Transforming urban neighbourhoods : limits of developer-led partnership and benefit-sharing in residential redevelopment, with reference to Seoul and Beijing
The thesis studies the dynamics of urban residential redevelopment programmes in Seoul and Beijing that have been effectively transforming dilapidated neighbourhoods in recent decades. The policy review shows that neighbourhood renewal programmes saw difficulties in ensuring cost-recovery and replicability in both cities, and that this has led to the formation of residential redevelopment programmes that depend heavily on the participation of real estate developers in spite of social, economic and political differences between the cities of Seoul and Beijing. Based on research data collected from a series of area-based field research visits in Seoul and Beijing between 2002 and 2003, the thesis examines how developer-led partnerships in urban redevelopment take place in different urban settings, what contributions are made by participating actors and how redevelopment benefits are shared among the existing and potential residents in redevelopment neighbourhoods. The main arguments in this thesis are as follows. Firstly, the emergence of profit-making opportunities in dilapidated neighbourhoods forms the basis of developer-led partnership among property-related interests that include the local government, professional developers and property owners. Poor owner-occupiers and tenants in both Seoul and Beijing assume a more passive role. Secondly, local authorities intervene to ensure that the partnership framework works, but this is carried out largely in favour of professional developers and absentee landlords whose material contributions are significant. Thirdly, redevelopment benefits are shared among existing residents in differentiated ways. The most affected in negative ways are the marginalised population whose social and economic status is increasingly threatened by the market risks in times of globalisation, urban growth and redevelopment in the 1990s. This thesis concludes that partnerships in neighbourhood redevelopment do not have benign outcomes for all. Stronger government intervention is necessary in order to safeguard the interests of existing residents in dilapidated neighbourhoods, ensure their participation, and in particular, increase the protection of those increasingly marginalised by the process of redevelopment.