abp jin photo

The Urban Spectre of Global China

Mechanisms, Consequences, and Alternatives for Urban Futures

Prof. Hyun Bang Shin was been awarded a British Academy grant for its Tackling the UK's International Challenges programme. The project, ran from April 2019 to April 2021 and examined 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.


BA Shin

Principal Investigator

Prof. Hyun Bang Shin, Professor of Geography and Urban Studies in the Department of Geography and Environment, LSE. Prof Shin was Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre (SEAC) from August 2018 - July 2023.

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: Hyun Bang Shin (lse.ac.uk)

Personal website: http://urbancommune.net


ba sin yee


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


BA yimin


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/



Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Dr Murray Mckenzie, former Postdoctoral Research Assistant, LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre. 

Dr Mckenzie holds a PhD in Geography and Urban Studies from UCL and an MA in Community and Regional Planning from the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on the roles of the arts, culture, and their contestation in processes of urban growth and change. His doctoral thesis investigated how collaborative artistic practices have served as platforms for community-building in urban villages of outer Beijing.

Prior to joining LSE, Dr Mckenzie taught as a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant at UCL; resided as a Visiting Senior Scholar at Peking University; and performed as a touring musician in Europe, North America, and East and Southeast Asia.

Profile: http://www.lse.ac.uk/seac/people/Dr-Murray-Mckenzie

ba yi

Former Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Dr Yi Jin, former 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

BA Lee

Project Advisor

Prof. Ching Kwan Lee, Professor of Sociology, UCLA

Prof. Lee's research interests include labor, political sociology, globalization, development, China, Hong Kong, global south and comparative ethnography. She is the author of three award-winning monographs on China’s turn to capitalism through the lens of labor: Gender and the South China Miracle: Two Worlds of Factory Women (1998), Against the Law: Labor Protests in China’s Rustbelt and Sunbelt (2007), and The Specter of Global China: Politics, Labor and Foreign Investment in Africa (2017). Her articles have appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, New Left Review, the China Quarterly, and Journal of Asian Studies. Her most recent co-edited volumes include The Social Question in the 21st Century: a Global View (University of California Press, 2019) and Take Back Our Future: an Eventful Political Sociology of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement (Cornell University Press, 2019).

Profile: https://soc.ucla.edu/faculty/ching-kwan-lee 

BA pow

Project Advisor 

Dr Pow Choon-Piew, former Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, National University of Singapore

It was with profound sadness for the project team to have learnt that Dr Pow passed away in July 2021. Dr Pow obtained his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and his research interests included critical geographies of the urban built environment  globalisation, and urban politics in Asia. He was an editor of the Urban Geography journal, a Corresponding Editor of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and a trustee of Urban Studies Foundation. A full obituary from his home department can be found here. Dr Pow was a keen supporter of our project. He was a colleague who was generous with his time, possessed a witty sense of humour, and kindness. His wisdom and knowledge will continue to have their presence during our project life and beyond.

Profile: http://profile.nus.edu.sg/fass/geopowcp/


Project Outputs