East Asian cities are currently undergoing a deepening of social disparities and spatial exclusion due to speculative urbanization. Collectively produced resources and values are unevenly distributed, resulting in the commodification of space, which leads to real estate price increases, gentrification, and residential segregation. City inhabitants’ quality of life is declining, class conflicts are increasing, and social cohesion is being undermined.
Our work aims to safeguard residents’ equal rights to access, use, and control the production and consumption of urban resources. Through empirical research and analysis, we aim to theorize an alternative paradigm for an inclusive, common city, where the inhabitants are not excluded from political, economic, social, and cultural opportunities and relations. Based on this paradigm, we will analyze the situation on the ground in East Asian cities, as well as propose practical measures and policy directions.
1) The Origins and Processes of Speculative Urbanization in East Asian Cities
East Asian cities have undergone rising class conflicts as developmental urbanization and industrialization has progressed. Urban residents have been segregated by class, depriving certain classes from using urban resources. The social emphasis on owning property has imprinted on individual minds a certain political ideology oriented toward housing ownership and economic development. Our team examines the historical formation of the property system in East Asia, which was built largely on the worsening of property inequality and private property ownership.
2) Practices as Counter Measures to Speculative Urbanization
Attempts to create urban commons and community assets are emerging to counter privatized city resources and to combat social exclusion. Specifically, we propose a Community Asset Moel (CAM) as practical means and investigate the significance and action plans for Land and Housing Banking Systems (LHBS). The CAM is to prevent speculative urbanization through efforts to build shared assets by civil society and to secure a stable living space for residents. Also, we suggest a implementation plan for the LHBS as an institutional device to prevent privatization and commodification of land and to secure the commons.
3) Seeking an Alternative Property Rights System
We aim to introduce alternative property rights systems in order to overcome the problems caused by speculative urbanization in Korea. The regime of property rights systems has diverse forms of ownership other than private ownership. In order to explore this diversity, we will compare various property systems across the globe, focusing on the definition of property rights as expressed in the constitution of each country. We expect that our research outcomes will offer insights into the relationship of capitalism to private ownership and will give implications for property management measures in the era of the reunification of the two Koreas.
4) Comparative Study of East Asian Cities’ Inclusivity and on the Role of the Inclusive City
The Inclusive City is a city where all inhabitants are not excluded from political, economic, social, and cultural opportunities and can participate in creating social relations with each other. Cities are microcosms of society as a whole and thus the nature of their inclusivity should vary with depending on social context, which will be examined by taking a comparative approach. In this research, we plan to develop an inclusive city indicator system applicable to all major East Asian cities, and using this, to compare the inclusive characteristics of the cities. Also, we investigate the possibilities and limits of practical measures to realize the multi-scalar governance needed to create inclusive cities.
In Kwon Park(Seoul National University)
Hyun Bang SHin(London School of Economics and Political Science)