Yoonai Han

Yoonai Han

PhD candidate in Human Geography

Department of Geography and Environment

English, Korean
Key Expertise
Critical Theory, Inequality, Socio-Spatial Mobility, Ethnography

About me

Yoonai is a PhD student in Human Geography. Her research examines how ‘unpredictability’ has emerged as a mode of living in cities and its implication for urban inequality in the context of South Korea.  

In her fieldworks in Seoul, she has made an ethnographic observation on coworking spaces and short-term workers who float around to work without fixed workspaces. Her observation centres on how the repeatedly unpredictable life conditions of short-term workers shape their use of time-space, organisation of resources, and imagination of what one could be in the future. Her aim is to understand how uncertainty that historically enabled socio-spatial mobility during compressed urbanisation and development in Korea is unevenly experienced by different groups of people in cities.  

Prior to coming to LSE, she worked in a research project on urbanisation of East Asian Cities at Seoul National University (2015-2018), where she holds MA and BA in Geography. Through her previous involvement in urban social movements on gentrification, eviction, and urban commons, she developed interests in researching the life of those who cannot afford to stay rooted.  

Areas of interest 

Critical theory, qualitative methods, precarity, inequality, socio-spatial mobility, urban commons, activism, South Korea 

Academic supervisors 

Prof Hyun Bang Shin
Prof Claire Mercer  


LSE Studentship (2018-2022) 

Kwanjeong Scholarship (2018-2022) 

Recent works 

Han, Y., & Lee, S. Y. (2020). Cracking territorial commons—the Gongyuji movement in Seoul, South Korea. In Capitalism and the Commons (pp. 117-132). Routledge. 

Lee, S. Y., & Han, Y. (2020). When art meets monsters: Mapping art activism and anti-gentrification movements in Seoul. City, Culture and Society, 21, 100292.  

[Book translation from English to Korean] De Angelis, M. (2017). De Angelis, M. (2017). Omnia sunt communia: On the commons and the transformation to postcapitalism. Bloomsbury Publishing.


Expertise Details

Critical Theory; Qualitative Methods; Precarity; Inequality; Socio-Spatial Mobility; Urban Commons; Activism; South Korea