Lecture on perils of Seoul’s urban development

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jul 1, 2015 - 18:42
  • Updated : Jul 1, 2015 - 19:16

The Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch will host a lecture on Tuesday by urban explorer Jon Dunbar on Seoul’s fast-paced urban development.

The lecture will focus on unfair evictions, resistance movements and issues of design and preservation. Dunbar finds fault with the standardization of design prevalent in Seoul’s construction business, and the way in which high-rises diminish community atmosphere.

“Companies know this one way of building buildings; they seem to like doing it. People move into them because they are a symbol of prosperity,” he said. “What we lose, then, is communities.”

However, Dunbar sees the potential for a positive future for Seoul’s development, if current patterns continue.

“Over the time we’ve had Mayor Park Won-soon in power, it seems like the speed of urban renewal has settled down. Mayor Park’s aversion to unnecessary redevelopment has definitely resulted in fewer evictions, though it is still ongoing. ... Seoul’s population has stopped growing and is now shrinking. This could be an opportunity for a world-class city to finally develop a world-class standard of living.”

The lecture will run from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the Residents’ Lounge in Somerset Palace. Royal Asiatic Society lectures are free for members and 7,000 won for nonmembers.

By Louisa Studman, Intern reporter (