Republication of “Unequal Cities of Spectacle and Mega-events in China” in French

Pleased to confirm that a paper of mine, entitled Unequal Cities of Spectacle and Mega-events in China and originally published in 2012 from the journal CITY, is going to be republished in French from the journal Alternatives Sud (AS) in March 2016. The republication is part of the journal’s themed issue on globalisation of sport,  with a focus on mega-events and their implications on developing/emergings countries and populations.

The journal Alternatives Sud is part of the activities by the Centre tricontinental (CETRI), a progressive research centre founded in 1976 in Belgium. According to the centre, it now aims to:

“promote a better understanding of the North-South/South-South relations and problems and to contribute to critical analysis of the dominant concepts and practices of development in the context of the neo-liberal globalisation. It is particularly supportive of understanding and discussing the role of social and political actors in the South who are fighting for the recognition of social, political, cultural and environmental rights.”

If you are interested in reading the full paper, you may visit the journal’s web site or here.

Urban Salon | An anatomy of resistance: the popular committees of the World Cup in Brazil

As part of the Urban Salon seminar series, I am organising a seminar to take place on Monday 23rd March 2015 at the LSE. The speaker, Christopher Gaffney, is going to discuss the actions of the Comitês Populares da Copa (CPC) or Popular Committees of the World Cup, which organised resistance movements and contested the hosting of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Brazil. Discussions are provided by Isaac Marrero-Guillamon (Goldsmiths College, University of London) and Mike Raco (UCL), who would build their responses on their previous studies of the London Olympic Games experiences.

Please see below for more details.

Next Urban Salon event:

An anatomy of resistance: the popular committees of the World Cup in Brazil

Christopher Gaffney (University of Zurich)

Venue: Graham Wallace Room, 5th Floor, Old Building, LSE (Located next to the Senior Common Room)

(See Maps and Directions:

Time: 5-7 pm, Monday 23rd March 2015

Abstract: This talk will explore the formation, composition and political actions of the Comitês Populares da Copa (CPC), Popular Committees of the World Cup, that formed in twelve Brazilian cities in anticipation of the 2014 World Cup. The CPC was the largest network of resistance movements ever assembled for a sports mega-event and contributed to the discourse of resistance and radical street actions that marked the 2013 FIFA Confederations´ Cup. Each of the twelve nuclei was independent of the others but communicated and coordinated through an umbrella organisation called the Articulação Nacional dos Comitês Populares da Copa (ANCoP), National Articulation of Popular Committees for the World Cup. 

Isaac Marrero-Guillamón (Goldsmiths, University of London), co-editor of The Art of Dissent: Adventures in London’s Olympic State;

Chair: Hyun Shin (LSE)

The Urban Salon is a London based seminar series aimed at scholars, artists, practitioners and others who are exploring urban experiences within an international and comparative frame.

The organisers:

Pushpa Arabindoo (UCL), Monica Degen (Brunel), Michael Guggenheim (Goldsmiths), Loretta Lees (Leicester), Jenny Robinson (UCL). Hyun Shin (LSE)

Journal article (2014): Urban spatial restructuring, event-led development and scalar politics

14.coverA recent paper of mine on examining Guangzhou’s use of the Asian Games has just been published by the journal Urban Studies. Entitled “Urban Spatial Restructuring, Event-led Development and Scalar Politics”, it examines the use of the 2010 Summer Asian Games by Guangzhou in China as a means to justify its developmental vision that aimed at raising the city’s global profile and urban accumulation. Please click here to go directly to the journal page to download the paper.

Below is an abstract. Please e-mail me if you do not have access to the journal and I’ll be happy to share the paper. Other papers that have resulted from my project on Guangzhou can be found on this link (e.g. journal papers from Antipode and City).

Abstract of “Urban Spatial Restructuring, Event-led Development and Scalar Politics”

This paper uses Guangzhou’s experience of hosting the 2010 Asian Games to illustrate Guangzhou’s engagement with scalar politics. This includes concurrent processes of intra-regional restructuring to position Guangzhou as a central city in south China and a ‘negotiated scale-jump’ to connect with the world under conditions negotiated in part with the overarching strong central state, testing the limit of Guangzhou’s geopolitical expansion. Guangzhou’s attempts were aided further by using the Asian Games as a vehicle for addressing condensed urban spatial restructuring to enhance its own production/accumulation capacities, and for facilitating urban redevelopment projects to achieve a ‘global’ appearance and exploit the city’s real estate development potential. Guangzhou’s experience of hosting the Games provides important lessons for expanding our understanding of how regional cities may pursue their development goals under the strong central state and how event-led development contributes to this.

[In Chinese; thanks to Yimin Zhao for translation]

In Chinese; thanks to Yimin Zhao for translation]


本文借助广州举办 2010 年亚运会的经历分析了这座城市的尺度政治问题。文章

Below is one of the images used in the paper, which shows how the new central business district (Pearl River New Town or zhujiang xincheng 珠江新城) has changed substantially during the ten years prior to the Games opening.

Transformation of the Pearl River New Town, 2000 - 2010

Transformation of the Pearl River New Town, 2000 – 2010

Proposal accepted for a journal special issue on Accumulation, State Legitimacy and Cities of Spectacle in ‘Emerging’ Economies

Earlier last week, it was a great pleasure to receive the final acceptance letter from the special features editor of the Urban Geography journal with regard to a proposal to pursue a special issue on Accumulation, State Legitimacy and Cities of Spectacle in ‘Emerging’ Economies. I will be guest editing this with Andy Thornley in my department. The special issue aims to bring together original research papers to examine  mega-events in some of the major emerging economies that have hosted, or are hosting, major international mega-events. The special issue is one of the endeavours that emanate from the earlier session organisation at the RGS-IBG annual conference in the summer of 2013.

I am very happy to see the great line-up of colleagues from around the world. These include Anne-Marie Broudehoux (University of Quebec at Montreal, Canada), Elena Trubina (Ural Federation University, Russia), Xun Li, Yi Liu and Jigang Bao (Sun Yat-sen University, China) and Astrid Wood (University College London, UK), who will be discussing the experiences of Rio de Janeiro, Sochi, Guangzhou and Cape Town respectively.

In order to build upon existing scholarship discussing the role of mega-events as societal spectacles, contributors are purposefully brought together to create a dialogue about the use of mega-events as a means to address both accumulation needs and social stability. Consideration is given to the historicity of urban development and political economic contexts within each host nation. Contributors are asked to pay attention in particular to the issues of state legitimacy and governance in their emerging country context and to tease out differences with more developed countries.

Papers are aimed to be submitted to the journal for peer review from around May 2014. More updates to follow as progress is made.

CFP: The Second International Conference on Mega-Events and the City, Rio de Janeiro, 27-30 April 2014

I had a chance to be at the first conference on Mega-events and the City, and now the organisers are to host its second conference, taking place shortly before the 2014 FIFA World Cup. This should be an exciting conference for critical interrogation of mega-events.

OUTLINE: “The Second International Conference on Mega-Events and the City has as its objectives both the consolidation of this field of urban studies and the promotion of dialogue between researchers, teachers, students, and professionals from the public and private spheres, as well as human rights activists from around the world. The Conference aims to bring together those engaged in the study, planning, and promotion of mega-events, as well as in the conflicts that result from them.”

Revised deadline for abstract submission: 15 December 2013

Final date for discounted registration: 01 March 2014

For more information, please visit the conference web:

LSE Comment and Opinion | From Beijing to Rio: Whose Games?

This is a commentary of mine posted on the LSE web site on 22 October, entitled From Beijing to Rio. It builds upon my research on mega-events in China to discuss lessons that can be learnt from China for Brazil’s forthcoming FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. I thank Candy Gibson at LSE Media for the help with editing.

“The excessive amount of money spent on a mega event inevitably sucks up public money to address social needs – and it hasn’t gone unnoticed in Brazil.” Hyun Bang Shin explains why the world’s attention on Rio in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup may reveal more than its government desires.

The eyes of the world will be on Brazil in the next couple of years when Rio de Janeiro hosts the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, but at what cost? Continue reading

Selected papers on Capitalism in China – free to download until the end of 2013

Taylor & Francis online has put together a selection of papers on China’s Capitalism. The topics range from economics and finance to management and development studies. In total, 15 papers published between 2007 and 2013 are listed on its themed page, and are free to download until the end of December 2013.


The selection has picked up my own paper, Unequal Cities of Spectacle and Mega-events in China, which discusses China’s key developmental issues (accumulation and social stability) through the lens of mega-events.

Other interesting papers include: Continue reading

RGS 2013 CFP: Mega-events and Cities of Spectacle in the Global South

I’m organising a session on mega-events and urban spectacles, focusing on case studies from the Global South. Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries or send me an abstract by 1st February 2013 for consideration if you’d like to participate.

CFP copy and pasted below…

RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2013:  New Geographical Frontiers

28 – 30 August 2013 (London)

Mega-events and Cities of Spectacle in the Global South

Sponsored by Urban Geography Research Group (UGRG) and Developing Areas Research Group (DARG)

Session Convenor: Dr Hyun Bang Shin, Department of Geography and Environment, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). E-mail

Discussant (to be confirmed): Professor Andy Thornley, Department of Geography and Environment, LSE

Session Format: Paper session Continue reading

51 days before the Guangzhou Asian Games



Guangzhou is busy with the preparation for the Guangzhou Asian Games that will take place in November. Some people in Guangzhou say the timing is not good, as the opening of the Games is only a few days after the completion of the Shanghai Expo. In any case, lots of construction works and beautification projects are taking place all over Guangzhou, and the government of Guangzhou wants to finish the originally planned refurbishment and beautification projects in time for the opening of the Games.

The photos above show some of the scenes around the Guangzhou East Station where fast trains to Hong Kong depart from. Everywhere you go in Guangzhou nowadays, it is fairly easy to find these Games-related slogans and electronic count-down billboards.  The whole station area was in a mess yesterday when I went there to take my train to Hong Kong. Three weeks earlier when I first arrived in Guangzhou, it was even messier. I suppose the remaining 51 days would see more intense mobilisation of resources by the government to complete the beautification and major construction projects considered crucial for the city to make it presentable to Games visitors.

When a guest visits one’s house, everyone would usually try to clean his/her house to make it presentable and comfortable for the guest. When a city engages with beautification and refurbishment, it becomes a whole different story, affecting far too many residents who may find quite a few projects absolutely unnecessary. The decision to decide the extent of the clean-up, beautification and refurbishment often rests with high-ranking officials, reflecting their own notion of what a city should look like.

춘천 시골마을 어느 길가

이번 한국 방문길에 춘천, 평창 등을 다녀 왔다. 평창 동계 올림픽 유치 과정에 대한 글 쓴 것을 업데이트 하고자 하였고, 발간 자료로만 접하던 얘기를 관계자들에게서 직접 듣고 싶었었다.

그 와중에 방문한 어느 마을. 춘천 시내에서 외곽으로 (택시 거리) 10여분 떨어진 이 곳 마을길을 걷다보니, 어느덧 길가에 핀 꽃들과 가을 맞아 탐스럽게 맺힌 밤, 대추 등이 눈에 들어온다. 잠시 머물며 사진 찍다 보니, 정겨운 마음이 가득하다.

From Part of Mancheon in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, Korea

이 마을 옆으로도 고층 아파트가 즐비하게 늘어서고 있다. 좀 지나면 마을 앞으로 8차선 도로가 뚫려 원래 있던 마을이 두 동강 난다고 한다. 땅이 없고 사람은 많아 고층아파트를 지어야 한다던 고밀도 개발 논리가, 수도권에 비하면 인구 얼마 안되는 이 곳 춘천에 까지 적용되고 있다. 전원주택을 개발하여 좀 더 편안한 자연친화적 환경으로 가꾸어 사람을 끌어들여야 할텐데, 어디가나 같은 콘크리트 풍경을 복사하는 imitation city로 바뀌고 있다.

사진 속의 모습도 어느 순간 없어질 듯 하다.