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Conceptualizing Underneath Developmental Urbanization in East Asia

Authors: JUNSOO KIM*, Seoul National University
Topics: Anthropocene, Asia, Urban Geography
Keywords: underground, planetary urbanization, developmental urbanization, East Asia developmental state, infrastructure, Anthropocene
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Facing a new geological echo of ‘Anthropocene’ brings new attention to the urban spaces. In the context of East Asia, there has been discoursed with variegated urbanization process. Developmental urbanization, for example, tried to explain the urbanization process in the East Asia context. It has three major figures, first is ‘time-space compression’ which rapid urbanization experience bring the speculative urbanism. Second is the ‘production of riskscape’ which compressive urbanization process needed to mobilize massive energies and resources to maintain the process. To do so, East Asian developmental state employed and produced the uneven risk assemblages of infrastructures which also involved with recent planetary urbanization discusses. Third is the production of exceptional spaces which likes apartment complex and exclusive industrial zone to make accelerate the developmental strategies. Existing discussions of East Asia developmental urbanization, however, focusing on the surface of urban space. So in this paper, I will focus on the verticality of urban spaces especially on the underground infrastructures of urban space. In the process of developmental urbanization, the underground also experienced massive modifications. To find out the major characteristics of the underground urban situation, I will try to conceptualize ‘Underneath Developmental Urbanization (UDU)’ which has four figures. 1) high density and compacted assembled underground infrastructures 2) un-planned assemblage of infrastructures 3) invisible assembled 4) catastrophic encounters. To conceptualize UDU in East Asia I will introduce variegated examples like hot water pipelines and suburban gas transport lines with existing concepts of planetary urbanization in the context of East Asia.

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