Is Comparative Gentrification Possible? Sceptical Voices from Hong Kong


This essay responds to a series of critical observations made in an intervention in this journal (vol. 41.3) concerning our earlier article on gentrification in Hong Kong (vol. 38.4). In the current rejoinder we bring this particular exchange to focus on the broader question of whether comparative gentrification research is even possible; a question that exemplifies the dualism in the literature between global urban theory and the emphasis inherent within comparative or regional urbanism. Our attempt to present an interpretation of urban transformation in Hong Kong that bridges this dualism was challenged by our critics on grounds that are similar to those identified by Jamie Peck in his 2015 analysis of a comparative urbanism that seeks to undercut global urban theory. We use this intervention to examine several of these arguments critically, and conclude by continuing to promote a comparative approach to the study of gentrification, dominated neither by planetary theory nor by regional specificity.