RAS Salon

How Gentrification Shapes Historic Preservation in Urban Shanghai

Speaker: Non Arkaraprasertkul

Just a decade ago, traditional alleyway houses  known as lilongs were seen by both locals and non-locals alike as too rundown and inconvenient. Today, these houses are accommodating not only the locals but also many others who are willing to pay a high price for an “authentic Shanghainese experience”.

Based on a 3½-year-long ethnographic study, Non will talk about how the demand for the “authentic Shanghai experience” has shaped and reshaped the meanings and value of these houses. He will also explore the concept of “gentrification from within”: unlike in most places where gentrification has had a negative impact, Non argues that this process has benefited the original residents and made the community more diverse.

Non Arkaraprasertkul is International Visiting Professor of Jagiellonian University in Kraków; and Adjunct Professor of Society and Culture at Rajamangala University of Technology Phra Nakhon in Bangkok. Trained as an architect, urban designer, historian and anthropologist, he researches urban problems in Asian cities through the lenses of design and social science. He holds master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Oxford, and a PhD in anthropology from Harvard University. He previously taught at MIT, Harvard, Fudan University, New York University Shanghai, and recently at the University of Sydney as Senior Lecturer in Urbanism.

RSVP: bookings@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn