Inter-Korea summit meeting and the peace process in the Korean peninsula #KoreaSummit #USNorthKorea

Upon the request of the LSE media team, I had a chance to elaborate on my own thoughts regarding the recent Inter-Korea summit meeting on 27 April, and also the role of the US. The series of videos were released on 30 April, and what I said then still seems to be relevant to the forthcoming North Korea-US summit meeting that is about to go ahead on 12 June. Here are the links to the interview clips:

LSE Thinks | Why have the leaders of North and South Korea started negotiations? https://youtu.be/J0eWPeeObZM

LSE Thinks | What has been the role of the US in peace negotiations between North and South Korea? https://youtu.be/8eQqxZ68oCw

Below is a written version of what I have tried to say in this series of video interviews.

  1. What has brought about this ‘renewed’ enthusiasm for negotiations between the two Koreas and the US?

It is important to understand how these negotiations have historically developed. The popular discourse seems to regard the current negotiation as very new. However, the two Koreas already had two summit meetings, once in 2000 between President Kim Dae-Jung and Kim Jeong-il, the father of the current leader of North Korea, and again in 2007 between President Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Jeong-il.

While peaceful negotiations were already in place more than a decade ago, the process stopped during the last ten years between 2008 and 2017 when the two successive conservative governments of South Korea were reluctant to promote inter-Korea cooperation and at times hostile towards peaceful engagement.

The candle light revolution in South Korea in 2016 and 2017, praised by the world as the example of democracy, has led to the change of government, led by President Moon Jae-in, a human rights lawyer turned politician. And, the new South Korean government has been committing to the peaceful engagement with North Korea, and to mediating the relationship between North Korea and the US.

It is also important to highlight the fact that the general population in South Korea has been largely in support of peaceful negotiation with North Korea to resolve the military confrontation. Surveys indicate that a large majority of the South Korean population supported talks with North Korea rather than military resolution. This was despite the missile threats from the north and the development of nuclear programmes. The South Korean government and President Moon Jae-in’s firm position for ‘no war on the peninsular’ was strongly supported by the public opinion.

  1. What will be the implications of the negotiations for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula?

I think both Koreas are quite serious about the need of producing peaceful co-existence for the survival and development of North Korea. In particular, it is important to understand that the 2018 inter-Korea summit meeting took place within less than a year of South Korean president’s terms of office. And, he has another four years before his presidency comes to an end. There is ample momentum that can build up to produce positive outcomes. Denuclearisation is not just about demobilising North Korea’s nuclear programme. It is also about ending the military confrontation between South and North Koreas, who are technically at war, only suspended by the armistice signed in 1953 between North Korea and the United Nations force led by the US. Ending the war and signing a peace treaty has been the stated aim of both Korean governments, and I think there is a very good chance this is going to happen, now that all regional powers are expected to agree to this transition.

  1. What will be the implications of the negotiations for the people in the peninsula and the economy of the Korean peninsula?

All regional economies, and by extension the global economy, will definitely gain a lot from the anticipated transition from armistice to peace treaty. At the moment, nearly two million armed soldiers are confronting each other on the peninsular as of now, excluding the US force stationed in South Korea. The regional insecurity and uncertainty will reduce substantially, triggering more investment to arrive in the peninsula. South Korea has been struggling to create a new momentum for economic development, and the opening of the North Korean economy will provide the new avenue of economic growth. North Korea would emerge as an attractive destination for global investors.

It is also not just about the investment. There will be additional resources to be secured by reduced military spending. According to the World Bank data, in 2016, South Korea’s military expenditure amounted to 2.6% of its GDP, higher than the average for the world (2.2%) or for East Asia and the Pacific region (1.7%). This is equivalent to 10.4% of the South Korean central government expenditure (World, 8.1%). We do not have data for North Korea, but the ratio would certainly be much higher. Imagine the reduction of military spending that can be released for investment in social and physical infrastructure.

Obviously, there is much to learn from the neighbouring country, China, and from former East Germany, in terms of how to transform a planned economy into a market economy. The key concern is more about how the North Korean economic reform would proceed without widening social discrimination, economic injustice and regional inequalities. Overcoming the political and ideological differences is another big challenge. A peace treaty would provide time and space for this challenging process to be initiated.

New chapter: “Studying global gentrifications”

Happy to see the publication of my chapter, “Studying Global Gentrifications”, invited for inclusion in this new volume edited by John Harrison and Michael Hoyler.

Click here to download the Word version of the chapter

This chapter builds on my ongoing enquiries into the planetary rise of gentrification and variegated geographies of gentrification (and therefore, gentrifications in plural rather than Gentrification with a capital ‘G’). The volume includes many other interesting chapters, so worth taking a look. For more details of the book, see here: https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/doing-global-urban-research/book252261

For citation: Shin, H.B. (2018) Studying global gentrifications, in: J. Harrison and M. Hoyler (eds.), Doing Global Urban Research. London: Sage, pp. 138-152.

In this chapter, I discuss some of the salient issues that are at the centre of planetary thinking of gentrification, examining how the inclusion of the urbanization experiences of non-usual suspects in the Global South helps us expand our horizon of gentrification research and reinterpret what has been learnt from the Global North. First, the chapter discusses how our understanding of displacement needs to actively take into consideration the temporality, spatial relations and subjectivity. Second, the chapter ascertains the importance of locating gentrification in broader urban processes and also in the context of uneven development. Third, the chapter argues that gentrification is to be treated as a political and ideological project of the state and the ruling class in addition to it being an economic project. The concluding section sums up the arguments and provides some reflections on what it means to do comparative research on global gentrifications from a planetary perspective.

 

Social Justice and the City – the latest issue of the Annals AAG

The latest issue of the Annals of the American Association of Geographers is a collection of papers addressing the theme of “Social Justice and the City”. It has a wonderful set of contributions that have global coverage, including cases that range from Singapore, Hong Kong and Seoul, Bucharest to London, St.Louis, Chicago and Esmeraldas in Ecuador. Altogether, 26 papers, including my own (see below), are included in this special issue, addressing those themes that require urgent attention by critical scholars. Following is an excerpt from the editorial introduction led by Nik Heynen who was instrumental to the production of this special issue:

Myriad questions related to social justice have shaped urban geographic scholarship, among which two things remain clear: geographers maintain fidelity to the idea that the discipline should keep working to understand unjust processes within urban life and simultaneously seek solutions to make cities more just. Beyond this, few geographers today would come to the same set of defining characteristics of what a just city would look like, or agree on the right questions to ask toward its realization. What the concept of social justice lacks in terms of facilitating intellectual and political consensus, it makes up for in centering heterodox efforts at generating relevant theory and practice that can change the social circumstances of people living in cities, regardless of how these terms are defined.

It is out of these enduring commitments, demands, and possibilities that the theme of this special issue emerged: Social Justice and the City.

It is my pleasure to have made a contribution to this issue, which is entitled “Urban Movements and the Genealogy of Urban Rights Discourses: The Case of Urban Protesters against Redevelopment and Displacement in Seoul, South Korea”. It traces the evolution of the urban rights discourses in Seoul, situating them in the rich history of South Korea’s urban social movements and democratisation, and appreciates the contributions made by the alliance of urban displacees and social movement groups in the midst of fighting speculative urbanisation. Up to 50 copies can be downloaded by clicking this link*: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/8bhBgem76MQecpe3KbQC/full

Below is an abstract of my own paper for your information:

Despite significant contributions made to progressive urban politics, contemporary debates on cities and social justice are in need of adequately capturing the local historical and sociopolitical processes of how people have come to perceive the concept of rights in their struggles against the hegemonic establishments. These limitations act as constraints on overcoming hegemony imposed by the ruling class on subordinate classes and restrict a contextual understanding of such concepts as the right to the city in non-Western contexts, undermining the potential to produce locally tuned alternative strategies to build progressive and just cities. In this regard, this article discusses the evolving nature of urban rights discourses that were produced by urban protesters fighting redevelopment and displacement, paying particular attention to the experiences in Seoul that epitomized speculative urban accumulation under the (neoliberalizing) developmental state. Method-wise, the article makes use of archival records (protesters’ pamphlets and newsletters), photographs, and field research archives. The data are supplemented by the author’s in-depth interviews with former and current housing activists. The article argues that the urban poor have the capacity to challenge the state repression and hegemony of the ruling class ideology; that the urban movements such as the evictees’ struggles against redevelopment are to be placed in the broader contexts of social movements; that concepts such as the right to the city are to be understood against the rich history of place-specific evolution of urban rights discourses; and that cross-class alliance is key to sustaining urban movements.

Figure 3. Protesters in 1991 demanding the right to housing, Seoul. Source: The Kyunghyang Shinmun (Park, Yong-Su), provided by the Korea Democracy Foundation (http://archives.kdemo.or.kr/)

<작은것이 아름답다> 2017년 12월호 기고글: “어떻게 덜 소유하고 함께 정주할 것인가”. A new essay entitled “Owning less and sharing together to co-habit”

I was invited to contribute an essay to a monthly magazine in South Korea, as part of its theme on ‘apartment forest 1980-2017’, which was to reflect on the urban forms resulted from Korea’s condensed urbanisation and vertical urbanism/accumulation (for vertical accumulation, see my own essay here). The essay was entitled “Owning less and sharing together to co-habit“.

<작은것이 아름답다> 255호 특집 [아파트숲 보고서 1980-2017] (http://jaga.or.kr/?p=10612&ckattempt=1) 에 기고했던 “어떻게 덜 소유하고 함께 정주할 것인가”를 공유합니다. @jaga_green@PRESSIAN_news가 기사공유를 하고 있어서 덕분에 기고문 원문을 나눌 수 있게 되었네요. 프레시안에서 편집하면서 원제목을 부제로 바꾸었습니다.

http://www.pressian.com/news/article.html?no=180427 

세상에 ‘좋은 젠트리피케이션’은 없다

우리 사회는 철저하게 소유자 중심 사회다. 도시 주거공간의 변화가 오로지 소유자 이익을 위해 일방통행으로 이뤄지는 탓에 주민들의 오랜 정주성이 파괴된다. 도시 공간 변화가 사회구성원의 평화롭고 평등한 공존을 애초 어렵게 만든다. 어떻게 공존의 가치를 앞세우고 덜 소유하며 함께 정주할 것인가. 정주성을 빼앗는 소유자 중심 일방통행 최근 빈민지역운…

SaveSave

New article: Urban Movements and the Genealogy of Urban Rights Discourses in South Korea

My article on the genealogy of urban rights discourses in Korea has finally been published by the Annals of the American Association of Geographers. This has been a product of what I have been working on in recent years, especially between 2011 and 2015, and aims to interpret the long history of urban movements in Korea against the back drop of the political economy of speculative urbanisation.

도시운동과 도시 권리 담론의 역사를 다룬 새 논문이 미국지리학회지에서 출간되었습니다. 2011-2015년 사이 한국을 다니며 수행했던 인터뷰와 문헌조사 등을 토대로 투기적 도시화의 정치경제학 측면에서 한국 도시운동의 역사를 분석하고 앞으로의 방향을 모색해보고자 했습니다.

Shin, Hyun Bang (2017): Urban Movements and the Genealogy of Urban Rights Discourses: The Case of Urban Protesters against Redevelopment and Displacement in Seoul, South Korea, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2017.1392844
http://www.tandfonline.com/…/…/10.1080/24694452.2017.1392844

Abstract:

Despite significant contributions made to progressive urban politics, contemporary debates on cities and social justice are in need of adequately capturing the local historical and sociopolitical processes of how people have come to perceive the concept of rights in their struggles against the hegemonic establishments. These limitations act as constraints on overcoming hegemony imposed by the ruling class on subordinate classes and restrict a contextual understanding of such concepts as the right to the city in non-Western contexts, undermining the potential to produce locally tuned alternative strategies to build progressive and just cities. In this regard, this article discusses the evolving nature of urban rights discourses that were produced by urban protesters fighting redevelopment and displacement, paying particular attention to the experiences in Seoul that epitomized speculative urban accumulation under the (neoliberalizing) developmental state. Method-wise, the article makes use of archival records (protesters’ pamphlets and newsletters), photographs, and field research archives. The data are supplemented by the author’s in-depth interviews with former and current housing activists. The article argues that the urban poor have the capacity to challenge the state repression and hegemony of the ruling class ideology; that the urban movements such as the evictees’ struggles against redevelopment are to be placed in the broader contexts of social movements; that concepts such as the right to the city are to be understood against the rich history of place-specific evolution of urban rights discourses; and that cross-class alliance is key to sustaining urban movements.

尽管当代有关城市与社会正义的辩论, 已对激进的城市政治做出显着的贡献, 但仍需充份捕捉人们在与霸权形构的斗争中, 如何理解权益的概念之在地历史与社会过程。这些限制, 成为克服统治阶级对从属阶级施加的霸权之限囿, 并限缩了对非西方城市脉络中的城市权概念的脉络性理解, 且有损生产建立激进与正义城市的在地化另类策略之潜能。因此, 本文探讨由对抗再发展和迫迁的城市抗争者转变中的城市权论述, 并特别关注首尔——一个象徵着在 (新自由主义化的) 发展形国家中的投机性城市积累之地。研究方法上, 本文运用档案纪录 (抗争者的宣传手册和通讯) 、照片与田野研究档案。这些数据, 由作者对于先前与当下的居住倡议者所进行的深度访谈补充之。本文主张, 城市中的穷人, 具有挑战国家压迫和统治阶级意识形态霸权的能力; 诸如被驱逐者反抗再发展的斗争之城市运动, 必须被置放在更广泛的社会运动脉络中; 诸如城市权的概念, 必须相对于城市权论述在特定地方的丰富演变历史进行理解; 跨阶级的结盟, 则是维系城市运动的关键。

Pese a las contribuciones significativas que se aportan a la política urbana progresista, los debates contemporáneos sobre las ciudades y la justicia social claman porque se involucren también los procesos locales históricos y sociopolíticos acerca de cómo ha llegado la gente a percibir el concepto de los derechos en su lucha contra los establecimientos hegemónicos. Estas limitaciones actúan como obstáculos para vencer la hegemonía impuesta por la clase dominantes sobre las subordinadas, y restringen un entendimiento contextual de conceptos como el del derecho a la ciudad en contextos no occidentales, debilitando el potencial de producir estrategias alternativas localmente afinadas para construir ciudades progresistas y justas. A este respecto, este artículo discute la naturaleza evolutiva de los discursos sobre derechos urbanos que se originaron desde acciones de manifestantes urbanos contra el redesarrollo y el desplazamiento, prestando particular atención a las experiencias de Seúl que encarnaron la acumulación especulativa urbana bajo un estado desarrollista (neoliberalizador). En términos de método, el artículo hace uso de registros de archivo (panfletos de los manifestantes y boletines informativos), fotografías y archivos de investigación de campo. Esos datos fueron suplementados con entrevistas a profundidad del autor con activistas enfrentados al problema de vivienda, anteriores y actuales. El artículo arguye que los pobres urbanos están en capacidad de desafiar la represión estatal y la hegemonía ideológica de la clase dominante; que movimientos urbanos tales como las luchas de los desahuciados contra el redesarrollo deben ser ubicados dentro del más amplio contexto de los movimientos sociales; que conceptos por el estilo del derecho a la ciudad deben entenderse contra la rica historia de la evolución específicamente relacionada con lugar en los discursos sobe derechos urbanos; y que la alianza entre clases es clave para mantener los movimientos urbanos.

Key Words: displacementrights discoursesSeoulurban movementsurban protests

关键词:: 迫迁, 权益论述, 首尔, 城市运动, 城市抗议。

Palabras clave: desplazamiento, discursos sobre derechos, Seúl, movimientos urbanos, protestas urbanas

Eminent Scholar at KyungHee University, Seoul

I’ve been nominated as Eminent Scholar by KyungHee University in recognition of my research, and will be visiting Seoul and the university a couple of times this year, once between 20 August and 9 September, and again between 11 October and mid-November. I look forward to many fruitful discussions about Korea/Asia’s speculative urbanisation, gentrification, the right to the city, and social justice, and to imagining alternative urbanism collectively.

앞으로 일 년 동안 (2017년 5월 – 2018년 4월) 경희대학교 석학 초빙제도를 통해 Eminent Scholar로서 활동합니다. 이를 위해 8월 20일부터 9월 9일까지, 그리고 10월 11일경부터 11월 중순까지 두 차례에 걸쳐 경희대학교를 방문, 공동연구와 대학원 강의 등을 수행할 예정입니다. 이 기회에 한국/아시아에서의 투기적 도시화, 젠트리피케이션, 도시권, 사회정의 등에 대해 많은 분들과 논의하고 대안적 도시에 대한 상상을 함께 할 수 있기를 기대합니다.

관련기사: “도시재생 분야 석학 신현방 교수 초빙” http://www.khu.ac.kr/life/newsView.do?newsId=

New blog piece: The Rio Olympic Games and Socio-spatial Injustice

Together with Michel Nicolau, who was a visiting fellow in my department with the financial support from the Urban Studies Foundation (International Fellowship), I have written a piece about the Rio Olympic Games, an assessment six months after its closing.

It’s available from the openDemocracy.net on the following link:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/michel-nicolau-hyun-bang-shin/rio-olympic-games-and-socio-spatial-injustice

Excerpt:

Rio helped to legitimate a discourse that states that in during extraordinary circumstances, it is fair to make huge transfers of wealth from public to private interests, from lower to upper classes, from the poor to the rich.

A neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro (Photographed by Hyun Shin in 2010)

A neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro (Photographed by Hyun Shin in 2010)

Leeds RC21 conference 2017: CFP – Sessions on “Gentrification and Statehood” and “Gentrification as Method”

As part of the forthcoming RC21 conference (11-13 September, Leeds, UK), I am organising, with Matthias Bernt (Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space) and Paul Waley (University of Leeds) back-to-back double sessions on gentrification, (1) Gentrification and Statehood and (2) Gentrification as Method. The session details are attached below.

Paper abstracts should be sent by e-mail to RC21@leeds.ac.uk AND to the relevant session organisers, indicating which session you are submitting to. Please consult the conference web site for more details (http://www.rc21.org/en/conferences/conference-2017/).

Deadline for Paper Abstract Submission: Friday 10 March 2017


Call for Papers

RC21 CONFERENCE 2017 “Rethinking Urban Global Justice”

11-13 September 2017 | University of Leeds, UK |http://www.rc21.org/en/conferences/conference-2017/

Gentrification Sub-session 1-1:
Gentrification and Statehood

The impact of public policies on the dynamics and patterns of gentrification has received increasing attention throughout the recent years. Yet, while it is generally acknowledged that the different institutional contexts have the potential to significantly “limit, alter, or impede gentrification” (Porter and Shaw 2009), the variegated geography of statehood have remained an under-explored issue in gentrification studies. In contrast with studies on “worlds of welfare capitalism” (Esping-Andersen 1990), on “housing systems” (Kemeny 1995 and 2005) or on “varieties of residential capitalism” (Schwarz and Seabrooke 2008), gentrification studies have been marked by a focus on the local (neighbourhood scale in particular) and hardly examined how different patterns of urban upgrading, redevelopment and displacement interplay with different variants of statehood. Divergent trajectories of institutionalizing property relations, tenure relations, and historico-geographical formulations of social justice concepts across the globe have thus remained out of sight. The shortfall extends to the examination of the role of the state and different constellations of private and public actors in producing gentrification.

This session aims to address this gap and invigorate the study of the relationship between gentrification and statehood. It calls for papers which study how reinvestment and displacement function in different institutional contexts, taking into consideration the political economic contexts that bring together divergent state and non-state actors. Both empirical and theoretical contributions are welcome.

Keywords: gentrification, statehood, institutionalisation, socio-political relations

Organisers and their Contact Details:

Dr. Matthias Bernt
Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS). Email: matthias.bernt@leibniz-irs.de

Dr. Hyun Bang Shin
Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science. Email: h.b.shin@lse.ac.uk


 

Gentrification Sub-session 1-2:
Gentrification as Method

Proposed for the RC21 CONFERENCE 2017 “Rethinking Urban Global Justice”

Gentrification is one of the few analytical frameworks in urban studies which ‘provides a critical edge and some theoretical coherence to physical and social change incorporating eviction, displacement, demolition and redevelopment” (Ley and Teo, 2014). Nevertheless, increasingly in recent years, it has also been subject to negation, deemed inapplicable outside the global North. It is sometimes argued that gentrification prohibits the possibility of multiple narratives of displacement and eviction. However, is this discussion an appropriate and justifiable way of advancing our production of knowledge? Instead of becoming ensnared in categorical debates on definitions of gentrification and its conceptualisation across space, the session aims to locate “gentrification as part of multiple urban processes at work” (Shin, Lees and López-Morales, 2016), understanding the working of gentrification and other urban processes from the perspective of relational and hierarchical space. Papers presented to this session are to engage with, or be related to, the following questions:

  • What does the use of a particular geographical scale mean for gentrification studies?
  • How does gentrification reconcile itself with other analytical frameworks (e.g. accumulation by dispossession, segregation)?
  • Where does ‘concept stretch’ come into play with gentrification?
  • Are we homogenising space to an extreme when discussing issues of displacement, dispossession and accumulation in terms of gentrification?
  • How do we create a healthier and more productive dialogue between gentrification and non-gentrification researchers, both of whom aim to attain social justice?
  • How can gentrification researchers best overcome the principal methodological problems they face?

The session calls for papers that address any or several of these questions. Both empirical and theoretical contributions are welcome.

Keywords: gentrification, production of knowledge, methods, conceptualisation

Organisers and their Contact Details:

Dr. Hyun Bang Shin
Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science. Email: h.b.shin@lse.ac.uk

Dr. Paul Waley
School of Geography, University of Leeds. Email: p.t.waley@leds.ac.uk

 

Planetary Gentrification book talk at pro qm in Berlin, 14 October 2016

I am heading to take a part in the KOSMOS-Workshop “Universal Gentrification? Conceptional Challenges of Comparative Urbanism”” at Humboldt University in Berlin, organised by Dr Andrej Holm, and the first event scheduled will be the following book talk at a Berlin bookshop called “Pro qm”. This takes place on 14 October from 8.30 pm.

Address: Pro qm, Almstadtstraße 48-50, D-10119 Berlin

http://www.pro-qm.de/planetary-gentrification-v#.V_5-KYlDr0k.twitter

14. Oktober 2016 – 20:30

Planetary Gentrification

Book presentation & discussion with Loretta Lees, Hyun Bang Shin, Ernesto López-Morales and Andrej Holm
For the description of urban change processes Gentrification has not only developed to a popular keyword in Berlin. From Sao Paulo to Prague, from Goteborg to Johannesburg, from London to Bombay Gentrification-concepts are used to analyze revaluation and expulsion in urban quarters. Loretta Lees, Ernesto López-Morales, and Hyun Bang Shin recently published a comprehensive book on the globalised nature of gentrification. All authors will be present and look forward to the discussion on “Planetary Gentrification” in Berlin.
Loretta Lees,  Hyun Bang Shin, Ernesto López-Morales:
Planetary Gentrification
Cambridge: Polity Press 2016

The book presentation by Loretta Lees, Ernesto López-Morales, and Hyun Bang Shin is the public part of the KOSMOS-Workshop “Universal Gentrification? Conceptional Challenges of Comparative Urbanism” at Humboldt-University. The Workshop is funded by Future Concept resources of Humboldt University Berlin through the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal Government and its Federal States.

How are we to overcome ‘gentrification’ as urban disaster?

A forum was held in Seoul on 27 May 2016 to discuss anti-gentrification strategies and legislation, organised by one of the district governments in Seoul. I was not able to accept the invitation to attend and give a talk due to schedule conflict, but wrote a paper “How are we to overcome gentrification as urban disaster?” to contribute to the forum. The link below will take you to the paper (in Korean).

2016 Anti-Gentrification Seongdong Forum지난 5월 27일 서울 성동구청에서 “젠트리피케이션 방지와 지속가능 도시재생을 위한 MOU 체결 및 포럼”을 주최하였습니다. 37개 지자체가 포럼에 앞서 협약식을 체결하고, 이어진 포럼에선 여러 의미있는 논의가 기획되었는데, 아쉽게도 이번엔 초청에 응하지 못하고 대신 특별기고문을 포럼 자료집에 수록하였습니다. 제 글 서론은 아래 참조하시고, 전체 글은 아래 링크에서 다운 받으실 수 있습니다.

Shin-2016-Gentrification-SeongdongForum

경향신문: “‘‪#‎젠트리피케이션 방지’ 37개 지자체 손잡았다” https://t.co/GwbllPDVLt

 

젠트리피케이션이라는 ‘재난’, 어떻게 극복할 수 있을 것인가?

젠트리피케이션은 임대료나 지가 상승을 노리고 건물과 토지의 용도 변경이 이루어지고, 이 과정에서 기존 사용자가 내몰리는 도시 과정을 지칭합니다. 이러한 과정은 보통 물리적 환경의 변화를 동반합니다. 상업지역의 경우 더 높은 지불능력을 가진 소비자 위주로 업종 변화가 이루어지곤 하는데, 이는 종종 프랜차이즈점과 명품가게 등의 입점으로 이어지고, 이 과정에서 다양성이 감소, 획일화가 이루어지며 결과적으로 타지역과의 차별성이 없어져 상권 축소의 전주곡이 되곤 합니다. 주거지역의 경우, 전월세 임대료가 상승하는 과정에서 저소득층이 밀려나는 현상, 그리고 개발수익을 위한 재건축, 재개발로 인해 기존 주민 대다수가 쫓겨나고 중산층 등 소득상위계층으로 대체되는 과정이 젠트리피케이션에 포함됩니다. 이 역시 지역의 다양성을 파괴하는데 기여하고, 지역개발이 지역주민을 위한 것이라기 보다는 외지인을 위한 개발이 되는 문제점을 낳습니다.

최근까지 건물주와의 갈등으로 강제 퇴거 위기를 겪었던 이태원 소재 까페겸 미술관 ‘테이크아웃드로잉’의 운영진은 자신들이 겪었던 고난의 시기를 ‘재난’이라고 표현했습니다. 천재지변과 같이 당사자의 의지를 벗어난 불가항력적인 힘으로 인해 삶의 공간을 잃고, 생계수단을 잃는 것을 재난이라 지칭하고 그 처지에 놓인 사람들을 이재민이라고 표현한다면, 젠트리피케이션은 말 그대로 재난이고, 그 과정에서 축출된 사람들은 이재민이라고 할 수 있다는 문제의식에서 비롯된 표현이었습니다. 천재지변으로 인한 이재민을 위해서는 사회 각계각층에서 곧잘 의연금을 모으고 정부 차원의 특별보호대책을 수립하지만, 젠트리피케이션으로 인해 생계와 삶의 터전에서 밀려나는 우리의 이웃들은 이재민과 같은 보호를 받지 못하는 것이 우리 도시의 현실입니다.

어느 시민단체 보고에 따르면 1983년부터 1988년 사이 서울에서 재개발 사업으로 인해 쫓겨날 처지를 경험한 주민숫자가 72만명에 이르렀다고 합니다. 1983년 당시 서울시민의 13% 가까운 대규모였습니다. 최근 들어서는 소득이 불안정하거나 미미한 문화예술가 등이 이 대열에 합류하였습니다. 홍대 인근 지역처럼, 인디밴드와 예술가들이 모여 동네가 유명세를 타다보니 토지건물가격이 급등하고, 막상 그 동네를 일궜던 문화예술가들은 주변으로 흩어졌지요. 이번 기고글에서는 이러한 젠트리피케이션을 저지하기 위해 어떤 정책을 수립해야 할 지, 지자체에서 우선 고려해야할 정책적 시각은 무엇인지를 제언하고자 합니다.

(나머지 글은 Shin-2016-Gentrification-SeongdongForum 참조하세요)