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Issues of Planning Justice within Two Large Scale Urban (re)Development Projects in Seoul, South Korea

Lee, Taehee (2015) Issues of Planning Justice within Two Large Scale Urban (re)Development Projects in Seoul, South Korea. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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The central aim of this research is to evaluate the justness of the Cheong-gye-choen Restoration Project (CRP) and the Dongnam Distribution Complex Project (DDCP) with a primary focus on issues for merchants affected by the projects, and to use this as a lens to explore the possibilities of establishing a more just planning process in Korean society. Two main research question that try to answer throughout this thesis are: How can we evaluate the processes and the outcomes of the CRP and the DDCP from a justice perspective?; In the light of the theoretical review and empirical case study, if planning should pursue the public interest (or the common good) and often unavoidably harm minority interests, how can planning be more just in relation to the interests of the latter? Cheong-gye-cheon (CGC) is a 5.8km length river running through Seoul city centre, which was covered up in the 1960s and 70s. Restoration of this historical river was acknowledged as being a public good for the general population. However, this restoration project would impact on one of the largest conventional markets in Korea and the restoration meant significant losses for many merchants without compensation. Severe conflicts occurred, and as a result of negotiations, it was agreed that a relocated market on a new site would be provided for the merchants with special privileges as de facto compensation. This was why the DDCP began. Yet, despite the ostensibly ‘democratic’ processes of both projects, the outcome of the DDCP turned out to be a failure. A large number of merchants could not or did not move into the new relocated market when it was completed, and most CGC merchants experienced significant losses. The failure of the DDCP also left considerable debts for the tax payers. These two projects are still highly controversial, especially in terms of the justness of their processes and outcomes, and thus requires further investigations. In order to do so, review of theories of justice and justice in planning presented, with the work of Michael Sandel and Heather Campbell being particularly influential. Throughout the review, it is argued that justice is inescapably judgemental and can only be reasoned through a politics of the common good. Yet, due to the dark sides of the concepts of community and common good, this thesis proposes that both concepts are need further conceptualisation and judgements should be guided by universal values. Influenced by Campbell, this thesis argues that justice in planning is about situated ethical judgement through a politics of the common good guided by universal values. Subsequently, the applicability of the concept of justice in planning in planning practices is explored. Based on this conceptual framework of justice in planning, the processes and outcomes of the two consecutive projects are scrutinised, focusing specifically on why affected merchants did not or could not move into the new relocated market in the end. The investigation shows that although the processes of both projects appeared on one level to be seemingly democratic, they were not in reality. As a result, there were misrecognitions about merchants’ economic circumstances and forms of exclusion, misinformation, and poor or non-decision decision makings. It is also shown that even though the agreements made between parties during the projects were perceived as being satisfactory at the time they were made, the fundamental reasons for the failure of the DDCP actually stemmed from these agreements; influenced by the institutional and political contexts of Korea. By examining situations and judgements in the processes of the projects, possibilities for better and more just planning practices are explored.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Justice, planning, the common good, the public interest
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Urban Studies and Planning (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr Taehee Lee
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2015 11:29
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2015 11:29
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8632

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