Seoul and South Korea on the global stage

Urban Studies Volume 37:  Global Cities and  Developmental States: New York, Tokyo and Seoul

The article compares New York City, which claimed international recognition as a world city in the world’s most “developed” country, and Tokyo which is Asia’s world city in a “developed” Asian city – while Seoul is recognized functioning like one as well but in a “developing” country in Asia. The article recognizes how Seoul is able to succeed next to Tokyo and even surpasses New York City in poverty, homelessness, transportation, and social welfare. The utmost prevention for Seoul to gain as much international acceptance is the status of the country, followed by politics and financial interests. Therefore, Seoul can never be a “world city”, it is built upon layers of complicated history and collective effort to establish its national symbolic image – something that New York never had either.

World Cities and Nation States: Chapter 5

Seoul is taken from a global perspective and is analyzed on how their government relationships between the city and the country learn to promote Seoul as Asia’s best metropolitan city, from finances to the rise of technology companies. It gives view to the struggles and challenges Seoul had faced with the central government and how they were resolved while the country’s secondary and tertiary cities continue to struggle, their status as a “city” in the country was not enough to gain the same support and enthusiasm as a capital “metropolis” did. The chapter also explains why such a successful and flourishing metropolis exists in a country with an international status of “developing country” as it continues to compete and surpass the neighbouring competitor Tokyo.


Child Hill, Richard, and June Woo Kim. “Global Cities and Developmental States: New York, Tokyo and Seoul.” Urban Studies 37, no. 12 (2000): 2167-195.

Clark, Greg, and Moonen, Tim. “Seoul.” In World Cities and Nation States, 68-80. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, 2017.

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