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Global Eminence

NO.361 12.18.2017

Hyun Bang Shin, Renowned Professor in Urban Renewal Invited as Eminent Scholar of Kyung Hee University

Professor Hyun Bang Shin of London School of Economics and Political Science, one of the world’s leading scholars in urban geography and urban renewal, has been invited as Eminent Scholar of Kyung Hee University.

The Civilization Cluster, one of the five Connective Cooperation Clusters (CCC) that Kyung Hee is building in order to grow into an internationally-esteemed prestigious academic institution, seeks solutions to global problems facing humanity such as poverty, famine, nuclear &·terrorist threats, ecological crises, and so on.

In parallel with the establishment of the Civilization Cluster, Kyung Hee University plans to establish the Center for Future Environment Research. This center will be devoted to studying such issues as climate change, particle pollution, water contamination, and environment-friendly city development for the purpose of leaving better air, water, soil, and city to the next generation.

With his advanced knowledge and insights on urban geography and urban renewal, Professor Shin is expected to make a significant contribution at Kyung Hee in the study of sustainable city designs as well as in the developmental process for the Civilization Cluster and the Center for Future Environment Research.

Civilization Cluster to tackle the gentrification problem
Since the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, western countries experienced rapid industrialization and urbanization, and their cities have undergone the cycle of growth, suburbanization, decline, and renewal. In the process of urban renewal, affluent people with economic means controlled redevelopment and ownership of renewed properties, resulting in the problem of gentrification in which the existing residents were forced out of the redeveloped neighborhood.

Korea is no exception. Korea has already seen gentrification to become a serious social issue to the extent that it is now considered an “urban disaster.” In response, the new administration of President Jae-in Moon has put much focus on ‘urban renewal without gentrification’ for its urban renewal program. However, as gentrification arises from the innate nature of capitalism, it cannot be easily stayed so long as we maintain the capitalist market economy.

The Civilization Cluster is expected to play a key role in addressing such issues, which is why Kyung Hee invited Professor Shin as its Eminent Scholar.

“Urban renewal is to ensure coexistence”
Professor Shin has studied urban renewal, entrepreneurship-oriented governance, urban development & urban politics, urbanization in East Asia, and revitalization of urban areas in developing countries, and worked for the past 20 years on reshaping diverse concepts derived from the development examples of western cities.

He recently has started surveying the stake holders, workers, and policy makers on the scene, putting efforts to reduce the damage caused by gentrification and bring coexistence for all city dwellers regardless of their financial condition.

He has also brought to the fore the idea of ‘coexistence’ as a key to the gentrification issues. He noted, “If we approach the problem of gentrification only through the spectacle of myopic capitalistic market economy, those with little economic resources will continue to be marginalized.” He then highlighted, “Urban renewal is to create a new environment for coexistence.”

“Universities should take the lead in addressing social issues”
While praising Kyung Hee University’s earnest efforts to resolve societal problems and urban issues, Professor Shin urged more universities to actively join such efforts.

He noted, “Universities, where we freely speak against the tradition and seek alternative solutions with guaranteed freedom of thoughts and freedom of speech, are under a social and moral obligation to be the source of discussion and remedy for social problems. Both universities and policy makers should work together to create a better future and to spread such efforts widely.”

Professor Shin continues his efforts to find alternatives to gentrification, and is working on the impact of South Korean urbanism model in South America, the Middle East, and China. His research results will be published in English through international publishers.

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