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.
Under contemporary capitalism the extraction of value from the built environment has escalated, working in tandem with other urban processes to lay the foundations for the exploitative processes of gentrification world-wide. Global gentrifications: Uneven development and displacement critically assesses and tests the meaning and significance of gentrification in places outside the ‘usual suspects’ of the Global North. Informed by a rich array of case studies from cities in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Southern Europe, and beyond, the book (re)discovers the important generalities and geographical specificities associated with the uneven process of gentrification globally. It highlights intensifying global struggles over urban space and underlines gentrification as a growing and important battleground in the contemporary world. The book will be of value to students and academics, policy makers, planners and community organisations.
“The political economy of inequality and poverty is foundational for understanding cities everywhere. This wonderfully curated volume on gentrification does this to illuminate urban realities of the global south.” Susan Parnell, African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town
“This magnificent collection of gentrification studies interrogates this classic western-derived concept at an unprecedentedly global scale.The book profoundly extends the scope of gentrification research and reinvigorates the notion from the perspective of comparative urbanism.” Fulong Wu, Bartlett Professor of Planning UCL
“This remarkable book, edited with clarity of vision and political purpose, is sensitive to the ‘new comparative urbanism’ whilst arguing that to ‘unlearn’ how we theorise gentrification would be highly questionable. The circulation of capital and the dominance of speculative landed developer interests in cities is leading to massive displacement and social suffering, and this timely volume reminds us that these issues should be at the forefront of our inquiries.” Tom Slater, University of Edinburgh
The paper that I’ve been working on for a while with another colleague Professor Soo-Hyun Kim (Sejong University; now the Director of the Seoul Institute) is out now, published by the Urban Studies journal as an online first version. This is part of the forthcoming special issue on Locating Gentrification in East Asia, co-edited by myself, Loretta Lees and Ernesto López-Morales. Its full bibliography details for citing are as follows:
It adopts a broader definition of gentrification as an urban process of commodifying urban space that results in displacement of original inhabitants (hence not just owners but also users), and argues that contrary to the notion of gentrification travelling from the West to the East or from the global South to the global North, gentrification as a process of class-led socio-spatial restructuring is essentially an endogenous process that helps rewrite the landscape in Seoul to address the needs of speculative accumulation by the Korean developmental state. I attach its abstract below, with some of the images that are included in the paper.
Abstract: What does gentrification mean under speculative urbanisation led by a strong developmental state? This paper analyses the contemporary history of Seoul’s urban redevelopment, arguing that new-build gentrification is an endogenous process embedded in Korea’s highly speculative urban development processes from the 1980s. Property owners, construction firms and local/central governments coalesce, facilitating the extraction of exchange value by closing the rent gap. Displacement of poorer owner-occupiers and tenants was requisite for the success of speculative accumulation. Furthermore, the paper also contends that Korea’s speculative urbanisation under the strong developmental (and later (neo-)liberalising) state has rendered popular resistance to displacement ineffective despite its initial success in securing state concessions. Examining the experience of Seoul in times of condensed industrialisation and speculative urbanisation helps inform the existing literature on gentrification by resorting to non-Western empirics.
Figure 2. Ogsu neighbourhood before and after redevelopment (project period: November 1984 – October 1990). Source: Photographs provided through the courtesy of The Seoul Institute.
Figure 4. Locations of areas designated for redevelopment in Seoul. Source: Map adopted from Bureau of Housing (2008) and adjusted
Call for Papers for a session that I am to organise in anticipation of the 2015 annual conference of the Association of American Geographers in Chicago. Please feel free to disseminate and share.
The Politics of Desire and Despair: Contextualising Rights in Urban Protests against Displacement in Asia and Beyond
Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, 21-25 April 2015, Chicago
Co-Sponsored by the Urban Geography Specialty Group, Cultural Geography Specialty Group, China Geography Specialty Group
Organiser: Hyun Bang Shin, London School of Economics and Political Science, firstname.lastname@example.org
The proposed session is a call for researchers who work on the rights of displacees due to forced eviction and involuntary relocation, attempting to provide space for discussions on how rights concepts emerging out of displacees’ protests can be contextualised in both historical and geographical terms. Here, the notion of rights would include, but not limited to, the right to survive, the right to housing, or the right to the city. The regional focus is Southeast and East Asia including China, where condensed urbanisation and speculative urbanism have resulted in developmental projects that aim to maximise the extraction of exchange value from the built environment, leading to mega-displacement. However, researchers working on other countries displaying comparable urban experiences (e.g. selective cities in Turkey, India, Brazil, Russia or South Africa) are also welcome to contribute.
Flattened former rural village in Guangzhou (Photograph by Hyun Bang Shin, 2010)
The session is on the basis of an understanding that contemporary discussions on the Right to the City or urban inhabitants’ rights in general do not adequately capture the local historical and socio-political processes of how people have come to perceive the concept of rights in their struggles against the powerful. These limitations tend to restrict the contextual application of such concepts as the ‘right to the city’ to non-Western contexts. In late-industrialising Asian countries, it is particularly important to consider the role of the developmental and authoritarian state as well as its political alliance with particular societal actors (e.g. South Korean state’s alliance with large conglomerates from the 1960s or Singaporean state’s populist alliance in the aftermath of its independence) (Haila 2000; Park 1998). Legitimising the rule of the dominant class through the use of state apparatus requires co-opting the national population based on a particular set of state ideologies including nationalism, and this inevitably has repercussions on how protesters frame their demand for a certain set of rights vis-a-vis the hegemony of the state and capital. Continue reading →