International Development Planning Review

The politics of urban nature restoration: The case of Cheonggyecheon restoration in Seoul, Korea

International Development Planning Review (2010), 32, (2), 145–165.

Abstract

This paper is a critical analysis of the political conflicts behind the restoration of the urban stream called 'Cheonggyecheon' in Seoul. The conflicts arose between the Seoul City government and the coalition of NGOs around different ideologies of nature: environmental managerialism vs. deep ecologism. The paper dissects the process of reinventing Cheonggyecheon into a natural stream and, in doing so, discloses the exclusion of the deep ecologists by the hegemonic environmental managerialists. This process was further reinforced by the subjugation of the restoration project to the political purpose of the initiator and the outcome was a lack of ecological authenticity in the restored stream. This is a historically persisting Cheonggyecheon phenomenon that reflects human attempts to rule over each other through nature.

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Author details

Cho, Myung-Rae