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Urban Designs from South Korea: Yonjae Paik

May 17, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

*This talk is hybrid (in-person & remote). Capacity is limited. Please register ahead of time.

About Organic Space: Communities in South Korea’s Organic Farming Movement

Can a community become a political space transcending the boundaries of everyday life? South Korea is an example of a highly centralized society where state-led industrialization concentrated power and resources in urban areas. Under the dominance of the “national” space, the community-based organic farming movement shows a less visible but significant tradition of “living politics”—grassroots, do-it-yourself actions that bring about social changes without seeking recourse to the government. Specifically, communities were the moral and material basis on which the movement sought to establish a reciprocal relationship between the urban and the rural, as well as between humans and nature. In doing so, organic farmers tried to create a space autonomous from the industrial food system controlled by the government and big business. Through the history of South Korea’s organic farming movement, I argue that restoring communities is crucial for tackling the challenges of people’s livelihoods in a highly centralized modern society. In this lecture, I first introduce the concept of living politics and how it works in the South Korean context. Second, I present the history of South Korea’s organic farming movement through two cases—Jeongnonghoe and Hansalim—focusing on the role of community in the movement and the implications thereof. Then, I share my experience in the CiViChon 1.0 project as a research contributor to reflect rural people’s views of the CiViChon model village before I finish by inviting the audience to discuss how we can materialize a place of living politics.

About the Speaker

Yonjae Paik (he/him) is a JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) postdoc fellow at Ritsumeikan University (Osaka) and an honorary lecturer at the Australian National University. Yonjae has extensive academic and professional experience in chemistry, environmental studies, and business (commercial banking). Yonjae received his PhD from the Australian National University in history as a member of Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki’s Australian Research Council Laureate Project Informal Life Politics in the Remaking of Northeast Asia. Yonjae’s PhD thesis focused on the tradition of intentional community—a communal space autonomous within the nation-state and the capitalist market—in the history of South Korea’s organic farming movement. Yonjae participated in the CiViChon 1.0 project as a research contributor and contributed to conveying rural people’s ideas into the project.

About Urban Designs from South Korea: Architecture, Ecology and Communities from South Korea

This series will present various designers from South Korea, who are engaged in urban and rural regeneration projects, graphic art, video projects and other projects that are taking place in South Korea. Presenters will discuss why design is crucial in Architecture, Ecology and Communities in South Korea.

Many of the speakers in this series will be presenting their works in the Project “2086: Together How?” that will be presented in the Korean Pavilion at the Venice Architectural Biennale in Italy, opening on May 20th, 2023. Presenters include “2086: Together How?” co-curator Soik Jung (Urban Mediation Project), and exhibitors, architect Yerin Kang (Society of Architecture), graphic artist Chris Ro (founder of ADearFriend) and video artist Jaekyung Jung (founder of shhh).

Bringing together architects, community leaders and artists, this project is about how we might be working together to endure current and future environmental crises until 2086 – the year when the global population is supposed to peak. Through a participatory video game, and with photographs, drawings, models and video and architectural installations, the exhibition is designed to invite audiences to imagine an ecocultural revolution through a critical reassessment of our capitalist, globalist, and colonial history.

They will present various communities with active regeneration projects in South Korea, inside the global city of Incheon, the colonial historic center in the mid-size city of Gunsan and in the rural areas of foreign migrant workers in Gyeonggi Province. These locations constitute a cross section of urbanization, modernization, and westernization in South Korea. They will show their collaboration with the local community leaders, and their ideas and design for the future of these communities. Each community is a case study which utilizes the community leader’s deep knowledge of the place and the architect’s spatial analysis to evaluate its current state, and propose site-specific future scenarios leading up to 2086.


May 17, 2023
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Tags:


Design and Innovation Building
Room 208
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