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Seoul Urbanism on TBS eFM’s Koreascape: industry and culture grapple in Mullae-dong

Each month I join Kurt Achin, host of Koreascape on Seoul’s English-language radio station TBS eFM, for an exploration of one of Seoul’s urban spaces. This time we go just south of the Han River for a nighttime journey — punctuated by cats, coffee, ukulele riffs, tap dancing, and showers of sparks — through Mullae-dong. There an established generation of industrial operations now coexist with a new generation of cultural venues, putting metalworkers and craftsmen right alongside artists and baristas. We’re joined by Yolanta Siu, whose recent piece “Collective Dust” in Places Journal  warns that “the situation in Mullae now calls for artists and factory owners to unite in resistance to speculative capitalism. Otherwise the neighborhood will follow the model of Daehangno, Bukchon, Seochon, Garosu-gil, and Jogno in becoming a generic shopping district,” whose popularity led to rising rents that brought about “not prosperity but hollowness.”

Stay tuned for further explorations of Seoul’s architecture, infrastructure, and other parts of the built environment. You can hear our previous segments here.