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Le modèle de régénération urbaine de Séoul

Date 2017-07-05 Category Planification urbaine Updater ssunha
Mintaek Oh
Residential Redevelopment Division
Last Update

Background: Challenges & Objectives

From 1950 to the early 2000s, Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea, experienced industrialization and rapid growth, which led to a rapid increase of the population and the expansion of the city. During this time, real estate became a means of quickly amassing wealth and property, giving rise to reckless housing improvement projects, such as redevelopment and reconstruction involving complete demolitions of older areas. The side effects were value placed on property rather than people, loss of local characteristics due to the destruction of communities, and reckless damage to the natural landscape. While profits from the developments were returned to developers and speculative investors, the socially vulnerable and destitute, unable to pay the high prices for new apartments and bear the additional burden of development, were driven out of their homes to the outskirts of the city, where they encountered a lower quality of life and housing.

Meanwhile, household debts increased due to real estate speculation, which in turn led to a decrease in consumption and a vicious economic cycle. The rise in property values and rental prices due to the development of whole regions also caused other social problems, such as gentrification.

“Gentrification” refers to a situation in which old residential or commercial areas occupied by lower-income families are renovated to suit middle-class families wanting to move in, leading to an increase in rent and the displacement of original residents by others with a higher income. There are positive effects of this phenomenon, such as the vitalization and improvement of local communities. However, some of the negative effects include the forced displacement of original residents due to the influx of people from different regions, which results in the reduction of the diversity and sustainability of communities and weakening of the competitiveness of the city. Therefore, establishing and implementing measures to counter these negative impacts have become a key challenge in the process of carrying out urban regeneration projects.

Actions & Implementation

To overcome the negative side effects of the past approach of demolishing older buildings to construct apartment complexes, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) sought an alternative approach beginning in the early 2010s. It established an Urban Regeneration Headquarters that has since been working hard on systematic measures for transforming Seoul into a people-centered city.

The government focused on developing an urban regeneration model for comprehensive, sustainable housing that is based on the active participation of residents and their self-sufficiency. The approach maintains existing communities and settlement environments, strengthens communities, and establishes a self-sufficient basis for a local economy for residents. In addition, it involves “preventive measures against forced demolition” to protect the socially vulnerable and poor.

Through the establishment of a cooperative system among the government, civil organizations, and schools, as well as MOUs signed by the SMG with universities and civil organizations in the urban regeneration areas, urban regeneration projects could go ahead with reduced gentrification and other side effects of development.

With a regeneration initiative that involves citizens, the SMG could combine the unique historical, cultural, and social assets of different regions and enhance the level of communities’ vitality and pursuit of happiness through the “rediscovery of forgotten values.”

Description :Before Renewing Changsin-dong
Source: SMG

Description : The processes of residential participation
Source: SMG
Description : After regenerating Changsin-dong
Source: SMG

In sum, this initiative has helped create a foundation for sustainable communities by stabilizing the housing environment for the socially vulnerable, making sure to preserve assets with historical, cultural, and social value, and enhancing communities by improving the environment.

Results & Evaluation

With the transformation of the city’s development paradigm into the community regeneration initiative, it became possible to protect the housing of the socially vulnerable and lay the foundation for sustainable communities.

Description: Residential Network Party
Source: SMG

Among the 683 areas across Seoul that were expected to be redeveloped and reconstructed, 328 became regeneration projects focusing on the preservation of local values and landscapes. (These areas include the Changsin and Sungin-dong apparel industry village, the Ihwa and Chungsin-dong Seoul City Wall mural village, and the Haengchon-dong fortress village urban farming project.)

Description:  Design award of the five streets in the Haengchon-dong
Source: SMG

Previous redevelopment and reconstruction projects offered little protection for the socially vulnerable and their right to housing, as forced demolition was legally allowed if over 75 percent of residents agreed to it. For the first time in Korea, however, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) adopted strong and “comprehensive preventive measures against forced demolition” to systematically provide a social safety net that protected the housing rights of the socially vulnerable (such as residents of the Muak-dong Okbaraji History and Culture Street).

For eight housing regeneration revitalization areas as well as 22 neighborhoods in 9 regions, the SMG provided support for regeneration projects tailored to the characteristics of the areas and to establish neighborhood enterprises for economic self-sufficiency. The SMG also supported a joint exhibition and sales of representative products from 53 enterprises in 24 regeneration areas. Through implementing housing regeneration initiatives tailored to each area, it was possible to lay the foundation for sustainable and economically self-sufficient communities while preserving the historical and cultural assets of all of the areas.

Expectancy effects & Need for Improvement

For the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s (SMG’s) urban regeneration initiative, a systematic 10-year plan titled “2025 Urban Regeneration Strategy” was created in the course of a year (from March 2015 to December 2015). In addition, a mid- to short-term plan titled “Urban Regeneration revitalization Plan” was established for 13 areas in Seoul as part of the master plan for the sustainable urban regeneration initiative.

In the implementation stage, over 50 civilian experts selected as “conflict mediation coordinators” were first sent to conflict-ridden development areas. They monitored the areas over 500 times throughout the year to provide customized solutions and decisions on progress. Moreover, alternative projects were sought with a focus on preserving regional values, including the communities, cultural assets, and natural landscapes.

In addition, urban regeneration support centers were established in eight housing regeneration areas in Seoul (Changsin and Sungin, Haebangchon, Garibong, Sinchon, Seongsu, Jangwi, Sangdo, and Amsa-dong) to facilitate communications among the administration, local residents, and stakeholders. Master planners and activists were dispatched to onsite centers to actively support the implementation of the urban regeneration initiative.

The SMG also bought and renovated anchor facilities for the regeneration revitalization areas for use as bases for the local residents’ economic, cultural, and social activities free of charge. The SMG provided support for the residents’ economic self-sufficiency in operating the facilities and laid the foundation for sustainable and self-sufficient communities.

Nineteen areas received support for implementing resident-led initiatives involving meetings with about 1,600 residents. There were 140 education and training classes a year given to over 3,000 residents to strengthen the capacity of residents in regeneration areas. Educational and training programs to discover and foster “regeneration activists” produced over 120 regeneration activists a year, who were dispatched as mentors to assist residents in regeneration areas.

To establish a sustainable and self-sufficient economic basis, the SMG also provided consulting for the development of products that were representative of regional characteristics. Through these efforts, 53 neighborhood enterprises and cooperative associations in 23 areas received support, such as joint marketing events to promote their products, as a way of laying a foundation for residents’ self-sufficient economy.

Moreover, the SMG developed a comprehensive diagnosis and monitoring system for regeneration projects and enhanced their implementation through systematic management, comprehensive evaluation, and feedback. For the successful implementation of the regeneration projects, the SMG’s Urban Regeneration Headquarters invested KRW 195 billion in 2016 in projects and has plans to invest about KRW 231 billion this year as well.

Department / Contact

  • Global Urban Partnership Division, Seoul Metropolitan Government   /  02-2133-5272  /

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