Seoul / Gangnam : The City With Four Tools (1990-2000) 3-1 Historical Background

Gangnam-gu, the south of the Han River, is an administrative district in the south of the Han river, also an active zone of the cutting-edge industries, venture capital enterprises and international trade activities. The highest priced apartments and high garden houses are gathered here, the top rich area of South Korea. Gangnam District, about 40 square kilometers of the region’s most valuable land, with GDP similar to Busan the second largest city of South Korea. Coupled with adjacent Seocho, Songpa Gu, Gangnam area of land value is equivalent to 1/10 South Korea land gross. The house price in Gangnam is always the highest level in South Korea.

Gangnam, Southern districts of Seoul

Gangnam area is the result of the multiple factors of the political, economic, social transformation, North and South relations and the miracles of the Han River in the modernization of Korea. In the course of the development of the “Han River Miracle”, Seoul has attracted more than 25% of the population in South Korea, and the population is close to 50% of the whole country.

Current Skylines in Gangnam-gu

In 1966, when the first bridge was built to connect with South and North Districts together, Gangnam-gu was still a large area of farmland. At that time, South Korea was even poorer than North Korea. No one knew whether the North would attack southward. It was in this context that the Park Chung-Hee administration began to develop the Gangnam area. If geographical factors are considered, the south of the Han River is lower and more vulnerable to flood and waterlogging, and the cost of development is higher than that in the north of the river. But for South Korea, security was a top priority and more difficult task. The Han River, as a natural barrier, was obviously more valuable.

Hyundai Apartment in 1970 (Source from The Academy of Korean Studies)

Since the late 1960s, civil servants have become the first batch of people moving into Gangnam-gu. However, there were not many people who moved willingly, and it was not until 1972 when the Seoul municipal government had limited the construction of new buildings in the northern part of the city. Eentertainment and consumption became more convenient with more resources in Gangnam District, especially in Apgujeong, and Cheongdam dong. After 1970, each new bridge was built on the Han River at a speed of one year. At the same time, the government began to encourage educational institutions to move to the south of the Han River. A number of famous middle schools in the vicinity of Chong Wa Dae led the new migration, which led to a large number of Seoul citizens to come pursuing the quality of education. On the other hand, because of the development of heavy industry, the pollution of the old city was becoming more and more serious, and the air and the environment in the south are becoming more and more livable.

In order to prepare for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea launched a large-scale development in the south of the Han River, making the South region become the most prosperous business district and the most expensive residential area in South Korea. The population of Seoul reached 5.5 million. In this period, the move to the South became a spontaneous fashion for the residents of Seoul. Today, the people of Seoul still have the impression that Gangnam the south of the Han River is better than the north of the Han river.

 

REFERENCE

  1. Brücke Osteuropa, Gangnam (Southern district) of Seoul, Wikimedia, 2 October 2011. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:South_Seoul.jpg (accessed  December 12 2017).
  1. Jieheerah, Yun, Globalizing Seoul: The City’s Cultural and Urban Change, Planning, History and Environment Series, 1st Edition, Routledge, 2017.
  1. Korean Culture and Information Service, Facts about Korea. Seoul: Hollym International, 2013.
  1. Namsu Janga, and Sungil Hamb, A study on courtyard apartment types in South Korea from the 1960s to 1970s. Frontiers of Architectural Research, Volume 6, Issue 2, June 2017, Pages 149-156.
  1. Pai, Hyungmin, and Hejung, Choi Helen, Imminent Commons: Commoning Cities: Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. Seoul: Actar, 2017.

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