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Questioning “progressive” gentrification in Asia: evidence from Kampung Sungai Baru, Kuala Lumpur

Salleh, Alia (2024) Questioning “progressive” gentrification in Asia: evidence from Kampung Sungai Baru, Kuala Lumpur. Urban Geography. ISSN 0272-3638

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Identification Number: 10.1080/02723638.2024.2333699


This paper critically challenges the notion of “progressive” gentrification in Asia through the debate around the “culture of property” and its naturalizing effect on gentrification in Asian urbanisms. To overcome the cultural essentialism of past research, in this paper I offer phenomenological evidence from a case study of an ongoing eviction in Kampung Sungai Baru, Kuala Lumpur to privilege affected residents’ view. I also use policy document analysis to trace the institutional origin of the “culture of property”. I find that the “culture of property” observed in Kuala Lumpur is shaped by a housing policy that takes a residual approach, leading to increased financialization and anxiety over inheritance. I argue that while “property-mindedness” is prevalent, it does not co-opt residents to unquestioningly accept redevelopment. Instead, it empowers them to resist what they perceive as “rogue redevelopment”. I reveal nuances surrounding residents’ demand for compensation which extends beyond seeking social mobility. These demands arise from a desire to reclaim “sweat equity” and assert their rights to fair treatment. Finally, I find that “development” holds a bigger virtue than property ownership and may motivate residents to support redevelopment projects deemed to carry social benefits.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Date Deposited: 03 May 2024 14:24
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2024 03:15

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