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 (

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

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.

Uneven development of housing and real price increase in South Korea

“The Economist house-price indices”…/graphicd…/2018/02/daily-chart-5…

The Economist has provided interesting visualisation of housing price index for 27 economies and 20 cities in the US. They have correctly identified that “FINANCIAL media focus most of their attention on stocks and bonds, but the world’s biggest asset class is actually residential property. With an estimated value of about $200trn, homes are collectively worth about three times as much as all publicly traded stocks.” Property wealth is what underpins most people’s prospect of well-being.

According to the data, Britain has seen a 211% real price increase of real estate between 1986 and 2017. I assume this is the national average, and London would have experienced a much higher increase. In South Korea, 30% increase in real price terms between 2000 and 2017, but 0% increase between 2009 and 2017. After the 2008-9 global financial crisis, it may be hypothesised that South Korea has experienced a greater degree of uneven development of housing market, which concentrates on Seoul and other major metropolises.

The Economist 데이터 시각화 정보에 따르면, 한국의 부동산 가격이 일단 2000년도에 비하면 2017년 4분기 현재 무척 (30%) 오른 것으로 나온다. 2009년에 비해서는 0%. 이는 전국 평균 가격일 가능성이 높으니, 불균등 발전에 따라 서울과 지방의 차이, 또는 대도시와 군소도시의 차이 등을 볼 수는 없는 데이터인 듯. 오히려 2008년 금융위기 이후 전국적으로 불균등 발전이 더욱 심화되었으며, 이것이 0%로 수렴되었다고 봐야 하지 않을까 싶다. 부동산 가격에 대한 체감지수, 언론의 관심은 대부분 수도권, 특히 서울을 대상으로 할 때, 위의 데이터에 근거해서 그다지 오르지 않았다고 결론을 내리는 것은 서울과 대도시의 특수성을 간과하게 되는 듯 해서 서울/대도시 중심의 부동산 이데올로기를 더욱 공고히 하는데 기여할 듯 싶다.

반면 영국은 2000년 대비 82% 실질가격 상승으로 나타나는데, 1986년과 비교해 보면 실질가격 기준 211% 상승한 것으로 나타난다. 런던 가격을 따져 보면 이보다 훨씬 더 많이 상승했을 것이라 생각한다.

From The Economist (2018)

CFP: 9th East Asian Regional Conference in Alternative Geography (EARCAG), 10-13 Dec. 2018, Daegu, South Korea

Please find attached a copy of the Call for Papers for the 9th EARCAG conference in Daegu, South Korea, taking place between 10 and 13 December 2018.

The first EARCAG event was in Daegu in January 1999, and the December 2018 gathering in Daegu is going to be a 20th anniversary return to the place where it all started.

The deadline of abstract submissions and organised session submission is 28 Feb 2018. Submission e-mail:*

  • Deadline extended to 31 March 2018

The full CFP and event description is as follows:

Call for Papers for the 9th East Asian Regional Conference in Alternative Geography (EARCAG)

For Spatial Justice: Rethinking Socio-spatial Issues from East Asian Perspectives

Date: 10 (Mon) – 13 (Thurs) December, 2018

Venue: Daegu University (10 December) and Daegu Exco (11-13December), South Korea

Organizer: Korean Association of Space and Environment Research (KASER), Seoul National University Centre for Asian Cities (SNU CAC)

Supporting Institutions: Daegu University, SNU CAC, KASER, Daegu city government

Local Organizing Committee: Byung-Doo Choi (Daegu University), Jintae Hwang (Seoul National University), Hyunjoo Jung (Seoul National University), Sanghun Lee (Hanshin University), Young A Lee (Daegu University), Bae-Gyoon Park (Seoul National University), In Kwon Park (University of Seoul), Se Hoon Park (Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements), HaeRan Shin (Seoul National University), Byeongsun Jeong (Seoul Institute)

EARCAG Steering Committee: Byung-Doo Choi (Daegu University, South Korea), Bae-Gyoon Park (Seoul National University, South Korea), Amriah Buang (Malaysia), Jim Glassman (University of British Columbia, Canada), Chu-joe Hsia (Nanjing University, China), Jinn-yuh Hsu (National Taiwan University, Taiwan), Fujio Mizuoka (Hitotsubashi University, Japan), Toshio Mizuuchi (Osaka City University, Japan), Wing-Shing Tang (Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong)

The issue of ‘spatial justice’ appears again. In the first East Asian Regional Conference in Alternative Geography held in January 1999 in Gyeongju and Daegu South Korea, the main concern was spatial justice. The theme of the conference was ‘Socio-Spatial Issues for East Asian Countries in the 21st century,’ and twenty scholars assembled to discuss those issues. Since then, a growing number of scholars within the network have witnessed increasing precarity and complexity in producing and constituting inequalities and injustices in East Asian society. Out of necessity and concern, they have explored critical interpretations of socio-spatial issues from East Asian perspectives.

Twenty years after the first conference in the same location, we now propose rethinking socio-spatial issues from East Asian perspectives in the hopes of promoting spatial justice. The East Asian perspectives refer to the awareness and understanding of the intertwined relations between the East Asian context and the nature of the methods in which spatial dynamics are organized and constituted.

The aim of EARCAG is to provide a platform for critical geographers and other social scientists to debate social and spatial issues in East Asia. Critical Social scientists have observed increasing complexities, interdependence and inequalities in the development of capitalism and geopolitics over the world. The tradition of strong nation-states and the geopolitical tension particularly in East Asia have produced convergent social and spatial concerns. What are the socio-spatial issues that challenge spatial justice especially in the East Asian region? How are the issues approached in relation to Asian capitalism, politics, and the affects thereof?

Potential session topics include but are not limited to:

  • Embedded developmentalism and spatial justice in post-developmental-state society; post-territorial dynamics of spatial justice
  • Right to the cities and urban commons
  • Geography of precarity; increasing precarity and the precariat’s spatial dynamics and precarious spaces
  • Gender, Space and Justice; Gendered migration within and from East Asia
  • Alternative spaces for spatial justice; critical geopolitics for spatial justice
  • Mobilities as threats to and possibilities for spatial justice; Mobilities promoted and mobilized under the post-developmental state
  • Challenge of climate change and risk governance in East Asia
  • Environmental justice; critical geography for nature and the environment
  • Technology development and spatial justice in a smart era
  • Urban alienation and just city in East Asia
  • Uneven regional development and spatial justice
  • Equity issues in cities and regions under Neo-liberalism; Planning and policy issues for social justice from East Asian perspective

The Keynote Speakers


Submission of Abstracts

If you are interested in participating in this conference, please send an abstract, no more than 500 words, to by 28 February, 2018. The organizing committee will review the abstracts and contact you with the result by 30 April, 2018.

Organised Sessions

If you plan to organise a session, please send the title and description of the session and your papers in it to by 28 February, 2018

Registration Fee

  • Participants from the OECD member countries, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong (US$150 (faculty), US$70 (students))
  • Participants elsewhere (US$70 (faculty), US$35 (students))


Hotel Inter-Burgo Exco (

Please direct any inquires to Young A Lee or HaeRan Shin at

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 book chapter on the fallacy of Songdo (Smart) City, South Korea

9780415745512Great to see the publication of my chapter “Envisioned by the state: Entrepreneurial urbanism and the making of Songdo City, South Korea” in this new edited volume Mega-urbanization in the Global South: Fast Cities and New Urban Utopias of the Postcolonial State, edited by . In: Ayona Datta and Abdul Shaban. I look forward to receiving its printed copy.

For viewing the Word version and its download, please click here.

Below is an excerpt from the chapter’s introduction:

So much has been said about Songdo City in recent years in both academic and practitioner circles. International media has also taken part to inflate the reputation of Songdo City, hailed initially as an eco-city, then as a ubiquitous city (or U-city) and now a smart city (Shwayri, 2013; Shin, Park and Sonn, forthcoming; Kim, 2010). The New York Times went even further to dub it “Korea’s High-Tech Utopia” (O’Connell, 2005). Sometimes its own promotional material puts all these together and simply refers to Songdo as an eco-friendly ubiquitous smart city (IFEZ Authority, 2007). Governments elsewhere see Songdo as a reference for their own mega-projects to create a brand new city from the scratch (see El Telégrafo, 2012 for example on the construction of Yachay City in Ecuador). However, Songdo has come to cater exclusively for the needs of domestic and global investors as well as the rich who have financial resources to grab upmarket real estate properties. It may indeed be an urban utopia, built on a reclaimed tabula rasa and promoted by the state, merging together technological innovation, fixed assets investment, real estate speculation and financialisation, for exclusive use of the rich and the powerful.



[Conference] Global Cities and Urban Studies: Korea in Comparative Perspective

Below is a call for papers forwarded upon request from the conference organiser. This may interest colleagues studying urban issues related to Korea. Please see below. Abstract submission by 5th May 2016.


Call for Papers

Global Cities and Urban Studies: Korea in Comparative Perspective

Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, 16-18 June 2016

Over half of the world’s population lives in cities and the need for academic research of the changing life in urban settings around the world is growing rapidly. The old metropolises are transforming into Global Cities, and are often assumed to be places for political development, sites of artistic and scientific creativity, and melting pots of ethnic and cultural diversity. Larger cities are competing to become attractive and dynamic centers of regions crossing national borders. The Asia Research Initiative (ARI) and the Department of International Relations (IR) at Central European University (CEU) are pleased to announce the conference ‘Global Cities and Urban studies: Korea in Comparative Perspective’. The event is hosted by Central European University and will take place in Budapest (Hungary) on 16-18 June 2016. The event is supported by Korea Foundation and is part of the KF Global E-school in Eurasia, a project aimed at developing a multi-university and multi-platform online real-time curriculum in Korean Studies. Central European University is the first European university to host a Global E-School, which brings together 20 universities in 14 countries in Europe and Asia.

Possible thematic areas to be covered during the conference include: 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

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)

Chinese version of my paper on Displacement and Urban Redevelopment in Seoul

Back in 2008, I had a paper published in the journal, Environment and Urbanization. It discusses the effectiveness of public rental housing provision as compensation measures for tenants in substandard neighbourhoods which become subject to wholesale demolition and redevelopment. I argue in the paper that while the provision of public rental housing provision is a step forward for addressing housing problems of the urban poor, it cannot be all-encompassing solution, and that compensation needs to take into account the diverse socio-economic circumstances (including tenure preferences) of the urban poor.

Not too long after its publication, I had a chance to come across with a colleague who at the time was based in China, working on a number of urbanisation-related research projects. He thought the paper was useful for Chinese audience too and kindly arranged its translation into Chinese to be subsequently posted on a Chinese web site on urban governance. I post the Chinese version of the paper in this post. I express sincere thanks to the colleague who at the time was based in China. (My understanding was that he preferred to remain anonymous at the time, and I will contact him if he’s happy to be named here)

On a separate note, I notice that the Chinese web site has gone through some changes during the last few years. I still find the Chinese version of my paper on the web site (click here to view), but it does not mention my name as the author of the original paper. As there is no contact detail on the web site, I am not sure how to go about asking for corrections. Any tips and help in this matter would be much appreciated. Continue reading