Suburbanization in Asia

A focus on Seoul

Authored by: Chang Gyu Choi , Sugie Lee

The Routledge Companion to the Suburbs

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138290235
eBook ISBN: 9781315266442
Adobe ISBN:


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During the past several decades, the Seoul metropolitan region has experienced significant suburbanization, with massive residential development in suburban areas. However, the types of residential development and suburbanization processes are quite different from those of Western countries. In the Seoul metropolitan area (SMA), there are few low-density suburban developments, which are common in North America. Rather than low-density suburban communities, high-rise apartment complexes outside the 20 to 40 kilometer radius of Seoul’s central business district (CBD) have been constructed for the majority of the middle class. The powerful central government-initiated planned development used tools such as housing supply and land use regulation, and the emerging middle class, which has increased due to rapid economic development since the 1970s, demanding relatively comfortable, convenient, and inexpensive high-rise apartment complexes. If utopia for the middle class in North America has been a low-density single-family residential area in suburbs, the high-rise apartment complex in the SMA has become such a place in Korea.

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