Monday, July 21, 2014

The battle over Guryong Maeul

Four years ago I took a brief look at Guryong Maeul in Gangnam-gu, a shanty town first settled in the 1980s.

Though a 2009 article said redevelopment plans were in the works, this still hasn't happened. Today's Joongang Daily takes a look at how the area has "become a political battleground between Seoul city government and Gangnam District Office."


King Baeksu said...

This is a typically vague article by the JoongAng Ilbo, rendering the details hard to understand.

Let's see if I can work out the basics of the conflict between Park and Shin. Under Park's "mixed compensation plan," "landowners will be given the rights to a part of their property while receiving smaller financial rewards than in the earlier proposal."

If I'm not mistaken, however, the land in Guryong Village was in private hands prior to being squatted on around the time of the '88 Olympics, so one would think that "landowners" does not refer to today's squatters. Yet since the Guryong Village Residents Association supports Park's proposal, it would seem that they are the ones who would receive partial property rights.

Meanwhile, Shin simply wants to give the squatters a lump-sum payout without any property rights, suggesting that under such a redevelopment plan they would be forced to relocate elsewhere as they would be unable to afford to remain there. Does that sound about right?

It is unclear why Shin refuses to negotiate with Park. Park's proposal seems more populist, while Shin's seems more beneficial to the larger developers (no doubt, purchasing property rights from the current residents would be pricier). Why doesn't the JoongAng Ilbo make it clearer which specific interests are backing Shin's proposal? In any case, it would seem to be in the JoongAng Ilbo's corporatist interest to frame this as a "political conflict," as opposed to illuminating more clearly the financial interests backing both plans.

Does Samsung have its snout in the trough somewhere along the way?

King Baeksu said...

BTW, Park's plan would cost the city "hundreds of billions of won" less than that proposed by Shin. Obviously, the difference would have to be made up somehow if Shin's proposal were adopted.

In other words, it would seem that Shin would rather have taxpayers subsidize the development of Guryong Village as much as possible, which puts more money into the pockets of the developers, of course.

No wonder she refuses to budge. Any fool can do the math and see how much she stands to lose if Park's plan triumphs.

King Baeksu said...

Oh, and here's how Shin prefers to deal with the "little people" who "get in the way":

"Recently, the Mayor of Gangnam, Shin Yeon Hee, had hired 'city workers,' who operate like thugs, to forcefully evict these street vendors by having them violently tear down and flip over the vendors’ food stands. The mayor justifies her actions by stating that the owners of the food stands were neither paying rent, nor did they have proper permits. Moreover, the food stand owners were not paying taxes on their income. Lastly, the mayor had mentioned that the food stand owners were 'threatening public safety' by occupying the sidewalk area."


More here:

King Baeksu said...

Here's a picture of 신연희, who was elected 강남구청장 under the 한나라당 banner in 2010:

That's one mean-looking ajumma. She's got the "thousand-yard death stare" down cold.

King Baeksu said...

Awfully dead around here.