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Creative Seoul: A Lesson for Asian Creative Cities

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Re-Imagining Creative Cities in Twenty-First Century Asia
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Abstract

Seoul is the urban locus of a remarkable pop cultural phenomenon, the Korean Wave. Seoul’s participation in the global creative city competition results in the paradoxical exclusion of the concerns and participation of its citizens. Korean Wave-centric initiatives are focused at either attracting more tourists and/or providing marketing opportunities for those within the industry. This Seoul case study illustrates a more nuanced analysis of the creative city reality (as a center of international creative business) and governance, one that questions the creative city paradigm as a whole. It advances the discussion of creative cities from ahistorical one that centers the European and American experiences. Seoul therefore questions the paradigm for creative city policymaking in the Non-West.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    President Park Geun-hye was impeached on charges of corruption due to the steering of funds from various business interests by her advisor to her (the advisor’s) foundations.

  2. 2.

    KCON is a Hallyu/Korean Wave-centric convention that began in 2012 in California. As its website (http://www.kconusa.com/) notes “KCON USA is the original convention dedicated to bring “All Things Hallyu” to the American fan base” and showcases the music, dramas, food, beauty products of Korea. It has since expanded beyond the US to Japan, the UAE (Abu Dhabi), Australia, and Mexico. KCON is spearheaded by CJ E&M but has been consistently supported by the government through KOCCA, KOTRA, Ministry of SMEs & Startups, and CCEI (Center for Creative Economy & Innovation). BTS performed their first show in the USA at KCON in 2014.

  3. 3.

    Dongdaemun Design Plaza an iconic landmark designed by Zaha Hadid whose construction began in 2009 under Mayor Oh Se-hoon. It is one of the main reasons for Seoul’s design as World Design Capital in 2010.

  4. 4.

    https://www.atkearney.com/documents/20152/436064/Global+Cities+2010.pdf/1880d48e-4ac2-7b30-b24e-a0ac47382307?t=1500555506672.

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Spence, KM. (2020). Creative Seoul: A Lesson for Asian Creative Cities. In: Gu, X., Lim, M.K., O’Connor, J. (eds) Re-Imagining Creative Cities in Twenty-First Century Asia. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-46291-8_14

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