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The Urban Spectre of Global China

Mechanisms, Consequences, and Alternatives for Urban Futures

The Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre has been awarded a British Academy grant for its Tackling the UK's International Challenges programme. The 18-month project will examine four large-scale property development projects of Chinese capital, to question the ways in which the urban has been reconfigured by China’s global expansion.

Project Outline and Aims:

This project draws on methods of comparative urbanism and multi-sited ethnography, aiming to uncover the differentiated models of urban production in the Global China era and to generate new insights for inclusive approaches to urban space, nature and modernity. 

This international collaborative project critically examines the dynamics of urban political economy and contemporary urban living in a rapidly shifting geopolitical setting. By focusing on the local, national and global mechanisms and impacts of Chinese urban spectres, the project aims to deepen our understandings of interrelated urban future issues. 

Research will be conducted in London, Iskandar Malaysia, Beijing and Foshan.

Principal Investigator:

  • Prof. Hyun Bang Shin, Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre, and Professor of Geography and Urban Studies in the Department of Geography and Environment, LSE

    Prof Shin is Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre (SEAC), and Professor of Geography and Urban Studies in the Department of Geography and Environment. Prof Shin’s research centres on the critical analysis of the political economy of urbanisation with particular attention to cities in Asian countries such as Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea and China. His research themes include the politics of displacement; gentrification; real estate speculation; the right to the city; mega-events as urban spectacles. His most recent project on circulating urbanism has also brought him to work on Ecuador.

    Profile: http://www.lse.ac.uk/seac/people/shin-hyun-bang

    Personal website: http://urbancommune.net

Co-Investigators:

  • Dr Yimin Zhao, Assistant Professor in Urban Planning and Management, School of Public Administration and Policy, Renmin University of China

    Dr Zhao's research focuses on the socio-spatial processes of urban change, attending particularly to the role of the state in politico-economic dynamics of urban land and environment. Trained in Human Geography and Urban Studies at the LSE, he has successfully finished his previous project on Beijing’s green belts and is now further developing his research expertise on the urban and the state by investigating the nexus of urban infrastructure, land and the everyday life – both in and beyond East Asia.

    Profile: http://en.spap.ruc.edu.cn/index.php?g=&m=Lingdao&a=index&id=141 
    Personal website: https://readcities.com/

  • Dr Sin Yee Koh, Senior Lecturer in Global Studies, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University Malaysia

    Dr Koh's research, positioned in migration studies and urban studies, seeks to understand the causes, processes, and consequences of structural and urban inequalities, and how people cope individually and collectively under such conditions. She has recently published on cities and the super-rich, the globalisation of real estate, property tourism, and the role of intermediaries in elite transnational mobilities.

    Profile: https://www.monash.edu.my/sass/about/staff/academic/dr-koh-sin-yee 
    Personal website: http://www.sinyeekoh.wordpress.com

Research Assistants

  • Dr Yi Jin, Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre, LSE

    Dr Jin recently finished his PhD in the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science and now works in LSE’s Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre as a research assistant. Yi’s research focus on the political, economic and social dimensions of urban change, particularly in China. Yi is now working on the changing logic of urban governance underlying Chinese urban policies and the issue of urban materiality.

    Profile: http://www.lse.ac.uk/geography-and-environment/people/phd-students/yi-jin