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Economic transition and speculative urbanisation in China: gentrification versus dispossession

Shin, Hyun Bang ORCID: 0000-0002-1103-9221 (2016) Economic transition and speculative urbanisation in China: gentrification versus dispossession. Urban Studies, 53 (3). 471 - 489. ISSN 0042-0980

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0042098015597111


Gentrification requires properties to be available for investment through market transactions. In mainland China which has gone through transition from a planned to a market economy, it is necessary to unleash decommodified real estate properties and make them amenable to investment. This entails inhabitants’ dispossession to dissociate them from claiming their rights to the properties and to their neighbourhoods. This paper argues that while China’s urban accumulation may have produced new-build gentrification, redevelopment projects have been targeting dilapidated urban spaces that are yet to be fully converted into commodities. This means that dispossession is a precursor to gentrification. Dispossession occurs through both coercion and co-optation, and reflects the pathdependency of China’s socialist legacy. The findings contribute to the debates on contextualising the workings of gentrification in the global South, and highlight the importance of identifying multiple urban processes at work to produce gentrification and speculative urban accumulation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Asia Centre
Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2015 13:15
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:20
Projects: NRF-2014S1A3A2044551
Funders: LSE Annual Fund/STICERD New Researcher Award, National Research Foundation of Korea Grant

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