[Book Talk] Housing Unites, Housing Divides: Comparing Singapore and Hong Kong as Property States

Book Talk
Thursday, 9 November 2023, 17:30–19:00 PST
Housing Unites, Housing Divides: Comparing Singapore and Hong Kong as Property States
Dr. David Ley (Professor Emeritus, Geography, UBC)
120, C. K. Choi Building, UBC
1855 West Mall, Vancouver
Map | Parking

This is a free and in-person event.

Singapore and Hong Kong are gateway cities, wide open to global flows of capital and immigrant labour. Both have a common background as colonial entrepots and continue to link rich hinterlands with global economies. Anne Haila has identified both cities as ‘property states’, where to an unusual degree residential and commercial property shape individual and corporate wealth accumulation and government revenues. Investment capital has streamed into each city, creating ‘surplus demand’ that competes with the housing needs of local residents. But in Singapore long-established housing policy, rigorously maintained, has confirmed housing as a tool for national unity. In contrast, in Hong Kong, unequal access to housing has exacerbated generationally defined class tensions, dividing the society. A broader objective of the presentation is to urge the centrality of housing in contemporary society, widely understood in everyday life, but incompletely acknowledged in mainstream social science.

Dr. David Ley’s scholarly interest lies in urban and social geography. He has conducted research in Hong Kong in association with his book Millionaire Migrants (2010), which tells the story of the migration (and return) of wealthy families from ‘Greater China’—Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Mainland—to Vancouver and Toronto from 1986 to 2008. His latest book, Housing Bubbles in Gateway Cities (2023), on which this talk is based, examines the globalization of housing markets and its consequences, especially in gateway cities such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Vancouver, and London.

Dr. Ley was Head of the Department of Geography from 2009 to 2012 and the founding UBC leader of the Metropolis Centre of Excellence, an interdisciplinary research programme on immigration in Canadian cities. Among his many honors, Dr. Ley has been a Trudeau Fellow, a Canada Research Chair, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK), and an Officer of the Order of Canada.

This event is organized by the UBC Hong Kong Studies Initiative with the support of the Watt Family—Hong Kong Studies Initiative Fund, the Department of Asian Studies, and the Centre for Chinese Research.

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