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Thursday, September 02, 2004

(Urban space) "Northern village" in Seoul

한옥이 몰려 있는 서울시 종로구 가회동 31번지 일대. 최근 외지인들이 이 근처 한옥들을 별장이나 보존용으로 사들이면서 북촌이 ‘죽은 공간’으로 되고 있다는 지적이 일고 있다. (c) HankyorehHankyoreh has an interesting story on the so-called Pukch'on (北村, Northern Village) in the historical part of Seoul between Changdeokkung and Gyeongbokkung, where there's a large area of Korean-style houses (hanok maûl). Considering the changes in the cityscape of Seoul in the let's say last 50 years it's not a small wonder that the houses have remained, and now it's said that the character of the area as a residential neighborhood is even in a bigger danger. Most of the houses which are sold end up being not in residential use but kept as some sort of reception places or as "villas" (pyôlchang).

There's an association called "Appreciators of Korean houses" (?, 한옥을 아끼는 모임), which has lately acquired 20 houses in the area, "to prevent the houses getting torn down and multi-family houses (tasedae chut'aek) built in the place." The representative tells that the houses have been bought in order to preserve them, but "circumstances" have prevented many to move in. The price of a hanok (韓屋) has been around 10 million W per p'yông [€2000/sqm], but the recent demand has elevated the price to around 15 mil W. (The average apartment price in Seoul is 11.7 mil W/p'yông [€2400/sqm]; my earlier post.)

Adjoining Hankyoreh article on Pukch'on.

"Northern village" (北村) and "Southern village" (南村), two parts of the historical Seoul divided by Cheonggyecheon. The former used to be high-status area during Chosôn with the government official residences in the vicinity of royal palaces, but the tables turned during the Japanese colonial era, as the latter became the residential district of the Japanese.

• An esthetic view on the Northern village streets in Joongang Ilbo

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