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.

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