Award Information

Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Sol Price School of Public Policy
Regenerating as a Creative Just City: socially engaged artists in Seoul’s urban planning and development

This qualitative research and dissertation book project aim to primarily study local artists in Seoul, South Korea, that are engaged in institutionalized and/or grassroots-level "just city agendas": the former being governmental projects on participatory, incremental "urban regeneration" (a conscious shift from top-down, demolition-based redevelopment), and the latter based on grassroots activism (e.g. anti-displacement) and communal self-sufficiency. Within the heightened attention on emphasizing justice, transparency, and public engagement as the doctrine of higher-level institutions, I argue that socially engaged artists of various art forms and capacities are significant actors in characterizing the "new normal" in Seoul's urban planning and development, as well as broader movements for an equitable society. Using Fainstein's just city theory (2010), Florida's creative class theory (2004), as well as other works on "just" alternative/equitable and "creative" arts-led urban development, I propose to explore how the notion of justice, equity, diversity, and democracy are manifested in Seoul's current urban regeneration by artists, and the role of creativity and the arts compared to its previous utilization and historicity. Ultimately, this research will seek how the Seoul context could be an exemplar of a "creative just city" that shows aspects that have been lacking or overshadowed in previous just city and creative city literature, and also contribute to ongoing, transnational debates about the role of art/ists in equitable development.