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Korean Ghost Towns

Photography September 13, 2011

Seoul is a city under constant development and re-development. Sometimes you wake up to find your favorite local restaurant has gone out of business, and a couple days later something brand new has replaced it with a completely new interior.

Sometimes this happens to neighborhoods as well. Walking through the eastern part of central Seoul, around Sinseol Dong, you find a lot of small industrial looking workshops, and old two and three story residential buildings that are being torn down to make way for the giant apartment blocks you see throughout the rest of the city. These neighborhoods are eerily quiet, strewn with the debris of what looks like a hasty and unhappy departure. Things that might have been tucked away in a junk drawer are strewn randomly in the street. There’s a strange smell, like a storage closet that’s been closed for too long was just opened. Graffiti on the wall echoes the anger of residents who moved, or were moved, from the places they called home. The scrawled messages cursing the police charge the atmosphere despite the stillness; a silent, futile shout that makes me think of the huge gap between rich and poor, powerful and powerless, that exists so blatantly in Korea.

Below are photos from around the parts of Sinseol-dong I’m referring to, as well as a few photos of redevelopment around other parts of Seoul.

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