GY438      Half Unit
Cities and Social Change in East Asia

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Hyun Shin S416


This course is available on the MSc Human Geography and Urban Studies (Research), MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in City Design and Social Science, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Environment and Development, MSc in Local Economic Development, MSc in Real Estate Economics and Finance, MSc in Regional And Urban Planning Studies, MSc in Social Policy and Development, MSc in Social Policy and Development: Non-Governmental Organisations, MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in Urbanisation and Development. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course encourages students to develop their critical knowledge and comparatively understand how urban space is transformed in different social, economic and political settings, and what social implications are made upon the powerless and poor. In order to examine the process of social and spatial transformation in times of compressed urbanization, the course will draw on various examples of urban policy and practice from cities across Asia, with emphasis on newly industrialised economies in East and Southeast Asia as well as on mainland China.

Focusing on urban questions in particular, the course comprises of lectures and seminars on the following themes: urbanisation and vertical urbanism; urban development and the role of the state; growth politics and urban renewal; land politics and real estate in mainland China; gentrification and neighbourhood changes; the right to the city; property-rights activism; financialisation and social change; sustainable development and future of cities. Students will also have opportunities to view and discuss various sources of audiovisual materials and documentaries related to these themes.

Course Facebook page:


15 hours of lectures and 9 hours of seminars in the MT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.

Formative coursework

One formative essay (1,500 words) on which individual feedbacks will be provided.

Indicative reading

B-G. Park et al (Eds) Locating Neoliberalism in East Asia: Neoliberalizing
Spaces in Developmental States, 2012; H-J. Chang, The East Asian
Development Experience: The miracle, the crisis and the future, 2006; G
Andrusz et al (Eds), Cities after Socialism, 1996; JR Logan and HL
Molotch, Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place, 1987; SS
Fainstein, The City Builders, 2001; L Lees et al, Gentrification,
2008; F Wu (Ed), China's Emerging Cities: The Making of New Urbanism,
2007; R Forrest and J Lee (Eds), Housing and Social Change: East-West
Perspectives, 2003; Y-t Hsing, The Great Urban Transformation, 2010


Exam (75%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%, 3000 words).

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 12.1
Merit 36.4
Pass 47
Fail 4.5

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2012/13: 29

Average class size 2012/13: 15

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 72.5%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)