A Progressive City in the Making? The Seoul Experience

  • Myung-Rae Cho
Part of the ARI - Springer Asia Series book series (ARI, volume 6)


Drawing upon Douglass’ research framework for the assessment of progressive city, this paper is designed to address the questions of how and in what way Seoul has undergone a fundamental shift from a neo-developmental to progressive city under new municipal leadership. It is divided into four parts. Following the introduction, the paper presents a reinterpretation of what constitutes a progressive city in the Korean urban context with a view to setting its own discursive framework. This is followed by examination of the backdrops in which Korea’s notable neo-developmental model city gave way to an alternative due to its own inherent contradictions. The next and largest part of paper is allotted to an analysis of Mayor Park’s innovative policies, which are divided into four areas, each corresponding to respective constitutive pillars – inclusion in public life, distributive justice, conviviality of social and cultural life, and environmental sustainability or flourishing – of progressive city. With the understanding that the processes of urban reforms toward a progressive city do not automatically result in expected outcomes, the fourth part of the paper delineates the limits and problems of Mayor Park’s urban experimentation toward the idea of a people-centered progressive city. The conclusions provide a synthesis of the paper as a template for continuing inquiry into the prospects for the future.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myung-Rae Cho
    • 1
  1. 1.Korea Environment InstituteSejong-siSouth Korea

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