Neighborhood Transformation in East Asian Cities: Is ‘Gentrification the Right Frame of Reference

Gentrification is the process by which urban neighborhoods, usually the home of low and lower-middle-income residents, become the focus of reinvestment and settlement by middle classes. Gentrification in Asian cities looks entirely different from the process in cities in Europe and the United States. The rapid urbanization process puts Asian megacities at the center of gentrification studies. Is “gentrification” the best concept with which to describe what is going on in Asian cities? Or do we need other, more appropriate, frames to understand the Asian context at the neighborhood level?

Our goals are to help identify more appropriate terms and lenses using locally-specific language and frameworks. The geographical scope of the symposium is East Asia, including Northeast Asia and the ASEAN countries in Southeast Asia. Contributions may be in the form of individual case studies or comparative work involving multiple cities in the region.

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