Rising from the Ashes to Become a Megalopolis
After Korea's liberation from Japan in 1945, its independent government was established in 1948 following a period of rule by the United States Army Military Government. Unfortunately, however, Seoul fell into ruin during the Korean War.
Seoul's population increased sharply immediately after the truce. Such explosive growth in population caused numerous problems but also generated certain positive effects including acceleration of Seoul's urbanization and promotion of its dynamic change.
In the 1960s, Seoul embarked upon an urban development project. Every part of Seoul was 'under construction' under 'Aggressive Construction,' the catchphrase of then-Mayor Kim Hyeon-ok, who took office in March 1966.
Dramatic expansion of Seoul in the mid-1960s led to development along the Hangang River including fullfledged development of Yeouido and Gangnam. Since 1976, Yeouido has been touted as 'Manhattan in Seoul' thanks to settlement of broadcasting companies, business centers, and head offices of conglomerates.
The construction of the Gyeongbu (Seoul-Busan) Expressway prompted the development of the quiet countryside area of 'Gangnam,' east of Yeongdeungpo and south of the Hangang River. The government strongly promoted the development of Gangnam, which, in combination with a frenzy of real estate speculation, led to a sustained influx of people into the area.
In the 1970s, apartments were adapted to meet the unique needs of the Korean people. Seocho Samho Apartment is a typical apartment complex of the 1970s located in Gangnam. Each unit has a living room at the center, to which the rooms, entrance, and kitchen are all connected to allow for easy movement. This represents an adaptation of a Western-style apartment to suit the lifestyle of the Korean people.
Skepticism over developmentoriented urban planning began to rise in the 1990s, and interest increasingly shifted to cultural development. In 2002, the FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan was held in Seoul, cementing its status as one of the world's great megacities.