Reading urbanization in Seoul politico-ecologically

Authors: Jin-Tae Hwang*, Seoul National University
Topics: Political Geography, Environment, Asia
Keywords: developmental urbanization, uneven development, social nature, Seoul
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Gallier A, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


There has been recently increased attention to the East Asian developmental urbanization by more focusing on the urban scale than national scale. However, scaling down is unsuccessful to adequately capture the dynamics of urbanization in East Asian cities because the developmental urbanization debate still regards East Asian cities as the artifact of the national bureaucrat and national capital. In this presentation, several alternative perspectives are suggested to escape the territorially trapped East Asian developmental cities. Firstly, I ascertain that urbanization is multi-scaled processes beyond city’s administrative boundary. A case study reveals that development of Seoul, the capital city and growth pole of South Korea, has closely intertwined with underdevelopment of Gangwon Province after the completion of Soyang Dam in 1973. Secondly, urbanization should be seen as politico-ecological processes. The birth of Soyang Dam and Soyang watershed was the politico-ecological transforming local nature into state-nature for ensuring reliable electricity and water supply to Seoul in the name of “the Modernization of the Fatherland” while marginalizing the interest of people in Gangwon Province.

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