A Comparative Study of Suburbanization in the United States and Korea: A Case Study of Cheongnyang-ri District of Seoul

Authors: Seulki Yu*, Seoul National University, Kyung-min Kim, Seoul National University, Boram Lee, Seoul National University
Topics: Historical Geography, Asia
Keywords: suburbanization, the early of 20th century, Korea, U.S.
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Cheongnyang-ri, once was the last stop of Korea’s first trolley route, was a suburb outside of Hanyang Wall (known as the Seoul Fortress Wall). With the introduction of trolley in 1898, the suburbs Cheongnyang-ri had experienced population growth and changed significantly. Increase in urban transportation uses, including trolleys, is considered as the key drivers of suburbanization. As commercial, educational and public institutions were placed gradually, land use had changed eventually – agricultural land and forestland had been developed into urban areas for new buildings. Suburb Cheongnyang-ri had begun providing economic function of the city center, and was newly incorporated into Gyeongseong (now called Seoul) in 1936. In 1940, Cheongnyang-ri held Joseon International EXPO. This process of urbanization of the suburbs seems similar to that of the U.S. While population was dramatically concentrated in the city center, trolley bridged the city center and the suburbs, promoting suburbanization. Besides, the government had built service facilities for convenience of living in the suburbs. As a result, new towns were shaped in the suburbs as transit commuters created residential neighborhoods. In other words, transportation was one of the most important factors causing suburbanization of the 19th century of U.S. and in the early of 20th century of Korea. This study is meaningful to compare the suburbanization process of Cheongnyang-ri with the American suburbanization process and explain that the period of suburbanization in Korea was in the early 20th century, not in the 1970’s, as previously researches argued.

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