(In)Visible Boundaries: The Spatialization of Class in the Uneven Housing Development of Nanjing

Event Type: 
Event Date: 
Friday, September 27, 2013 - 12:00
Guggenheim 201E

[Brown Bag Series] This talk will be presented by Sarah Tynen, a Graduate Student in the Department of Geography at CU-Boulder.

The project takes an ethnographic approach to examining urban redevelopment in order to address the everyday nuances of the uneven geographies of housing development. For the ethnographic study, I examined the popular rhetoric that justifies social stratification through a qualitative analysis of personal narratives and experiences of gated community and dilapidated neighborhood residents.

The project examines the relationship between economic development and inter-group tensions on a local scale. I contextualize my research in the broader global processes of increased capital mobility to engage with debates that address the political economy of increased globalization and neoliberalization. The project builds on the extant literature on the role of economic development in the contestation between social classes for urban space.

Chinese urban development is following the American model of the entrepreneurial city, but China’s unique regulatory climate of political economy creates a built environment that is not yet fully understood. By addressing questions of segregation, economic development, and identity formation on the local scale in urban China, the research will contribute to a broader academic understanding of the impacts of uneven spatial development. This research therefore questions the effect of development efforts to simultaneously regulate and deregulate various urban spaces based on social status and household income.