론하는 리딩(reading) 세미나 방식입니다. 두 번째 모임에서는 현재 젠트리피케이션 논의에서 국가별, 도시별, 지역별로 어떤 차이와 공통점이 있는지를 살펴봅니다. 세 번째 모임에서는 기존의 서구도시 중심의 연구의 의의를 받아들이면서도 탈서구적인 시각에서 아시아 도시 사례들을 살펴봅니다. 끝으로 네 번째 모임에서는 실천적, 정책적 측면에서 젠트리피케이션에 대한 대안적 혹은 대항적인 실천과 방향을 논하는 것으로 영국의 사례를 살펴보고, 한국 젠트리피케이션에 대한 짧은 발표를 들을 예정입니다.

본 겨울학교를 기획한 SSK 동아시아 도시 연구단은 “발전주의 도시화”라는 화두를 잡고서 어떻게 한국의 도시에서 국가 주도의 도시화 과정이 진행되었고, 민주화, 세계화, 신자유주의화, 경제위기에 직면하여 도시가 변형되었는지를 연구하고 있습니다. 이러한 문제의식 위에 이번 겨울학교는 보다 정의롭고 포용적인 탈발전주의 도시화로 나아가는 경로를 실천적으로 모색하려는 시도입니다. 이 프로그램의 취지와 젠트리피케이션 논의에 관심 있는 분들의 많은 참여를 기다립니다.

문의. Tel. 02-880-2869. Email.

Weekly Schedule and Reading List:

Week 1: Global Gentrifications. Lecture by Hyun Bang Shin (LSE)
2 December 2015, 3 pm (Room 303, Asia Center, SNU)

  • Smith, N. and Williams, P. (1986) Gentrification of the City. London: Unwind Hyman. Chapter by Neil Smith on “Gentrification, the frontier, and the restructuring of urban space??, and Chapter by Pete Marcuse on “Abandonment, gentrification, and displacement: the linkages in New York City??

Week 2: Gentrification from a Comparative Perspective
9 December 2015, 3 pm (Room 406, Asia Center, SNU)

  • Lees, L. (2012) The geography of gentrification: Thinking through comparative urbanism. 36(2): 155-171
  • Ley D. and Teo S.Y. (2014) Gentrification in Hong Kong? Epistemology vs. Ontology. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38(4): 1286-1303
  • Lees, L., Shin, H.B. and E. López-Morales. (2015) “Conclusion: global gentrifications?? in Global Gentrifications: Uneven development and displacement. Policy Press. : 441-452.

Week 3: Gentrification outside the Global North
15 December 2015, 3 pm (Room 303, Asia Centre, SNU)

  • López-Morales E (2015) Gentrification in the global South. City 19(4): 564-73.
  • Ghertner A (2015) Why gentrification theory fails in ‘much of the world’. City 19(4): 552-63.
  • Shin, H.B. and Kim, S-H. (2015) The developmental state, speculative urbanisation and the politics of displacement in gentrifying Seoul. Urban Studies

Week 4Alternatives to Gentrification
22 December 2015, 3 pm (Room 303, Asia Center, SNU)