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

  • Summer schools
  • Global Academic Engagement
  • Application code LPS-GY201
  • Starting TBC
  • Short course: Open from October
  • 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 Professor of Geography and Urban Studies and Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre. He also co-directs the MSc programme in Urbanisation and Development.

Professor 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.

Professor Shin has published widely in major international journals and contributed to numerous books on the above themes. His most recent books include Planetary Gentrification (Polity Press, 2016) and Global Gentrifications: Uneven Development and Displacement (Policy Press, 2015). Other forthcoming books include Neoliberal Urbanism, Contesting Cities and Housing in Asia (Palgrave Macmillan), The Political Economy of Mega Projects in Asia (Routledge) and Making China Urban (Routledge).

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 coursework (essay outline, worth 20% of the final mark) and a final end-of-term essay (worth 80% 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 electronic 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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