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SUB/URBANISMS / GOSHICHON | EXAM VILLAGE

GOSHICHON | EXAM VILLAGE Urban Ecology of the Exam Village and SROs in Noryangjin

In Korea, the number of single-person households is rapidly increasing due to various economic factors. In particular high unemployment and lack of job opportunities drive large numbers of the population, almost half of the job seeking population betwen 15-29 years of age, to pursue Goshi(bar exam) or Gongshi(civil servant exam) that guarantee a stable income and an occupation for life. And this has created a large enclave of “exam villages” within the city where an urban ecology has developed to provide living quarters, food, and exam preparation techniques to cater to the many young people looking for a better future. But the average preparation time for the civil servant exam in 2019 was 26 months while the success rate was merely 2.4%. Exam preparers must commit fulltime to the studies in order to have any chances of success and to minimize costs during this period of zero income, they must reduce their living expenses to the utmost minimal level. The Goshichon provides rooms as small as 6.6m2, just big enough for one person to lie down, where the exam preparers study, eat, and sleep when they are not taking the exam prep courses. Public amenities and services are almost nonexistent for these single room residences and standards of hygiene are low. Cafeterias, 24 hour convenience stores, food stalls provide cheap food and snacks and the few neighborhood playgrounds and parks are littered with beer cans and cigarette butts. Because most residents are transient renters, the notion of community is almost non-existent and the neighborhood suffers from illegal littering and safety issues. SInce the 1970s, Noryangjin has been one of the biggest exam villages in Seoul and although the area was earmarked as a “New Town Development” in 2003 due to its urban deterioration, the area has remained undeveloped and continues to be a low income single room occupany neighborhood. The city’s designation as a potential new development zone has only exacerbated the detrioration of the neighborhood due to a lack of reinvestment in exisitng buildings and infrastructure. But despite its many problems, the neighborhood has also become an area where low wage workers can find affordable residence and cheap living envrionment near the city center. With increasing unemployment and lack of secure jobs, Noryangjin has become an affordable alternative for the low income single person households of Seoul. We investigate the Noryangjin neighborhood to identify the urban ecology of the exam village and its informal systems. Despite the many problems of the neighborhood, the spatial ecology of Noryangjin is the result of a societal and economic structure that pushes the young generation into seeking job security over creativity and experimentation. It also provides housing for low-wage workers close to their work areas. Rather than a seeing this as an urban problem that needs to be erased and sanitized into cookie cutter apartment blocks, which will most likely increase the hardships faced by the underserved transient community of Noryangjin, we hope to identify spatial strategies that allow for new development as well as regeneration strategies that can go hand in hand with providing affordable housing as well as building up the public ammenities needed by the current residents of the Exam Village.

sources: https://www.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2020/01/15/2020011500173.html https://m.segye.com/view/20191217512739 http://www.sisajournal-e.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=224774

Seoul National University Graduate School of Environmental Studies Dept. of Landscape Architecture / Environmental Design Studio / Fall 2016 Urban Space Research Studio / Studio Director, Yehre Suh / Investigator, Yonghun Kim


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Seoul National University Graduate School of Environmental Studies Dept. of Landscape Architecture / Environmental Design Studio / Fall 2016 Urban Space Research Studio / Studio Director, Yehre Suh / Investigator, Yonghun Kim

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Seoul National University Graduate School of Environmental Studies Dept. of Landscape Architecture / Environmental Design Studio / Fall 2016 Urban Space Research Studio / Studio Director, Yehre Suh / Investigator, Yonghun Kim

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Seoul National University Graduate School of Environmental Studies Dept. of Landscape Architecture / Environmental Design Studio / Fall 2016 Urban Space Research Studio / Studio Director, Yehre Suh / Investigator, Yonghun Kim

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Seoul National University Graduate School of Environmental Studies Dept. of Landscape Architecture / Environmental Design Studio / Fall 2016 Urban Space Research Studio / Studio Director, Yehre Suh / Investigator, Yonghun Kim

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Seoul National University Graduate School of Environmental Studies Dept. of Landscape Architecture / Environmental Design Studio / Fall 2016 Urban Space Research Studio / Studio Director, Yehre Suh / Investigator, Yonghun Kim

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Seoul National University Graduate School of Environmental Studies Dept. of Landscape Architecture / Environmental Design Studio / Fall 2016 Urban Space Research Studio / Studio Director, Yehre Suh / Investigator, Yonghun Kim

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Seoul National University Graduate School of Environmental Studies Dept. of Landscape Architecture / Environmental Design Studio / Fall 2016 Urban Space Research Studio / Studio Director, Yehre Suh / Investigator, Yonghun Kim

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Seoul National University Graduate School of Environmental Studies Dept. of Landscape Architecture / Environmental Design Studio / Fall 2016 Urban Space Research Studio / Studio Director, Yehre Suh / Investigator, Yonghun Kim

SUB/URBANISMS / SINGLE ROOM OCCUPANCIES

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Seoul National University Graduate School of Environmental Studies Dept. of Landscape Architecture / Environmental Design Studio / Fall 2016 Urban Space Research Studio / Studio Director, Yehre Suh / Investigator, Yonghun Kim

Profile for Yehre Suh / Urban Terrains Lab

GOSHICHON | EXAM VILLAGE : Urban Ecology of the Exam Village and SROs in Noryangjin  

The Noryangjin neighborhood in Seoul is a result of a societal and economic structure that pushes half of the young generation into seeking...

GOSHICHON | EXAM VILLAGE : Urban Ecology of the Exam Village and SROs in Noryangjin  

The Noryangjin neighborhood in Seoul is a result of a societal and economic structure that pushes half of the young generation into seeking...

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