During that lovely Chuseok break in Chungcheongnam-do, we crossed a 'silver neighborhood'. I'd never seen the sign, but the very existence of the label tells a lot. That non-descript suburb felt neither like the kind of ghost towns you see in rural areas, nor like a retirement community, but like a city where people under 70 happen to be absent. At least, in the countryside, you could notice younger generations visiting their gramps for the holidays to help them at what was left of their farms:
|Many families farming for Chuseok in Korea countryside: young guns visiting old timers who can barely walk (20160915 - twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/776275471017218048)|
Yet nowhere is the real estate oversupply more evident than in the capital region: Sudogwon is overshooting by 34.6% with 226,000 apartments too many by 2019, or 46.8% of the nationwide excess*. Significantly, SH changed its name from Seoul Housing Corporation to Seoul Housing and Communities Corporation, confirming a shift from constructing to animating:
|SH (Seoul Housing) to be rebranded 서울주택도시공사 from Sept. 1, as focus shifts to urban regeneration (20160830 - twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/770514127366127616)|
|As expected, Yongin among the losers in Korea's real estate oversupply (20160829 - twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/770110604992536577) - "After building boom, South Korea girds for housing glut" (Reuters)|
At the same time, and as usual, key demographics are protected by local authorities. The only way to help Apgujeong elites sell their overly expensive flats with a profit is to make exceptions to construction rules (e.g. allow very high rise redevelopments and / or reduce the land to be offered for public use), and that's exactly the gifts Seoul mayors made. Both OH Se-hoon and PARK Won-soon, in spite of their pledges to rebalance Seoul's rich and poor neighborhoods, and to stop this urban nonsense...
|Seoul mayors Oh and Park both secured Apgujeong elite votes - "Apgujeong real estate hot once again" KJD (20160723 - twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/756651911223259136)|
|Blue sky over Seoul Square and yes, Seoul Station 7017 #ss7017 #seoul (20160827 - twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/769446349276262400)|
|Seoul's first 'bulldozer mayor' Kim Hyeon-ok (previously Busan mayor) resigned after the collapse of the Changjeon-dong apt (20160810 - twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/763295834112831488)|
Following Pil-dong's Yesultong festival in May, Jung-gu was definitely an underlying theme for me this Summer. And I enjoyed walking through what was left of KIM Ki-chan's Jungnim-dong with fellow urbanist Valerie Gelezeau, finishing in Yeomcheon Bridge's shoe alley.
|I love this house in Jungnim-dong. Too bad it is bound for destruction (20160720 - twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/755704708577103872)|
Speaking of KIM Ki-chan: I learned only last month that two great Seoul photographers had passed away in May: HONG Soon-tai and KIM Han-yong (who donated his collections to the Seoul Museum of History in 2013, leading to a nice exhibition soon afterwards).
|Cheonggyecheon alleyways, Seoul 1971. Sad to learn that Hong Soon-tai passed away this year (20160820 - twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/766890115922735104)|
|... and so did Kim Han-yong. Here, Daeheung-dong alleyways, Mapo-gu, Seoul (20160820 - twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/766892185912389632)|
Sorry for the tone of this post, but such is predictable Seoul: death, taxes, and 'budongsan'...
We've reached the point when seeing a few old trees spared makes our day. So bravo to Seongbuk-dong residents for stopping the massacre halfway along Seongbuk-ro:
|Seongbuk-dong residents protest the removal of old platanus trees along Seongbuk-ro, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul (20160816 - twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/765452146443558912)|
I couldn't finish these moody lines about vanishing neighborhoods without yet another Gyonam-dong update. As I explained recently to students surveying the area, this was not my favorite Seoul village, and not even a full village at that, but Gyonam-dong didn't deserve that death. And this shouldn't have happened in 2014 Seoul.
I will spare you the heavy slides, and just post one picture and two videos.
The picture is from a tweet (like most illustrations in this piece) about the end of the 'Sinmunno Triangle' between Pyeong-dong and Gyeonghuigung:
|The curtain falls for Pyeong-dong, where Seoul dumped its urban recreation museum project - Gyonam-dong (20160810 - twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/763340100361039872)|
The second video is a view from the new staircase built at the top of the new town. You can only see a tiny bit of Seodaemun across Tongil-ro, and of Inwangsan in the distance:
Seoul Village 2016
Welcome to our Korean Errlines! Follow Seoul Village on Facebook and Twitter
Add this page to your favorites
* see this tweet related to "Real estate market braces for oversupply" (KJD 20160815)
** after LEE Jung-seob at MMCA Deoksugung of course!
|Captivating Lee Jung-seob exhibition in MMCA Deoksugung, Seoul (20160806 - twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/761763045584404480)|