Infrastructures of Displacement: The Transpacific Travel of Urban Renewal during the Cold War

Authors: Sujin Eom*,
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Asia, Development
Keywords: cold war, urban renewal, infrastructure, city planning, poverty, security
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Marshall South, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


By examining South Korea’s urban renewal regime in the 1960s, this paper sheds light on hitherto underexplored transpacific connections in the history of urban renewal. The period in question is crucial in that both Washington and Seoul came to regard urban space as a means to maintain an anti-communist regional order, which prefigured major urban transformations in South Korea for the decades that followed. With a focus on the circulation of technologies of governing urban space through particular forms of urban renewal, this paper shows that urban renewal in the mid-twentieth century illuminates the function of three interrelated phenomena during the period: 1) the formation of the transpacific network of power and knowledge; 2) the establishment of legal, financial, and symbolic grounds on which the ideal of homeownership could operate; and 3) the transport of what I call infrastructures of displacement. In doing so, this paper suggests a way of looking at urban renewal in the mid- century as the geopolitical project of disseminating ideas, norms, and technologies of governing cities during the Cold War.

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