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Dr Hung-Ying Chen

Post Doctoral Research Associate


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Post Doctoral Research Associate of Department of GeographyS205 


My research focuses on the socio-economic life of urban airspace. I am interested in the urban economy of air rights, the policy-making capacity, market dynamics, and the complex socio-material transformation they evolve. My PhD research builds its empirical focus on urban Taipei, Taiwan. It studies how urban airspace is not only made into property rights but also an investment vehicle on its own rights. Theoretically, it takes stock from cultural economy resources into rethinking urban geographical debates in financialization, politics of value/valuation, and the property politics within ‘rights to the city’ discourses. 

Currently, I am affiliated with the ERC-funded DenCity project, where I collaborate with colleagues in exploring various ways that people perceive, experience, operate, and engage with urban density and intensity. Sharing this broad inquiry, my postdoctoral project is developed around two sets of concern: (i) on Vertical Density.This thread is partially informed from my PhD research on the making of urban verticality. I will further expand the scope of comparison into vertical dwellings in Hong Kong and Mumbai. (ii) on Exchange Intensity. This thread explores the historical dynamics and urban politics of informal markets, especially the market exchange as the formal and informal processes, and their local ecologies in Hong Kong and Mumbai. 

In brief, my research offers an interconnected genesis – urban air rights - to develop relational understanding across various urban domains – such as housing, infrastructure, urban finance, and historical conservation. This contributes to a novel approach for rethinking how the socio-cultural transformations of urban accumulation regime (i.e. urban financialization) take place differently from the established Anglo-American empirics. This also informs my longstanding concerns on how to better understanding the urban dispossession politics in East Asia and beyond.

I work collaboratively with people from Taiwan Alliance of Anti-Forced Eviction (2013-present). Prior to completing my PhD in Durham, I acquired the PhD candidate at the Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, National Taiwan University (2011-2014), volunteered with Taiwan Alliance for Victims of Urban Renewal (2010-2014); and worked with Asian Regional Exchanges for New Alternatives based in South Korea (2008-2010).