The Political Economy of Urbanisation in China and Asia: Globalisation and Uneven Development

  • Summer schools
  • Academic Partnerships Office
  • Application code LPS-GY201
  • Starting 2018
  • UK/EU full-time: Open
  • Overseas full-time: Open
  • Location: Beijing

Students in rain 16.9

Photo: Students of The Political Economy of Urbanisation in China and Asia: Globalisation and Uneven Development, enjoying the one-day field trip exploring the inner city of Beijing lead by course instructor Professor Hyun Shin.

The course explores the contemporary dynamics of urbanisation in Asia, with special emphasis on cities in China and other East and Southeast Asian economies, which share the experiences of rapid urban development with strong state intervention in the context of condensed industrialisation. The course will benefit from the geographical advantage of taking place in Beijing and make use of a number of China case studies to examine the differences as well as similarities of urban development between Chinese and other Asian cities.

Applying interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives, the course encourages students to develop critical knowledge and comparative understanding of how urban space is transformed in different social, economic and political settings, and what socio-spatial implications are made in a differentiated way upon local populations.

Throughout the course, we ask whether the concepts and theories born out of the (post-)industrial Western urban experiences can be applicable to the understanding of urban Asia. We also ask what are the challenges that cities in East and Southeast Asia face, given its current development trajectory.

We do this by examining a set of carefully selected themes that address:

  • the integration of Asian cities with the global economy, 
  • the distinctive characteristics of Asia’s urban development,
  • the place-specificities of state intervention in forming urban growth strategies,
  • and socio-political implications of urbanisation processes in the region.

 Video Play GY201

Video: Professor Hyun Shin discusses his LSE-PKU Summer School course. "China and East Asia have experienced rapid urbanisation during the second half of the twentieth century. It is important to understand what is enabling this rapid urbanisation, the role of the government and its impact upon local people.”

Click here for the full course outline

Programme details


Professor Hyun Bang Shin

Professor Hyun Bang Shin is an Associate Professor of Geography and Urban Studies in the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Professor Hyun Bang Shin is a specialist in urban Asia. His research includes the critical analysis of the political economic dynamics of urban (re-)development and covers Asian urbanisation, urban politics, displacement and gentrification, the right to the city, and mega-events as urban spectacles.

He was the recipient of the STICERD/LSE Annual Fund New Researcher Award in 2009, which funded his two-year research (May 2009 - July 2011) on the socio-spatial and political implications of the 2010 Asian Summer Games in Guangzhou, China. In 2012, he organised workshops in London and Santiago de Chile, together with colleagues from the UK, Chile and Argentina, on Towards an Emerging Geography of Gentrification in the Global South. These workshops were part of the Urban Studies Seminar Series (2011-2012), funded by the Urban Studies Foundation and the Urban Studies journal.

He has co-edited Global Gentrifications: Uneven Development and Displacement (Policy Press, 2015), co-authored Planetary Gentrification (Polity Press, 2016), and is currently working on a number of publication projects including a co-authored manuscript on critical discussions of urban housing in East Asia (Palgrave Macmillan) and a monograph entitled Making China Urban (for Routledge’s Asian Studies series).

For more information on Professor Hyun Bang Shin's research and publications please see his personal website.

Student feedback

"One of the best parts of my course was that it included a one-day field trip to visit the inner city of Beijing, which allowed students to intuitively experience urban development in Beijing. The knowledge I gained from the lectures and seminars have broadened my insight in developing cities in East Asia and will definitely be helpful in my future research and study in the field of real estate." Jacky Qi Zhu, University of Aberdeen, UK

"I took the course with Dr. Shin. We studied the impact of urban renewal process on Chinese cities, mega-events and their legacies, as well as the historic preservation issues and debates in current day China. I chose this course because it helped me to develop writing and research skills, and the fieldwork we did in one of the historic neighbourhoods in Beijing provided me with hands-on experience on many topics we discussed in class." Mingqian Liu, Texas A&M University, USA


Click here to read more of our alumni testimonials.


There are no prerequisites for this course.


Assessment will be based on a mid-term essay (worth 50% of the final mark) and a final exam (worth 50% of the final mark).

Preparatory reading list

The list below provides an indication of some of the main recommended texts for the course, but a full reading list and course pack will be provided to registered students approximately six weeks before the beginning of the programme.

  • Campanella, T J. (2008) The Concrete Revolution: China’s Urban Revolution and What it Means for the World. New York: Princeton Architectural Press
  • Friedmann, J. (2005) China’s Urban T ransition. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press
  • Gordon, M. (2011) Ghetto at the Center of the World: Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • Hsing, Y, (2010) The Great Urban Transformation: Politics of Land and Property in China, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Lees, L., Shin, H.B. and López - Morales, E. (eds.) (2015) Global Gentrifications: Uneven Develop ment and Displacement, London: Policy Press
  • Lees, L., Shin, H.B. and López - Morales, E. (2016) Planetary Gentrification. Cambridge: Polity Press
  • Loh, K.S. (2013) Squatters into Citizens: The 1961 Bukit Ho Swee Fire and the Making of Modern Singapore. Singapore: NIAS Press
  • Merrifield, A. (2013) The Politics of Encounter: Urban Theory and Protest under Planetary Urbanization. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press
  • Park, B - G. et al. (2012) Locating Neoliberalism in East Asia: Neoliberalizing Spaces in Developmental States. Chichester: Wiley - Blackwell
  • Shao, Q. (2013) Shanghai Gone: Domicide and Defiance in a Chinese Megacit y . Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

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