To connect and flow in Seoul: Ubiquitous technologies, urban infrastructure and everyday life in the contemporary Korean city
Choi, Jaz Hee-jeong & Greenfield, Adam (2009) To connect and flow in Seoul: Ubiquitous technologies, urban infrastructure and everyday life in the contemporary Korean city. In Foth, Marcus (Ed.) Handbook of research on urban informatics: the practice and promise of the real-time city. IGI Global, Hershey, PA, pp. 21-36.
Once a city shaped by the boundary conditions of heavy industrialisation and cheap labour, within a few years Seoul has transformed itself to one of the most connected and creative metropolises in the world, under the influence of a new set of postindustrial prerogatives: consumer choice, instantaneous access to information, and new demands for leisure, luxury, and ecological wholeness. The Korean capital stands out for its spatiotemporally compressed infrastructural development, particularly in the domain of urban informatics. This chapter explores some implications of this compression in relation to Seoulites’ strong desire for perpetual connection, a desire that is realised and reproduced through ubiquitous technologies connecting individuals both with one another and with the urban environment itself.
We use the heavily managed urban creek Cheonggyecheon as a metaphor for the technosocial milieu of contemporary Seoul, paying particular attention to what its development might signify for Seoulites both as a constituent node of the city and as an outcropping of networked information technology. We first describe some of the historic, social and economic contexts in which the Cheonggyecheon project is embedded, then proceed to discuss the most pertinent facets of Korean-style everyday informatics engaged by it: ubiquity; control and overspill; government-industry collaboration; lifestyle choice; and condensed development timelines.
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