Resisting redevelopment: Protests in aspiring global cities

Governance, 34(4), pp. 1287-1289
Willey | Hoboken | 2021 | ISSN 1468-0491

Resisting Redevelopment: Protests in Aspiring Global Cities, Eleonora Pasotti, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2020. 404 pp.

Castells emphasised that “only if we are able to understand how people create cities might we be able to create cities for people.” Pasotti’s original and wide-ranging study works to explain how and why grassroots around the world resist urban redevelopment to challenge established politics, build alternative futures, and create the cities they desire. It is an essential reading for anyone interested in the city and the grassroots.

Source: doi.org/10.1111/gove.12641.

Between the state and citizens: Changing governance of intermediary organisations for inclusive and sustainable urban regeneration in Seoul

With Kim Kon and Krystallia Kamvasinou
Land Use Policy, 105
Elsevier | Amsterdam | 2021 | ISSN 0264-8377

Cities across East Asia once experienced rapid economic growth and urban development under a strong interventionist state. The recent economic slowdown and political changes have pressured them to find alternatives to the previous state-led or market-driven urban development. New forms of participatory governance have been devised to mobilise citizen participation in decision-making. Citizen participation, however, is not simply about direct interactions between the state and citizens. It is also guided and facilitated by intermediary organisations that are state- or self-funded bodies working between the state and citizens. Seoul in South Korea is a case in point. Over the past decade, Seoul Metropolitan Government has institutionalised intermediary organisations to expand citizen participation in diverse areas of urban life. In urban development, a more inclusive approach has been put forward through new partnerships between government, intermediary organisations, and citizens. In this article, a case study of such partnership is critically examined. Urban regeneration in the Changsin-Sungin Area shows two meaningful changes in the governance of the intermediary organisation. The first change occurred when the intermediary organisation recruited residents as staff members and helped them to create a new local cooperative. The second change happened when the local cooperative took over the role of the intermediary organisation. Analysis of these changes revealed that intermediaries have a contradictory role in urban regeneration. On the one hand, the intermediary intervention has expanded citizen participation and improved consistently the engagement of the community of practice. On the other hand, intermediary intervention has served to instrumentalise citizen participation and constrain the growth of an autonomous community of practice while helping the state to retain control over urban regeneration. In this sense, the intermediary-led participation contains seeds of yet-to-be realised potential, albeit with the current flaws, for more inclusive and sustainable urban regeneration, which this study recognises as an integral part of emerging post-developmental urbanisation in South Korea.

Source: doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2021.105433.

Social mobilisation in localities and urban change in South Korea: The evolution of the Geumho-Haengdang-Hawangsimni community movement in Seoul

Asian Studies, 9(1), pp. 317-343
Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana | Ljubljana | 2021 | ISSN 2232-5131

South Korea experienced rapid economic and urban growth in the past that was driven by an interventionist state and speculative markets, and citizens were largely excluded from decision making. Urban change also used to be characterized by the large-scale demolition of poor neighbourhoods and forced evictions of the residents. As a result, different forms of social mobilization emerged in localities, aiming to protect the interests of the residents and local communities, and claim their collective right to the city. The article examines the evolution of the Geumho-Haengdang-Hawangsimni community movement in Seoul as a case of social mobilization in localities. The qualitative case study is based on a longitudinal analysis of causes for its emergence, aims, organization and practice of the community movement to better understand its importance for urban change in South Korea. The results of the study show that the community movement strengthened community building and contributed to urban change at different levels. They also reveal the contradictory relation between the state and community movements, which must maintain their financial, organizational and political autonomy while collaborating with the state to achieve their aims. In doing so, the Geumho-Haengdang-Hawangsimni community movement has successfully maintained its autonomy, for which it can be considered a good example of autonomous and sustainable community building in cities.

Source: doi.org/10.4312/as.2021.9.1.317-343.

From commodities to community engagement: Localities and urban development in Seoul, Korea

With Kim Su
Exporting Urban Korea? Reconsidering the Korean Urban Development Experience, pp. 81-100
Park Se Hoon, Shin Hyun Bang, Kang Hyun Soo (eds.)
Routledge | London | 2021 | ISBN 978-036-74-9840-5

Exporting Urban Korea?Markets used to be the major drive behind the transformation of localities in Korea. The state facilitated the commodification of localities through property-led urban redevelopment, which resulted in the demolition of deprived residential areas, displacement of the residents, heightened social conflicts, and destruction of social relationship networks. At the same time, localities were sites of grassroots struggles that challenged the state and struggled against the commodification of localities. Recently, the state recognized the negative consequences of urban redevelopment and started to promote state-led urban regeneration to improve the living environment and restore communal life in the cities. This chapter examines the changing relations between the state, property markets and community and their role in the transformation of localities and urban development in Seoul. The comparison of Songhak Maeul and Seowon Maeul shows that the state involvement had a significant impact on the transformation of localities. While the role of state is important, the chapter also argues that the significance of grassroots struggles in the transformation of localities should not be overlooked. Recognizing localities as sites of community engagement could contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of urban development and international development cooperation in Korea, as their success has often been attributed to the state and property markets without much consideration of the state–community relationship in building sustainable cities.

Source: doi.org/10.4324/9781003047599.

Sharing Seoul: Appropriating alleys as communal space through localized sharing practices

With Cho Im Sik
Built Environment, 46(1), pp. 99-114
Alexandrine Press | Oxon | 2020 | ISSN 0263-7960

Sharing practices are an important part of urban life. This article examines the appropriation of alleys as communal space to understand how sharing practices are embedded in localities, how communal space is constituted and maintained, and how this sustains communal life. In this way, the article aims to understand the spatial dimension of sharing practices, and the role of communal space in strengthening social relationship networks and urban sustainability. Seowon Maeul and Samdeok Maeul in Seoul are compared in terms of their urban regeneration approaches, community engagement in planning, street improvement, and the consequences that the transformation had on the appropriation of alleys as communal space. The research findings show that community engagement in planning is as important as the provision of public space if streets are to be appropriated as communal space. Community engagement has changed residents’ perception and use of alleys as a shared resource in the neighbourhood by improving their capacity to act collectively and collaborate with other stakeholders in addressing problems and opportunities in cities.

Source: doi.org/10.2148/benv.46.1.99

Urban change in East Asia: A comparison of civic participation in the residential neighbourhood improvement in South Korea and Singapore

With Cho Im Sik and Kim Su
Processes and Relations in East Asia, pp. 139-159
Andrej Bekeš, Jana S. Rošker, Zlatko Šabič (eds.)
University of Ljubljana Press | Ljubljana | 2019 | ISBN 978-961-06-0270-5

East AsiaDue to their successful social and economic development, South Korea and Singapore are known as two of the four Asian Tigers. In the past their industrialization and urbanization were steered by the developmental state, while civil society was largely excluded from decision making. Decades of rapid growth, however, have also contributed to social po- larization and degradation of the residential environment, which are among the major challenges for the cities in both countries. Over the last decade, civil society has become increasingly engaged in addressing these challenges along with the state. For this reason, it is important not only to know the degree of state involvement but also the relationship between the state and civil society if one is to understand the urban changes occurring in East Asia. State involvement and its evolving relationship with civil society are reflected in the provision and improvement of residential neighbourhoods. In this chapter, the authors compare civic participation in the context of residential neighbourhood improvement in South Korea and Singapore. The transformation of Samdeok Maeul in Seoul and Tampines in Singapore shows that the state has successfully involved the residents in the planning and management of neighbourhood improvement. At the same time, civic participation was strongly influenced by the state, which has negatively affected community building, as well as the sustainability of the neighbourhood improvement projects. Civic participation in the residential neighbourhood improvement in Seoul and Singapore in this sense reveals the opportunities, as well as challenges, related to more inclusive and sustainable neighbourhood management and urban governance in East Asia.

Source: doi.org/10.4312/9789610602699

Call for papers: Local transformations in urban Asia (CLOSED)

With Kim Su
Asian Studies, 9(1)
Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana | Ljubljana | 2021 | ISSN 2232-5131

The future of Asia seems to largely depend on the effective management of cities and metropolitan regions. Emerging approaches to urban governance in Asia, addressing social, economic and environmental challenges in a more sustainable way, are well acknowledged. Competition and global aspirations of cities in Asia are at the same time considered major drivers of their urban growth. Less attention, however, is placed on the consequences of urban growth on the everyday life in localities. These are not only passive recipients but also as active agents, capable of responding to competition and global aspirations of cities. Moreover, localities are relevant for their growing importance for inclusive urban governance, which aims to foster community development, collaborative economies, grassroots placemaking or expansion of local autonomy. The 2021 special issue of Asian Studies journal, therefore, aims to explore the diverse consequences of urban growth on the transformation of localities in urban Asia by addressing the following key questions:

● How does urban growth affect everyday life in localities across Asia?
● How do localities sustain or resist competition and global aspirations of cities in Asia?
● What is the importance of localities for building just and sustainable cities in Asia?

The special issue aims to bring together contributions from scholars in human geography, urban and regional planning, environmental management, landscape architecture, urban sociology and anthropology, cultural studies or political sciences, which can contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the local transformations in urban Asia. It aims to focus on residential neighbourhoods, traditional commercial areas and markets, streets and alleys or urban parks, for instance, to explore how everyday practices and shared identities, embedded in localities, affect and are affected by the urban change. These localities are seldom part of global financial centres, shopping malls or speculative mega projects but belong to multifaceted civic spaces, where diverse social groups can mingle and coexist.

Next from its focus on a comprehensive understanding of localities, the special issue also wants to engage with a locally informed understanding of the local transformations in urban Asia. Cities in Asia were often studied in relation to and based on the methodological tools and explanatory frameworks, borrowed from the Global North, without challenging their relevance for particular Asian urban contexts. This not only restricts the understanding of cities in Asia but also possibilities to challenge general urban theory. The special issue, therefore, aims to bring together contributions that critically address the local transformation in urban Asia while challenging established methodological tools within Asian urban contexts. Theoretical or empirical contributions are welcome from scholars, researchers, PhD students and other experts, particularly from those using a qualitative research approach.

Previously unpublished original contributions should be submitted online by July 1st, 2020 via the journal’s website. Additional information available here.

Deciding together: Citizen participation in planning the neighbourhood improvement in Seoul and Singapore

With Cho Im Sik and Kim Su
Asia Review, 8(2), pp. 62-102
Seoul National University Asia Center | Seoul | 2019 | ISSN 2234-0386

Cities in East Asia are faced with growing social, economic and environmental risks. National and local governments are, hence, looking for novel policies that could improve the long-term capacity of cities to address these risks more comprehensively and effectively. Citizen participation and neighbourhood improvement are both considered playing a key role in building more inclusive and sustainable cities. This article compares the transformation of Samdeok Maeul in Seoul and Tampines in Singapore to better understand the importance of citizen participation in planning the neighbourhood improvement, and its consequences on urban development in general. Both cases represent a similar shift from previous state-led towards participatory planning. The research follows a case-oriented qualitative approach. The authors conducted in-depth interviews with major stakeholders, participant observation, expert workshops, and review of secondary resources. The research findings suggest that in both cases the residents were able to affect neighbourhood improvement through community engagement in the planning process. At the same time, the research findings imply that the state remains largely in control over the process, which indicates the challenges that need to be considered in order to empower communities in Seoul and Singapore in the long run.

Source: doi.org/10.24987/SNUACAR.2019.02.8.2.65

Streets as spaces of community building: A case study of urban regeneration in Samdeok Maeul, Seoul

Asian Studies, 6(2), pp. 231-251
Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana | Ljubljana | 2018 | ISSN 2232-5131

Streets play rather diverse roles in the everyday lives of cities, which have changed considerably in recent decades. The South Korean capital of Seoul is no exception in this regard. Streets once used to be traditional centres of social and economic life, which thus affected the urban structure and identity of the city. The rapid growth of motorised traffic along with market-driven urban development gradually transformed the streets into traffic corridors, with a very limited role in reproducing and maintaining the communal life in localities. The Seoul Metropolitan Government and civil society, however, recently increased their efforts to improve walkability and recover streets as a part of public life in the city. The urban regeneration of Samdeok Maeul is an example of these efforts, where street renewal was carried out with of an aim of raising the quality of the living environment as well as enhancing community building. The case study of Samdeok Maeul can in this regard contribute to a better understanding of streets as spaces of community building as well as community-based urban regeneration, and the role of different stakeholders in it. The research results show that urban regeneration strengthened the communal importance of streets in Samdeok Maeul, which was mainly a result of civic participation in urban regeneration rather than the actual street renewal. Partnerships, which are in this way established between public institutions, civil society and residents, could lead towards socially more inclusive, just and sustainable urban development in Seoul and beyond.

Source: doi.org/10.4312/as.2018.6.2.231-251

Transformation of deprived urban areas and social sustainability: A comparative study of urban regeneration and urban redevelopment in Barcelona and Seoul

Urbani izziv, 29(1), pp. 30-41
Urban Planning institute of the Republic of Slovenia | Ljubljana | 2018 | ISSN 0353-6483

The transformation of deprived urban areas is important for strengthening social sustainability in particular localities, and it is also instrumental in attracting new investments to cities. Speculative urban development, however, often ignores the social importance of localities and considers them mere economic assets that can be stripped of historical, social, and symbolic meaning and turned into easily marketed commodities. This article examines the somewhat contradictory role of the transformation of deprived urban areas in cities. It compares Barcelona and Seoul, two cities with different historical, cultural, and institutional contexts. The 22@ Activity District in Poblenou and Wangsimni New Town are explored as case studies to understand how urban regeneration and urban redevelopment are embedded in a particular locality and what consequences they have on social sustainability. Although the two cases differ in terms of planning approach, stakeholders, and institutional contexts, the findings suggest that the consequences for social sustainability were similar in both. The article argues that declining social cohesion and a lack of citizen participation were a consequence of speculative urban development, in which urban regeneration and urban redevelopment were instrumentalized to attract investments, strengthen economic competitiveness, and improve the city’s global appeal rather than address diverse local challenges.

Source: 10.5379/urbani-izziv-2018-29-01-003