SEOUL — The pandemic has suspended our on a regular basis life, giving us an opportunity to consider how we live.
The affect of COVID-19 has permeated in our residential setting extra over within the city setting. South Korea has seen speedy improvement for the reason that Nineteen Sixties, however this has led to a monotonous residential setting — rows and rows of flats.
In Korea, about 6 individuals out of 10 reside in flats. According to the newest report by Statistics Korea in 2019, the nation had 11.3 million flats, accounting for 62.3 % of all housing. The nation is usually nicknamed “The republic of apartments.”
For many years, Koreans have develop into accustomed to residing in condo complexes on account of their comfort as a kind of normal housing that has been round since industrialization. But some are questioning whether or not flats are the best choice, significantly youthful generations whose pursuits have diversified.
“The pandemic made us reflect on our life and what we have missed in the past. We were all busy securing apartments in the city while apartments were built up manically. The value of fast development, which is particularly prevalent in the Korean society, was hit by the pandemic,” stated Park So-hyun, president of Architecture and Urban Research Institute.
“There is a survey result that Koreans would not have chosen to live in apartments if they had other options. But it is a chicken-or-egg question, some say apartments were built as people desired to live in the dwellings. But the demand for diversification in residential environments is rising for sure, unlike during the industrialization era, when standardized development was tolerated,” she added.
Apartment as new residence
After the Korean War devastated the nation, it went by way of speedy industrialization and folks started to flock to Seoul in search of alternatives to earn cash within the capital.
To accommodate the town’s rising inhabitants, the Park Chung-hee authorities began to assemble condo fashions within the Nineteen Sixties. The first condo complicated within the nation — “Mapo Apartment Complex” that consisted of 10 six-story flats housing 642 households — was inbuilt 1964 as half of the government-driven initiative.
A 64-year-old Seoul resident surnamed Park moved to Seoul from his hometown Daegu together with his household within the mid-Nineteen Sixties when he was 10 years previous. Everyone appeared to go to the capital metropolis as in the event that they have been chanting “To Seoul, to Seoul,” he recalled.
“We used to call apartments ‘mansions’ at the time. It was such a dream place to us. The equipped bathrooms and kitchens were a modern style, which were a totally different culture to many Koreans. The apartment was a fancy housing to ordinary people at the time,” he stated.
Although flats have been established shortly in Korea as “fancy spaces,” there have been nonetheless many individuals who didn’t welcome the multistory buildings and the unfamiliar thought of residing excessive up within the air. Also, it was laborious to put Jangdokdae, Korean giant ethnic earthenware that Koreans used to make use of to retailer fermented kimchi, soybean paste or soy sauce, which have now disappeared from most properties.
“We were used to living close to the ground, but all of the sudden, those houses that looked like ‘match boxes’ to me began to prevail across the city. The elderly people particularly hated it because some early apartments did not have an elevator,” stated Jung Ock-boon, 71-year-old former Seoul resident who resides in Gyeonggi Province. “I also felt like the cemented apartments also cut off interactions with neighbors. Many people including myself did not like the apartments at first.”
Why flats succeeded in Korea
But why flats over different housing sorts when there are different choices equivalent to multiplex housings that additionally may accommodate many individuals? In reality, the excessive density inhabitants itself doesn’t totally clarify why flats had boomed in Korea.
Was it an inevitable alternative by the federal government to push for constructing flats within the capital space? – some consultants say, not essentially.
Apartments have been globally launched within the early twentieth century within the time of industrialization after French Architect Le Corbusier proposed condo buildings as sensible use to accommodate many residents after the second world warfare. Versions of them have been experimented with in lots of international locations, together with France, Japan, the Soviet Union and the US.
While flats have been unpopular in these international locations, the dwellings — strongly pushed by the Park Chung-hee authorities — have been wanted in South Korea, fascinating the center class with concepts of a contemporary way of life.
“An apartment was not an attractive alternative to people in many countries. But in Korea the then government pushed ahead with the housing models for the middle class as a symbol of modernization. For example, it was apartments where stand-up kitchens and flush toilets were introduced to Koreans for the first time.” stated Jung Heon-mok, anthropology professor at The Academy of Korean Studies. “The government’s drive and social desire for modernization fueled the popularity of the apartments.”
The standardized flats quickly became the dominant housing type and likewise became a way to extend wealth because the nation underwent speedy industrialization.
“It seems the apartment ‘brand,’ or where in the city people live, have become important criteria in judging people. It’s like lining up people with a simple standard,” Jung stated.
Although many Koreans have begun to harbor a need to reside in numerous types of housing, little has modified. Because many households make investments the most important proportion of their earnings in housing, they find yourself making a conservative choice — selecting an condo over different housing sorts. This hinders altering the uniform condo residing setting, consultants stated.
“Housing accounts for the largest portion of a family’s financial resources. They are therefore bound to make conservative decisions when purchasing housing,” stated Seo Hyun, a professor of the division of Architecture and Architectural Engineering at Seoul National University, in explaining Koreans‘ aversion to new sorts of housing . “When the exchange value is taken into account, buying housing that is radically different from existing apartments could be considered a risky investment.”
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