Seoul Campus

1. Seoul Experience on Slum Upgrading

Date 2017-09-25 Writer ssunha
  • Urban Planning
  • Prof. Name Myunggu Kang
  • 2017-09-25
Hello everyone. This week I will show you the history of slum upgrading in Seoul. This week we will find out what slum is, what slum upgrading means and go over some of the issues in slum upgrading.  And I will briefly show you Seoul’s experience of slum upgrading from the 1960’s through the 1980’s which is the period most of Seoul’s slum upgrading took place. And I will conclude with some remarks. So what is a slum? Usually we can identify a slum like in the picture. We can see some tenthouses made of scraps of iron plates and wood. You can tell just by looking that the living conditions are poor.

This is another slum area in the 1960’s. This picture actually is of a slum area in the Cheonggyecheon area. This picture shows us what a slum is. It has many issues such as poor living conditions, poor sanitation in an unclean environment. But we need a clearer definition of what a slum is. This is the typical definition of a slum defined by the UN-Habitat. These are five simple rules which define a slum is. A slum is a settlement made up of households that have one or more of the following five criteria.
The first is no access to drinking water. The second is no access to sanitation facilities like sewer or toilet systems. Thirdly, if there is an insufficient living area per person we can call it a slum. One of the rough way of measuring this is when more than three people are sharing a single room.
Fourth criteria is the poor structural quality and no durability of dwellings. Scraps of wood, iron plates and tents are not durable and is not strong enough to sustain a family. And last but not least is the no security of tenure. So these are the five criteria: No access to drinking water. No access to sanitation facilities
Insufficient living area. Poor structure.and no security of tenure. These are the simple rules to say whether an area is a slum or not. But if you look into it further, there are three dimensions of slums. One dimension is tenure. It is concerned with the legality of their occupation and how secure their residency is in the area.
The second dimension is land and infrastructure. It includes problems such as the lack of public space or parks, which cause poor living conditions. There are also problems with the infrastructure and the lack of pubic services. These include the lack of drinking water, sewer and waste management system, no electricity, gas or communication.
The third dimension of the slum is the structure of housing itself. These are legal issues such as the house being smaller than the legal minimum lot size, Housing quality being lower than the legal minimum standard and the lack of fire safety. These are the issues related to the housing. As you can see, these first two dimensions are related to the public domain. This means that the public, as a community, has to solve these problems.
The issues related to tenure and legal residency cannot be solved solely by a single resident. It is the same for issues concerning land and infrastructure. We need a collective action to solve these problems. But the issues related to housing may be solved by the resident.
I’ve reshuffled the three dimensions as follows. The tenure and social issues, which include ownership and occupancy rights. Urban land issues, which include public space, infrastructure and public service. And the house issue, which is concerned with the plot, structure and the quality of housing.
The first two issues are in the public domain. The city has to do something about these issues at its level while the issues regarding housing may be needed to be solved by the resident. Also, we can classify these dimensions into the physical and non-physical.
The tenure and social issues are non-physical issues and land, infrastructure and housing are issues where lots of physical work needs to be done.

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