The paradox of public space in the korean metropolis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, presents a peculiar urban landscape to outsiders. It appears neither traditional, postcolonial nor modern seen from the canonical definitions and historical perspectives of Euro- American architecture. To say that it is eclectic and hybrid is perhaps an understatement. While it took Europe and North America over 150 years of urban and architectural transformation to arrive today at the modern Western city, this transformation has largely been compressed and thrust upon this 500-year-old Korean metropolis in a handful of decades. Kang Hong Bin, a former Vice Mayor of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, once noted that Seoul's public appearance is the by-product of the paradoxical combination of "too much planning" and "too little planning."1 An understanding of this statement and indeed of the state of public space in Korea requires a careful uncovering of the many layers of foundation upon which public space has been built. History, politics, economics and technology each have had their trowel in the mix.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFuture Asian Space
Subtitle of host publicationProjecting the Urban Space of New East Asia
PublisherNUS Press Pte Ltd
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9789971695965
StatePublished - 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'The paradox of public space in the korean metropolis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this