Seoul/ Developing Gangnam With Four Tools(-1990): 3-1 Education

Seoul/ Developing Gangnam With Four Tools(-1990): 3-1 Education
Figure 2 Kyung Hyang Newspaper published on 1978.12.06

South Korea is well-known for its high standard education and intense competition for university entry, and the Gangnam district is considered the country’s capital of education. While its population only makes up 1% of the whole country, in 2010, roughly 6% of the successful candidate of Seoul National University came from this district. (Park, 2013) With the concentration of the most prestigious high schools and private education institutions, Gangnam district became the most expensive and attractive district to live in South Korea. But it is not until the 1970s has the district started to be developed and occupied.

 

Figure 1 High School moved from Gangbuk to Gangnam

After Japanese occupation (1910-1945) and the Korean War (1950-1953), many people abroad returned to Korea, settling in Seoul other than their hometowns. In 1966 to 1977 the population growth rate peaked at 59.2%. By 1985, Seoul had 23.8% of the total population and became a giant metropolis. (Han Un , Jae Seob 2002) Started by the 1970s the city government has implemented various decentralization policies in responding to the overcrowded city. The development of the Gangnam area, the southern side of Han river, became a crucial way to expand the original city that has been of similar size for over 600 years.

 

 

Educational infrastructures were used as a stimulus to decenter the population of Gangbuk. Underlined the modernization process of the Korean society embeds the traditional Confucian belief that good education leads to the rise in social status and bright future. The almost religious belief in education led to the successful creation of a new center. To discourage the concentration in Gangbuk area, the government implemented the prohibition on the renovation and establishment of schools in the Gangbuk region (1974) and inducements for the relocation of preparatory schools located within the four main gates of Seoul outside the gates and to Gangnam (1976). In 1976, the government targeted at the educational infrastructures, the prestigious high schools located in the old city center were relocated to the Gangnam area. Starting with Gyeonggi High School, one of the first high schools of Seoul, eight high schools, were moved to today’s Gangnam district. In the 1980s a total of 15 high schools were moved, creating the famous “Eight school districts”.  (Soo, 2016)

 

Figure 2 Kyung Hyang Newspaper published on 1978.12.06

Not only were the public education institutions targeted, but private institutions were also involved. According to the Kyung Hyang Newspaper published on the sixth of December 1978, following up with the Private Institution Movement Plan, private institutions situated at the center of Seoul (Jong-ro, Gwanghwamun area) are planned to move to outskirts of Gangbuk and Gangnam area till January of next year. Among 39 institutions, nine moved to Gangnam district. According to the previous plan, Seoul Education Board banned the building of new private institutions in Gangbuk area and conducted strict methods to force private institutions to move to the outskirt of Seoul.

  With the movement of the private and public education institutions to Gangnam, accompanied with the apartment development plan proposed in the same year 1976 and government’s promotion in moving the upper-class population of Gangnam. South Korea’s passionate pursuit of good education has fueled the continued migration to Gangnam ever since. (Kang, 2015)

Figure 3 1976.8.15 Proposed Area for Apartment Development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Cho, Y. & Yoon, H., 2012. HIGHER EDUCATION AND SOCIAL MOBILITY IN KOREA, “University-Based Meritocracy” and Duality of Higher Education Effect”, Salzburg, Austria: Salzburg Global Seminar.

Han Un , R. & Jae Seob, A., 2002. Urbanization and Its Impact on Seoul, Korea, Taipei: Chung-hua Institution for Economic Research.

Jang, S. & Yi, C., 2015. An Estimation of the Spatial Development Patterns based on the Characteristic City Indicators – The Case of Gangnam District -. [Online]
Available at: http://ocean.kisti.re.kr/downfile/volume/gisak/joshbw/2015/v23n3/joshbw_2015_v23n3_23.pdf
[Accessed 13 12 2017].

Kang, M. G., 2015. Development of Gangnam. [Online]
Available at: https://www.seoulsolution.kr/en/node/3445
[Accessed 21 12 2017].

Lee, J.-K., 2001. Korean Experience and Achievement in Higher Education, Seoul, South Korea: Education Research Institute, Seoul National University.

Park, M., 2013. The Encyclopedia of Gangnam-gu. [Online]
Available at: http://e-gangnam.grandculture.net/Contents?local=e-gangnam&dataType=99&contents_id=EC04800017
[Accessed 14 12 2017].

Park, M., n.d. The Encyclopedia of Gangnam-gu. [Online]
Available at: http://e-gangnam.grandculture.net/Contents?local=e-gangnam&dataType=01&contents_id=EC04801557
[Accessed 13 12 2017].

Soo, G. S., 2016. 강남 ‘8학군’뭐길래?오제연 교수, 강남 ‘8학군’탄생을 추적하다. [Online]
Available at: http://www.bookpot.net/news/articleView.html?idxno=273
[Accessed 14 12 2017].

 

4 Comments on “Seoul/ Developing Gangnam With Four Tools(-1990): 3-1 Education

  1. I really didn’t expect that education plays such an important role in the development of Gangnam District, especially in such an early decade and such an early stage of a district. Actually, education does effect Chinese cities of the while, a lot. Took my high school as an example, it is located in the originally remote suburb area, however more and more residential buildings emerged around the school.I rent and lived in one of the houses indeed. Let along the snack street boom. This is the case for most of the mainland high schools and universities.
    However compared with the story of the Gangnam district, the change I witnessed is decades later, and not characterized by the gathering of the upper class.
    Besides, I would like to know about transportation in your case, which is factor largely related to the transition, and how much the infrastructure would influence the functional core of a city.

  2. Taking the advantage of the social and cultural belief of Koreans, the use of educational infrastructure as the pulling force to decentralize the population is cutting edge. In fact, the use of architecture and social means as a urban strategy can also be identified in Hong Kong. The strategy is mainly taken in the form of transportation and infrastructural development.
    The development of new towns in Hong Kong was implemented in response to the need of decentralizing population in the dense urban regions. Yet, merely opening up of places in New Territories will not attract population to relocate into these remote places. Thus, the development of transportation network like the MTR stations came in a parallel with the establishment of new towns. With shortened commuting time, population was attracted to settle in these places while maintaining their work location in the urban areas.
    The economic development of the Pearl River Delta is also another example on how to decentralize and even expand business to the periphery of Hong Kong. Given the saturation of business development in Hong Kong, pulling forces like the building of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge gradually attracted more local business to settle on the edge of Hong Kong or even in the mainland territory. This does not only provide local business a cheaper alternative to set up their companies, but also allow cities like Shenzhen and Qianhai to develop into new economic hubs.
    Thus, decentralizing and expanding territories came in handy with urban strategies that include infrastructural and transportation networks as pulling forces to attract communities.

  3. Education is indeed the strongest tool to reshape any places. Having read the Taiwan blog post, I have also come to a realisation that education can also be a weapon to colonise a country with different cultures. In the realm of urban environment and architecture, it is no exception. One would inherit a new type of cultural behaviour in space with the ‘wrong’ book. In the context of this text, the urge to be educated becomes the tool not to reform the culture, but to reform the geographic development of cities within the country. Looking beyond the cultural and infrastructural implication of education, I believe that it could also serve as a political medium to bridge between countries, allowing the human to excel in all aspects as one globalised unit.

  4. Education is an important soft power to strengthen the district, city and country. Decentralized the location of the school and moved to other district provide a better environment and equality to the student over Seoul. Following with the rapid growth of population in Seoul, provide enough school for education is also an important move in a city. The government decided to decenter the area to solve the crowd populatino condition. GOing to School is one of our daily life, just like going to work. Therefore, I am totally agree moving the location of schools into different area around the district can do the effect of decentral the population in Seoul.

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