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.

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

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

Free access to the journal Environment and Urbanization until 9 December 2013: Includes two papers of mine

SAGE has just announced that to celebrate the 25th anniversary and the 50th issue of the journal Environment and Urbanization (, all contents of the journal are given free access. This is for a limited period only until 9th December 2013.

This also means two of my papers from the journal, listed below, are freely available until the date:

Shin, H.B. and Li, B. (2013) Whose Games? The costs of being “Olympic citizens” in Beijing.Environment and Urbanization 25(2): 549-566 View on the journal site

Photo1 Photo2

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

Bluesky in Beijing?

Wanfujing 거리 옆 쇼핑몰 전면에 내걸린 걸개그림. 그 크기도 인상적이었지만, Paralympic Games를 준비하면서 여러 군데 내건 정성이 지극하다. 하계올림픽 기간에는 어떤 그림이 내걸렸을지 자못 궁금하다. 지난 며칠간 소나기 등 비가 자주 흩뿌려서 그런지 오후 2시 못미친 이 시간에도 하늘이 한국 가을 날씨처럼 파랗다.

역시 파란 하늘 배경의 천안문. 눈부신 햇살 가득한 오후, 청홍색이 더욱 뚜렷이 대비된다.
베이징에서 텐진에 가는 고속철도를 이용하고자 베이징 남역으로 가던 택시에서 찍었다.

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Paralympic Games in Beijing

베이징에 도착한 것이 9월 6일, Paralympic Games가 개막한 날이었다. 얼마전에 끝난 하계 올림픽 자리에는 Paralympic Games 관련 장식과 홍보물이 대신하는 듯 하였다. Paralympic Games라 그런지 베이징 곳곳에는 disabled people을 위한 장치 및 안내인이 자리하고 있었다. 올림픽이 끝난 이후 얼마나 disabled people에 대한 배려가 지속될 지는 두고 봐야 할 듯 하다.

아래 사진은 새로 개통된 남북 관통선인 지하철 5호선. 지하철을 기다리는데 역무원이 disabled people용 계단 이동용 기구를 조작하여 끌어올리고 있다.

새로 생긴 지하철 노선을 모두 포함한 지하철 노선도. 2007년 3월 까지만해도 3개 노선 뿐이 없었는데, 공항 노선까지 모두 5개 노선이 새로 생겼다.

베이징에서 묵었던 호텔 인근 중국농업은행 건물 앞의 조경 모습. 이렇게 가꾸어 놓은 곳이 제법 된다.

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Beijing’s new airport express train

베이징을 마지막으로 찾았던 때는 2007년 3월. 당시 올림픽 준비를 한다고 부지런히 여기저기 공사를 하던 베이징은 올림픽 개최에 맞춰 준비를 끝냈다 한다. 이번 베이징 방문에서는 무엇이 바뀌었고 무엇이 그대로인지 한번 보고 싶었다.

공항에 도착하자 마자 눈길을 끈 것. 아시아나항공을 타니 새로 만든 신청사 Terminal 3에 도착한다. 새로 만든 곳이라 그런지 깔끔 그 자체. 넓직한 공간, 비교적 한산하여 답답한 느낌이 없어 좋았다.

Terminal 3에서 터미널 연결용 기차를 타고 입국 수속 장소로 옮겼다. 약 1km 정도 갔을까 싶더니 도착.

수속 모두 마치고 짐 찾고 나오니, 평소 택시타고 가던 시내를 어떻게 갈까 생각하다 이번에 새로 개통했다던 Airport Express Train을 타기로 하였다. 베이징 역시 교통카드가 도입되었다 하여 하나 구입. Deposit 20yuan, 추가로 50yuan 적립. Airport Express Train은 25yuan이었다. Dongzhimen까지 가는 이 기차를 타고, 한 정거장 못미쳐 내린 이후, 역시 새로 개통했다던 10호선 지하철을 이용, 이후 다시 1호선을 타고 Dongdan까지 왔다. 지하철 이동에는 모두 단돈 2yuan. 구간에 상관없이 지하철 요금이 2yuan으로 고정되었다 한다. 예전 2002년 당시에도 2yuan이었던 지하철 요금이 변하지 않아 지난 몇년간 상승한 물가, 생활수준을 고려하면 대단한 일이라 생각했는데…저녁 신문을 보다 우연히 알게 된 것은 올림픽 기간 승객 수송 및 대중교통 이용률 증가를 위해, 그러므로써 대기오염 개선을 위해, 공공요금을 파격적으로 내렸다 한다. 올림픽 지난 이후에 다시 올릴 것에 대해 현재 찬반 논쟁 중이란다.

아무튼 새로 생긴 Airport Express Train 덕에 8~90원은 내야 가던 시내-공항길을 3분의 1도 안되는 가격으로 갈 수 있게 되었다. 아래 그림들은 Terminal 3 및 Airport Express Train의 실내/실외 모습들.

아래는 신규 건설한 Terminal 3 모습. 도착하던 날 개막식을 앞둔 Paralympic Games로 인해 공항 청사 내부에 Paralympic Games 관련 홍보물과 안내소가 여기저기 눈에 보였다. 얼마전까지는 하계올림픽 관련 홍보물이 있었을 것이다.

Airport Express Train 외부 모습..

Airport Express Train 내부 객실 모습. 꽤 쾌적한 모습인데, 사진 찍으며 가느라 앉아 보진 못했다.

Paralympic Games 관련 방문객을 위해 마련된 자원봉사 안내데스크. 사진 속의 데스크엔 대학생으로 보이는 남녀 한쌍이 있었는데 더듬거리는 영어로 친절하게 응대한 것이 인상적이다. Paralympic Games 안내 책자를 찾으니, 다 떨어졌다며 다른 곳까지 가서 한 부 가져다 주었다.

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