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Property-based redevelopment and gentrification: the case of Seoul, South Korea

Shin, Hyun Bang ORCID: 0000-0002-1103-9221 (2009) Property-based redevelopment and gentrification: the case of Seoul, South Korea. Geoforum, 40 (5). pp. 906-917. ISSN 0016-7185 (Submitted)

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2009.06.009


The urban experiences of South Korea in times of its rapid urbanisation and economic growth show that wholesale redevelopment had been a dominant approach to urban renewal, leading to redevelopment-induced gentrification. This was led by a programme known as the Joint Redevelopment Programme, transforming urban space that was once dominated by informal settlements into high-rise commercial housing estates. This paper tries to explain how this approach was possible at city-wide scale in its capital city, Seoul. Through the examination of redevelopment processes in a case study neighbourhood, it puts forward three arguments. First, the development potential arising from the rent gap expansion through under-utilisation of dilapidated neighbourhoods provided material conditions for the sustained implementation of property-based redevelopment projects. Second, this paper critically examines the dynamics of socio-political relations among various property-based interests embedded in redevelopment neighbourhoods, and argues that external property-based interests have enabled the full exploitation of development opportunities at the expense of poor owner-occupiers and tenants. Third, South Korea had been noted for its strong developmental state with minimum attention to redistributive social policies. The Joint Redevelopment Programme in Seoul was effectively a market-oriented, profit-led renewal approach, in line with a national housing strategy that favoured increased housing production and home-ownership at the expense of local poor residents’ housing needs.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2009 Elsevier
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2009 10:17
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2024 20:06

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