Seoul / Gangnam : The City With Four Tools (1990-2000) 3-4 The K-POP Theme Street in Gangnam Seoul Encounters Difficulties

Psy’s Gangnam Style has big influence upon the city planners in Seoul. Seoul and Gangnam District released the original “life Circle” plan in 2014 to take advantage of artist management companies to create K-POP theme street in Apgujeong and Cheongdam Dong area in Gangnam District. But this “life plan” suffered hardships with big companies’ opposition and relocation of JYP Entertainment Company. Only one month after the plan was released, JYP entertainment company, one of the three major entertainment companies in Korea, decided to move the company from the Cheongdam Dong in the Gangnam District to nearby district.

The “life circle plan” is a follow-up plan of the 2030 Seoul Plan released in 2014. It is also the basic data of Seoul’s urban plan, including the specific development plan based on the 5 circles of Seoul and 116 districts. Seoul released the new “life circle plan” in May of this year, and said that the plan passed more than 200 consultations with the autonomous region, more than 180 experts’ meetings and more than 230 regional residents’ discussions. According to Seoul city mayor Park Won Soon, the life circle plan has integrated the daily life of the citizens, and will become the life guidance. However, there are criticisms that some of the district government’s “life circle plans” have failed to reflect the present situation in time.

The life circle of Gangnam district plan is supposed to bring together SM, JYP, CUBE entertainment, and many other artists agency Apgujeong, Cheongdam Dong into fashion, beauty tourism stronghold, and expand the K-POP Korean theme facilities. Not only that, also plans to connect the Cheongdam station and East Avenue, building K-POP theme street. In fact, many Korean tourists do come to see stars day and night to the JYP building in Cheongdam, which is also called the “K-POP Holy Land”.

However, JYP entertainment recently spent about 20.2 billion won (about 20 million USD) to buy the Eastern River District ground 10 storey building, and is ready to shift the site. In 2014, the chairman of the SK group, Chey Tae-Won’s sister, SK sharing consortium President Chey Tae-Won bought JYP’s Cheongdam headquarter building, and JYP entertainment company has been in a state of lease. As the lease is due to expire, JYP decides to readdress the company. The JYP entertainment company plans to solve the parking problem through the new location and integrate the rental office into the office building to improve the efficiency of the company.

It is also pointed out that the preparation of the “life circle plan” of the city of Seoul and Gangnam the south of the Han River is all on paper. Another CUBE entertainment company in Gangnam District also plans to move the company near the Holy Water station in the eastern part of the city, which is also reflected in the plan. In addition, Mapo district originally planned to attract JYP entertainment company to strengthen the entertainment function of the DMC in Mapo District, but it now seems to have all become empty talk. Although the JYP has taken into account, it has failed to pass the harsh threshold. The “life circle plan” of Seoul will be negotiated through the relevant departments of Ministry of Land and Communications, and it will be finalized by the South Korean Urban Planning Commission.



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  1. Mark James Russell, K-POP Now! : The Korean Music Revolution. Seoul: Tuttle Publishing, 2014.
  1. Pai, Hyungmin, and Hejung, Choi Helen, Imminent Commons: Commoning Cities: Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. Seoul: Actar, 2017.
  1. Steven Borowiec, Gangnam-styled: street traders face eviction in K-pop themed face lift, the Guardian, 2014.
  1. Viator, Experiencing K-Pop in Seoul, November 2017.

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