Accepted paper:

Architecture and ethics in Dongdaemun Market , Seoul


Raymond Lucas (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

This paper considers the morality felt to underly architecture and urban design interventions in central Seoul. The city's markets can be described as resisting the gentrification intended by the city government with the rendering of spaces as 'sacred' rather than usable.

Paper long abstract:

There is often an inherent virtue ascribed to resisting gentrification, understood in urbanism and architectural debates as a form of commodification which operates to move working class communities out of an area through financial instruments such as property and rental cost increases - the gradual moving in of a wealthier population seen as a success story by the city authorities - instead of real improvements for the population who were already there. Is it unethical for architects to intervene here? This paper shall consider the most recent substantial interventions, the Cheonggyecheon Restoration, which removed a large elevated expressway, replacing it with a 5km linear park arranged around a stream and managed wetland environment; and Dongdaemun Design plaza by 'star architect' Zaha Hadid, a scheme an unspecified and uncertain purpose which replaced an old baseball stadium used as a Flea Market and finally the Namdaemun Gate & City Hall redevelopments, key symbols of Korean nationalism against Japanese colonial history. Anthropologies drawn from the works of James Gibson shall form one aspect of this discussion, not the regularly theorised notion of affordances so frequently cited in design, but the idea of surfaces, medium, and substances recently identified by Ingold as a crucial reinterpretation of conventional ideas of space and place. Is the proliferation of surfaces available for occupation behind the success of Cheonggyecheon and the paucity of and undifferentiated nature of the continuously unfurling surface behind the failure of DDP?

panel P70
Virtue in the marketplace