Re-emerging Civic Urbanism: The Evolving State–Civil Society Relations in Community Building in Seoul

With Su Kim
Emerging Civic Urbanisms in Asia: Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, and Taipei beyond Developmental Urbanization, pp. 196-94
Im Sik, Cho, Blaž Križnik, Jeffrey Hou (eds.)
Amsterdam University Press | Amsterdam | 2022 | ISBN 9789463728546

State and markets drove urban development in South Korea for decades, giving little voice to citizens. Recently, citizens have become increasingly engaged in shaping their living environment. While the enabling role of the state in expanding citizen participation is well acknowledged, the importance of community movements has been overlooked. The chapter explores community movements in Seoul and their relations with the state to better understand their contribution to the recent surge of civic urbanism in the city. Comparison of neighbourhood community building in Seoul shows that civic urbanism, while marginalized in the past, has re-emerged as an integral part of urban governance. The chapter also suggests that the growing institutionalization of civic urbanism can weaken its transformative potential to build inclusive and resilient neighbourhoods and cities.

Source: doi.org/10.5117/9789463728546.

Beyond Construction Site, beyond informality?

With Aidan Cerar
Beyond small gardens: Beyond Construction Site community garden, pp. 72-79
Urška Jurman, Polonca Lovšin (eds.)
KUD Obrat | Ljubljana | 2021 | ISBN 978-961-95545-0-0

Beyond Construction Site community garden has been active for more that a decade. Located in Ljubljana city centre, it is well known to the public. As a successful case of urban gardening, food supply, community building and temporary land-use management, it has attracted considerable media coverage and experts’ attention. Less attention, however, has been placed on its importance for citizen participation in the city. The article discusses Beyond Construction Site community graden as a case of community building and citizen participation that can help building partnerships between residents, neighbourhood communities, civil society organisations and city government, and in consequence contribute to democratic neighbourhood management and sustainable urban development in Ljubljana. The article argues that the City of Ljubljana has so far failed to take this opportunity and expand citizen participation beyond Beyond Construction Site to urban gardening and community practices in the city.

Emerging Civic Urbanisms in Asia: Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, and Taipei beyond Developmental Urbanization

Featured

With Cho Im Sik and Jeffrey Hou (eds.)
Amsterdam University Press | Amsterdam | 2022 | ISBN 9789463728546

Emerging Civic Urbanisms in AsiaIn parts of Asia, citizens are increasingly involved in shaping their neighbourhoods and cities, representing a significant departure from earlier state-led or market-driven urban development. These emerging civic urbanisms are a result of an evolving relationship between the state and civil society. The contributions in this volume provide critical insights into how the changing state–civil society relationship affects the recent surge of civic urbanism in Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, and Taipei, and the authors present eighteen cases of grassroots activism and resistance, collaboration and placemaking, neighbourhood community building, and self-organization and commoning in these cities. Exploring how citizen participation and state–civil society partnerships contribute to more resilient and participatory neighbourhoods and cities, the authors use the concept of civic urbanisms not only as a conceptual framework to understand the ongoing social and urban change but as an aspirational model of urban governance for cities in Asia and beyond.

Source: doi.org/10.5117/9789463728546.

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.

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.