Earlier this week, Prof Hyun Bang Shin (@urbancommune) gave a lecture at the the Politecnico di Torino (@PoliTOnews) in Turin, Italy, entitled: “Coping with Crisis in Developmental Urbanization: The Case of Songdo City, South Korea”. Read more about the event here.
This lecture aims to examine the underlying political economy of mega-project promotion in times of post-crisis recovery, looking at the case study of Songdo International City in Incheon, South Korea. This mega-scale urban development project, built on a 5,345-hectare reclaimed land, is widely known as the first foreign-led urban development project in South Korea. However, Songdo needs to be understood as space where various domestic and foreign actors have interplayed to pursue their material goals at different stages of development. In particular, two economic crises, which affected Korea in 1997 and 2008, were acting as significant drivers of development, producing shifting relations between different actors. By investigating the consequences of two crises upon Songdo, this chapter will show (1) how the variegated nature of urbanisation and associated stakeholders have engaged in an urban mega-project, (2) how their dynamics have shifted, and how speculative interests of different scales have become dominant in the development process of Songdo International City.