기지촌에서 힙 플레이스로 탈바꿈: 이태원의 젠트리피케이션 양상과 동인

Globalization as an urban force of gentrification: the case of Itaewon in Seoul, South Korea

  연구 기간: 2018년 7월 ~ 2019년 8월 

  연구 참여자: 경신원(Shinwon Kyung), 정규리(Kyuri Jeong)

  연구 발주처: 연구소 자체연구

본 연구는 우리나라에서 발생하는 젠트리피케이션이 주로 주거지역의 주거시설이 상업시설로 건축물의 용도가 바뀌는 상업화현상인 것에 주목하고 이러한 장소성의 변화는 '왜', '누구'에 의해서 '어떻게' 일어나는 것인가와 같은 근본적인 문제에 초점을 맞추고 있다. 본 연구의 공간적 범위는 초국가적 공간인 이태원 및 그 주변 지역으로 내용적 범위는 소규모의 젠트리피케이션으로 한정한다. 연구의 방법으로 통계자료와 지리정보시스템을 이용한 공간분석과 심층인터뷰와 온라인 설문을 실시하여 젠트리피케이션의 직간접 행위자의 특성을 파악한다. 

Historically Itaewon has been an unique enclave since the US army base was stationed there in the 1940s. This area, the so-called ‘America within Korea’, has been changed with recreational and amenity facilities for the US troops and their dependents. Also, people from different nationalities and cultural backgrounds have come to the area with the introduction of embassies and consulates. Unlike other parts of Korea, Itaewon embraces and welcomes people from diverse backgrounds. However, until recently, Itaewon was not a place favored by the general public. In fact, being located adjacent to the biggest US army base in Korea, it was an area often avoided. There were shops selling fake designer goods; bars and clubs mostly frequented by US soldiers, foreigners and the LGBT community; and areas with high levels of prostitution.

Nevertheless, since 2000 Itaewon has become one of the most popular places in Seoul to visit in order to experience the multicultural aspects of the area. Increasing numbers of younger generation of Koreans who are used to or interested in global culture come to Itaewon to enjoy more authentic cultural experiences. The emergence of more cosmopolitan consumption practices and spaces in Itaewon is indicative of the occurrence of gentrification. The gentrification of Itaewon is considered to have assisted in its transformation from what was once a taboo place for many to a very popular place to visit and live.

 

Census data demonstrate that the gentrification of Itaewon has accelerated in recent years. This acceleration is epitomized by a rapid decrease in houses in poor condition, which have been taken over by fashionable restaurants and shops. By tracing the changing fortunes of Itaewon on the basis of in-depth interviews, it becomes apparent that globalization is the most significant driving force of gentrification. And the people leading these changes are transnational elites, who are often returnees who once lived or worked overseas, second-generation emigrants or frequent international travelers trying to replicate their overseas experience and maintain a similar lifestyle back in Korea. In addition, a longing for Western culture by the younger Korean generation has also accelerated these transformations.