Precarity of home : urban displacement of migrants-tenants in Hong Kong

Kelvin Ka Wai WU

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsConference Paper (other)Other Conference Paperpeer-review


Urban displacement, one of the key issues of socio-spatial injustices, is often portrayed as a process of class restructuring and eliminating sense of place. Problematising the conventional understanding of local space as a static entity, this research foregrounds the experience of displacement and practices of homemaking/unmaking of migrant-tenants living in the area of To Kwa Wan, a district in Hong Kong which still serves as the lowest rental market in the city as it is gradually subsumed into intensified private and government-initiated urban redevelopment in the last decade. Drawing on the literature on displacement, mobility studies and critical home studies, this research explores how the tenants experience and negotiate housing uncertainty and unpredictability produced by neoliberal land and housing policies. They build a sense of home, through an array of spatial material and symbolic practices. Rapid urban redevelopment, neoliberal rental legal reform and variegated citizenship regime have normalised evictions while producing differentiated forms of displacement for migrant-tenants. This research suggests that “eviction” is not an accurate term for accounting for the fact that they are often ready to go in way or another. Their “readiness” has something to do with their precarious conditions and their longing for upward mobility in Hong Kong’s housing ladder. The research brings to fore an alternative understandings of home in urban displacement and to shed a new light on urban redevelopment in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
EventInter-Asia Cultural Studies Society Conference 2019: Fluid Circuits: Cultures of Knowledge After the Digital Turn - Silliman University, Dumaguete City, Philippines
Duration: 1 Aug 20193 Aug 2019


ConferenceInter-Asia Cultural Studies Society Conference 2019
Abbreviated titleIACS 2019
CityDumaguete City
Internet address


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