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Seoul Urbanism on TBS eFM’s Koreascape: Seoul’s development seen through TV commercials

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, building on a piece I wrote for the Los Angeles Review of Books Korea Blog, we talk about the development of Seoul as you can see it over sixty years of television commercials. These spots advertise things like Lucky household goods, the 63 Building (subject of our first Seoul urbanism segment), the Kia Pride, the 1988 Summer Olympics, the ill-fated Sampoong Department Store, and the Seoul Cityphone (the predecessor of the kind of cellphone service literally everyone in Seoul seems to have today). They also reveal a culture scrambling to change fast enough to keep up with the economy of a rapidly developing country — and an even more rapidly developing capital.

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