ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on April 23rd, 2012 at 8:11 am

Shantytown In Seoul Fights Effort To Demolish It

Here is an interesting article about the Seoul city government’s effort to demolish and redevelop a shanty town area in Seoul:

Most mornings, when the slanted dawn light hits the nearby Tower Palace luxury high-rises, Cho Su-ja can’t help but stare, struck by their grandeur.

The 72-year-old grandmother lives in a two-room shack with plastic flooring, sandwiched between other shacks built from planks of wood, corrugated tin, castoff door frames and bamboo screens, like a jumble of shipwrecks.

But Cho doesn’t envy her wealthy neighbors, not one bit.

She’s proud to be one of the original inhabitants of Guyrong village, a ramshackle shantytown sprawling alongside the exclusive Gangnam area, the highest-priced real estate in South Korea.

And she’s fighting efforts by Seoul officials to bulldoze her community of 1,200 shacks and move her and 2,000 others into low-income apartments that will be part of a new mixed-use community to be built on the same site.

“I love it here, to get on my hands and knees and plant my flowers in the spring,” she said. “I open my door to the sweet smell of acacia flowers. This area may not look like much, but to me it’s heaven. And I’m not leaving it for any matchbox apartment.”

For decades, the village has been a catchall for South Korea’s down and out, a collection of outcasts who turned no one away. There are women whose husbands died suddenly, leaving them to raise their children alone; couples who lost jobs and businesses and had nowhere else to turn; men without work, homes or families because of alcohol or bad luck.  [Seattle Times]

You can read the rest at the link but the article does discuss the increasing income disparity between the wealthy and poor in Korea.

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  • Leon LaPorte
    3:10 pm on April 23rd, 2012 1

    There are no bullshit shanty towns in/near Houston too.


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