From Intro to Human Geography 2014

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Group B-seminar 5 Michael Hebbourn Harrison Heft Rebecca Johnston Katelyn Langner


[edit] Seoul

                    Image:6818040-View_from_Seoul_TV_tower_Seoul.jpg [[4]]

[edit] Introduction

Author: Rebecca

Seoul is the Capital of South Korea. Seoul is home to over half of the South Korean Population. The city is filled with history, nature, and advancing technology as well as new and old attractions.Such as historical buildings and monuments and home to popular Korean pop groups. Most importantly Seoul is a globally rising city, Seoul was ranked 6th on the global Power City index. It was also voted the worlds most wanted travel destination by Chinese, Japanese and Thai Tourist. Seoul is also ranked 1st in technological readiness as it was ranked to have the largest and best subway network in the world, similarly Seoul airport was also ranked best in the world 9 years in a row. Seoul is an advancing city that attracts people of all ages for travel, employment and residency.[5]


[edit] Region, Place, Landscape


Region: Seoul is governed by a single government, the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Seoul is comprised of 522 wards that make up 25 districts. The districts include: Chongno, Choung, Chungrang, Kangbuk, Kangdong, Kangnam, Kangso, Kumchon, Kuro, Kwanak, Kwangjin, Mapo, Nowon, Socho, Sodaemun, Songbuk, Songdong, Songpa, Tobong, Tongdaemun, Tongjak, Unpyong, Yangchon, Yongdungpo and Yongsan.[8] The Functional region of Seoul can also be looked at when observing the characteristics of certain areas. The six functional regions of Seoul are looked at in the map. Image:regional-map.jpg [[9]]

Landscape: Seoul is located in South Korea, just North of the Han River in the lowland of a topographic basin surrounded by low hills which are approximately 1000 feet. Since the 1970's the area south of the Han river which is known as Kangnam, is a very urbanized location. Containing many high rise apartment buildings and office buildings attracting economic activity in regards to tourism, fashion and many new and developing technology industries. However, development of suburbs south of the Han river to the east and west have developed due to the cities greenbelt that surrounds a large portion of the perimeter of Seoul which prohibits further expansion of the build-up area. [[10]]

[edit] Globalization

Author: Harrison

Seoul’s past unlike many other cities was not centered around importing and exporting, nor were there any signs that the city would become a leading manufacturer and exporter. Until the mid 20th century the city had been closed to foreign investments and imports. . After the Korean War Seoul was left in a dismal state, much of the cities infrastructure had been destroyed. Park Chung-Hee was appointed as the South Korean prime minister in 1961, much of Seoul’s success today can be attributed to his policies and passion to transform South Korea into a manufacturing hub in Asia. [11]To accomplish this Chung-Hee had a five year plan with several goals to be complete in that time frame, these goals , ranged from; creating/expanding energy industries, expanding agricultural production develop an economic infrastructure and promote science and technology. With these goals and the ideology of treating employees like family, Seoul’s manufacturing output began to rise and would continue to do so. However Seoul still couldn’t be considered a globalized city due its lack of imports from other countries.[12]

The Olympic games of 1988 were hosted in Seoul, the games opened the country for many foreign nations. Previously South Korean exposure to western technologies, culture and goods had been limited due to South Korea’s aggressive manufacturing and exporting. As a result of years of exporting and manufacturing and strong government regulations to control the economy, Seoul was becoming a larger city, yet still remained un-globalized. As the book defines globalization “The expansion of economic, political, and cultural processes to the point that they become global in scale and impact. The processes of globalization transcend state boundaries and have outcomes that vary across places and scales.”[13] With the Olympics in Seoul, all the countries that attended were able to showcase their technology, culture and goods. With the purchasing power and the knowledge of foreign goods, South Korea’s imports started to rise. American and European cars were being imported and foods from many world regions were being introduced into the streets.

Due Date:November 28th Edited by December 6th

[edit] Political Geography

Author: Harrion


The South Korea North Korea conflict dates back to the end of the Second World War when Japanese forces admitted defeat and fled the Korean Peninsula. Soviet forces took control of the area north or 38th parallel, while American forces took control of the area south of the 38th. Thus dividing the country into the North Korea and South Korea. The American forces entered through Seoul and had the majority of their forces established there, due it central location and proximity to the border. With American forces in Seoul there was a push towards democracy and western ideals. The Korean War continued on till 1953, no peace treaty was signed technically leaving both states at war. The war helped shape South Korean politics and economy. The 1960s’ election led to the collapse of the first republic of South Korea, after president Syngman Rhee rigged the election is favour winning with 100% of the votes. This event caused many students in the Seoul region to protest against president Rhee. Between 1960 and 1987 South Korea saw five republics and one military rule. In 1988 President Roh Tae-woo became the 13th president and won the first electoral race in 16 years.[14]

The Seoul Metropolitan Government is Seoul’s city government council; their responsibilities include public education, prisons, public safety, recreation facilities, sanitation and welfare services. The mayor of Seoul is elected on four year term by Seoul citizens. Seoul is divided into 25 “Gu” or districts, each gu is then divided into dongs, the number of dongs in a gu varies depending on the area and population of the gu. Each Gu’s government handles many of the same dutuies as city governments do in other cities. Each Gu has a city council and mayor. [15] Due Date: November 28th Edited by December 6th

[edit] Population

Author: Rebecca

Seoul the capital of south Korea also known as the "special city". Seoul's total population in 2013 was approximately 10.44 million, with a population density of 17,000 people per square kilometer (17,000 people/km. However, the Seoul capital area is the second largest metropolitan in the world, with a population of approximately 25.6 million people.[16]In comparison this is almost twice the population density of New York city. Majority of the population of Seoul is Korean however it was estimated that by the end of June 2011 there was approximately 281,700 foreigners living in Seoul. The three largest groups of foreigners consist of Chinese of Korean descent, Chinese not of Korean decent and lastly US citizens not of Korean descent.

The population growth of Seoul has been on decline since 2011 as it is currently 0.11%. Seoul having such high population density does not have much room for much population growth, as many people flooded the country for employment, this increased the price of real estate and is now linked the the number of single people currently residing in Seoul, as couples move for cheaper living, thus resulting in a declining population growth. .It is predicted that by 2020 there will be 5 working people for every senior citizen in Seoul.[17]

This graph demonstrates the total number of people in Seoul. Image:Img_about_08.jpg[18]

This graph demonstrates the current population of foreigners in Seoul. Image:Img_about_10.jpg[[19]


[edit] Migration

What is Migration?

Migration is the movement of humans that results in a permanent relocation. While looking at one specific country, there are two terms to describe migration: emigration (which is the relocation from that country to a different country) and immigration (which is the movement into a country). People who move from one country or region to another are called international or internal migrants. These migrants can either be forced to migrate or choose on their own that they would like to migrate. There are many factors that are taken into consideration when looking at why people migrate for example; for employment, family, cultural reasons, or ethnic issues.[1]

Seoul Migration

Throughout the later history of Seoul the population has always increased slightly up until after World War 1 when many Koreans came back from war and settled in Seoul. Also the Korean war forced millions of refugees from North Korea to Seoul for safety reasons. The most significant increase in population happened in the 1960's and 1970's when Korea went through a major economic shift.[21] Before 1960 the population was around 2.5 million people, after the economic shift the population grew to 10 million up to 1990.[22] The major population growth was from migrant workers in Korea that moved to Seoul for job opportunities. This rapid migration of people to Seoul led to Seoul becoming very overpopulated but a prosperous place to be in Korea. Since the 1990's the population of Seoul has stopped growing and actually started to loose some of it's population. Due to the overpopulation of Seoul many people have migrated to the suburbs and other regions such as the municipality of Inheon and Gyeonggi. This Movement of people out of Seoul has decreased its population but in turn has increased the population of the municipalities outside of Seoul.[23]

[edit] Social Geography

Author: Katie


Confucianism - at the root of confucianism is the idea that the family comes before the individual. Family is a very important aspect, not only in Seoul, but all of South Korean culture. Confucianism ideals are that the father is the head of the family, and he is responsible for food, shelter, clothing and also for the marriages of his family members. Seoul is a patriarchal society, in that the man is in charge of his family, and his decisions outweigh those of the rest of his family members. Although confucianism is no longer a main religion in Seoul, it did leave its mark on the people, and many of the cultural practices have roots in confucianism. Many confucian shrines were built in the 14th century and since then, and it was adopted as Seoul’s national ideology, and the descendants of the Joseon royal family still continue to hold ceremonies to commemorate ancestors at these temples.

Christianity - although not introduced to Seoul until the late 18th century when the christian missionaries came to Eastern Asia. Myungsung Cathedral,
Lotus Lantern Festival, Seoul, South Korea
Lotus Lantern Festival, Seoul, South Korea
is the largest Catholic church found in the Jung district of South Korea. This church is also a symbol of political differences, and it represents the influence of the Roman Catholic Church on the society. There are also many Christian denominations found in Seoul, such as Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, and Lutheran.

Buddhism - although it was suppressed in the Joseon state, it is still present in Seoul, and has influenced the city in many ways. There are still many Buddhist festivals that occur in Seoul. For example, the Lotus Lantern Festival is held at the Seoul Plaza to celebrate Buddha’s birthday, it is accompanied by a wide range of Buddhist programs and activities, before ending with an impressive lantern parade in the heart of Seoul. [24]

Gender Equality: Seoul is ranked a low score of 117 out of 142 countries on the 2014 Gender Gap Index, with its highest scores falling under the health and survival, and educational attainment categories.[25] There are equal rates of educational enrolment up until tertiary education, where males slightly outweigh females, 84 females to 111 males; and the literacy rate is equal between males and females. The economic participation rates are not as good, with females making less than half the income as males do. Men earn around $40,000 USD, while women earn $19,395 USD. Also, as of 2014 only 16 women sit in parliament, as opposed to 84 men in parliament.[26]

Class: Seoul is a city that prides itself on providing for everyone, however half of the country lives on less than $10,000 a year. While there are regions in the city, such as the Gangnam district, that possess great amounts of wealth. Although in the neighbouring region of Guyrong residents live in small, single/double room shacks that resemble the slums of those in poorer countries. According to an official estimate, about 15% of South Koreans live below the poverty line. This is because of Korea’s dualistic labour market, in which a significant number of workers are hired only on temporary contacts with low wages and benefits, results in high inequality in wage income.[27]

Identity: Korea is one of the most homogeneous countries in the world, with its population being primarily Korean, however in the city of Seoul, the population of consists of Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and American expats.[28] The main language spoken is Korean, however english is taught in all primary and secondary schools. The main problem Seoul faces regarding identity is that for years the country was primarily Korean people, with no outside influences, however in recent years there has been an influx of other cultural groups residing in Seoul. While the older generations are not particularly happy with the changing times and their changing culture, the younger generations are embracing this change as the country becomes more technologically advanced and more globally aware.

[edit] Cultural Geography

Author: Katie

Seoul, South Korea can be culturally defined by its technology, music industry, film industry, and food.

Technology: South Korea is known as one of the most technologically advanced cities in the world, and Seoul itself has a very technologically advanced infrastructure. It has the world’s highest fibre-optic broadband network, which gives Seoul the fastest internet browsing speed in the world, with speeds up to 1 Gbps.[29] The city spent 47.7 billion won ($44 million) on providing free wi-fi access in over 10,000 public places, and this project is hoped to be running by 2015. Two of the leading technological companies situated in Seoul, are LG and Samsung, which along with the automotive industry account for 20% of the gross domestic product. [30]

PSY: popular singer from Gangnam District, Seoul, South Korea and most widely known for his hit song Gangnam Style
PSY: popular singer from Gangnam District, Seoul, South Korea and most widely known for his hit song Gangnam Style
is a growing industry in Seoul, the K-Pop music scene has become increasingly popular, not just in Seoul, but in neighbouring asian countries as well, and there is even a subculture of K-Pop music seen in the United States. Although it is not seen as much in Western countries it is a large part of Seoul’s culture.[31]

-K-Pop: is a catchy strain of korean popular music that somehow simultaneously sounds like every pop music genre, all at once. There are bits of dubstep, trance, and electro are most easily heard in K-Pop music. Popular K-Pop artists from Seoul include, the popular “Gangnam Style” singer PSY, as well as BoA, Beast, GOT7, B1A4, BIG BANG, and Davichi[32] -Seoul is also home to its own form of hip hop artists, including Leessang, MC Mong, GDragon, and Epik High. Seoul holds a music festival every four months for each of the seasons, the music festival is held to commemorate “Seoul Citizens Day”, for the 600 years of history that Seoul has seen as the capital city.

Film: South Korea is one of the few countries in the world where Hollywood film is considerably less successful than its own productions, and this is in part to its screen quotas (where Korean films must be shown at least 73 days of the year), but it is also due to the popular Korean movie, Shiri.[33] The film based on a deadly assassin who resurfaces while two Korean agents try to prevent a terrorist plot involving a liquid explosive. This movie was filmed in Seoul, and this is part of the reason for the film’s success. This film made way for the development of the Korean film industry, especially the animation work. The animation production for many american television shows is created in Seoul, shows such as Family Guy, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Futurama, and most notably The Simpsons. Recently, the animation Pororo the Little Penguin became one of the most popular cultural exports of South Korea, by exporting Pororo to 120 countries worldwide.

Food: Seoul has its own plethora of cultural food, but because of it’s influences from China and the United States, there is a growing food scene that combines these other cultures. For example, pizza has become a popular dish in Seoul, but unlike american pizzas which offer toppings like pepperoni, bacon, pineapple, etc., pizzas offered in Seoul have toppings such as corn, sweet potato, mayonnaise, and bulgogi (marinated beef strips).[34] Food chains like Burger King and McDonalds are ever increasing, and are now a part of Seoul culture. Some traditional Seoul dishes include, Tteokguk (rice cake soup), Seolleongtang (beef soup with rice), Gukbap (soup with rice), Heukimjajuk (black sesame porridge), and many more.[35]

[edit] Notes and References




















20. Fouberg, E.H.,Murphy, A.B., De Blij, & Nash, C.J. (2012). Human Geography: People, lace, and culture. Mississauga, ON: John Wiley & Sons Canada
















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