Another Abandoned Neighborhood in Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul

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IT’S BEEN a while, dear reader. Time to dust off the cobwebs of this site and add some fresh content! While one thing or another has deterred me from writing a post, I haven’t slowed down exploring neighborhoods. Since my last post, the Haengdang-dong and Samseon-dong neighborhoods are mostly gone. The Great Japan and Tatami Hanoks are demolished but will continue to live on in pictures and future writings. At the moment, I am keeping tabs on three or four redevelopment zones. I will be posting more about these areas in the coming weeks, months, possibly years. These locations are still in the early stages of demolition; today’s featured neighborhood still has some remaining residents.

Let’s move onto today’s featured exploration, another redevelopment in Dongdaemun-gu only a few minutes drive away from the previous post. It’s a small community built on the side of a hill, facing out towards a busy intersection. It’s a mixture of 70s/80s brick apartments and cinderblock houses that possibly date back earlier. Like so many old Korean neighborhoods, my favorite part of this area is the narrow, meandering alleyways. I’ve been to the site three times so far and am posting the pictures in order of my three visits so far. Not much has changed yet, but I will be writing a post or two when the demolition picks up. In the meantime here are the first set of photos dating back to early February where I was scouting it out, getting a feel for the area.

Eye-catching advertisement.
So pleasing to the eye, I had to get a photo from both sides.
An abandoned church I hesitant to check out on this first visit, that scooter in the lower-left spooked me from going any further.

Over a month later, I came back and all signs pointed to the church deserted, so I hopped the fence and made a go at it. The church was empty except for a few banners, and the accompanying daycare was also bare. I loved the magic mushroom decor in one of the daycare’s rooms.

It was a perfectly timed second visit. Magnolias, cherry blossoms, and wisteria were blooming, and it was a warm early spring day, free from yellow dust. Besides the church, I wandered into a few houses and got a great view of the half-bowl-shaped neighborhood. It was just lovely to be out and about the streets and pathways of this neighborhood.

In my most recent exploration, not much has changed, but we did catch a glimpse of black vested security guards based in another abandoned church in the neighborhood. They aren’t doing their job well, which is great for us as we walked around countless CCTVs and did not attract a single guard. I guess that they do half-hearted patrols of the area hourly, but never in detail. After seeing the guards, my wife and I kept walking on main roads, exploring a section on top of the bowl we hadn’t seen before. I was investigating the scenes, and my wife listened to an older woman’s monologue about what’s wrong with the youth today.

Kwan Seum Bosal’s hand.
I was trying to get a good photo of the wisteria in bloom. Here’s the first attempt.

And the second attempt.

Until the next post, why don’t you pick up the latest issue of The Bulldozed Future, number 2! or complete it with a copy of the inaugural issue? Both issues are available in PDF form through Gumroad. If you are in Korea, physical copies are also available for purchase. Get in touch!

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