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The Underground City: Preliminary Findings about Beijing’s Bomb Shelter Housing Market

Apr 11 @ 5:00 pm-7:00 pm

RSVP: www.undergroundcity.eventbrite.com    China’s scale of urbanization is unprecedented along many dimensions: land area, square meters constructed, population. Also well known are some of its spatial patterns: the astounding rate of land conversions in the urban villages on the periphery of Chinese cities as well as the redevelopment of land in the city center from hutongs to skyscrapers. But, less well studied are the millions of people living underground. For example, of Beijing’s 20 million people, there are an estimated 2 million people living in bomb shelters and basements because it is the best space they can afford. Dr. Kim presents preliminary findings of her research about Beijing’s elaborate underground housing market. Fieldwork interviews indicate that for this group of urban poor and recent migrants, the airless and cramped housing is preferable to the periphery for certain livelihood strategies and demographics. A socio-spatial order appears to be forming in which certain kinds of employment are associated with those living underground versus those living on the periphery. Having collected approximately a thousand rental ads for underground housing and geo-coded their location, she runs a hedonic price model to find the value of vertical urbanism and re-conceptualizes the subterranean city with alternative mapping.  Speaker:Annette M. KimAssociate ProfessorDepartment of Urban Studies and PlanningMassachusetts Institute of Technology Bio: Annette M. Kim’s research studies the processes of major institutional change, particularly the reconstruction of property rights and planning paradigms in rapidly urbanizing cities. Her research projects have included the emergence of the first generation of private real estate developers in Vietnam, the political struggle for land compensation on the urban periphery, and the contest for public spaces such as sidewalks with the influx of migrants to the city. Currently, she directs the research group SLAB which is developing methods of spatial ethnography and critical cartography as a way to re-conceptualize urban space and find more inclusive and humane ways to design and govern the 21st century city. Professor Kim received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in City and Regional Planning as well as a concurrent M.A. in Visual Studies; a masters in public policy from Harvard University; and a B.A. in Architecture and Studio Art from Wellesley College. Professionally, she has been an architect of affordable housing, a construction project manager, and jury member of international urban design competitions. She has also served as a consultant to the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, the World Bank, African and Asian governments, as well as community-based NGOs.  Light refreshments served at 5:00 P.M.  Program to begin at 5:15 P.M.  


Apr 11
5:00 pm-7:00 pm


TBA Public Affairs Building
337 Charles E Young Dr East
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States