Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gangnam rule bended

A couple of years ago in Seoul, two thirds of rich dwellings (over 10 eok or KRW 1 bn) were located in Gangnam-gu. This proportion has now fallen below one fourth.

The main reason is the multiplication of new high end apartment complexes in other districts, and the relative deflation of the Gangnam property bubble. So long for the sometimes insane Gangnam exception.

But many rich Gangnamians (Gangnamites ?) have also migrated to other places, with a revival of Gangbuk and historically wealthy neighborhoods like Yongsan. The town house dream is drawing legions back to traditional residential areas, sometimes through expensive redevelopments (ie Seongbuk Gate Hills in Seongbuk-dong, Hannam The Hill in Hannam-dong...), more often through progressive gentrification.

More hype restaurants and selective retailers are opening or planned North of the river, and it's striking to see the young Korean elite roam East Itaewon-dong on week ends - more schizophrenic than ever, the neighborhood remains an international hub in its Western half -, with a Northern Garosu-gil under way. The cultural revolution started a few years ago with the Leeum, but as far as actual culture is concerned, Jongno-gu remains the bourgeois boheme mecca (ie Samcheong-dong, Seochon).

Seoul Village 2011

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