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Issue Report

Collection of full-length papers and in-depth analysis of economic and management issues.

New "Culture City" Initiative and Its Implications

New "Culture City" Initiative and Its Implications

JEON Young-Ok

Jan. 3, 2007

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Despite the clear goals set for "culture-based cities," some confusion still lingers over the appropriate strategies for creating such cities. In Korea, discussions to build 'culture cities' developed after 2000 in response to the nation's rising cultural needs. A majority of local governments embraced the idea of creating a 'culture city,' making it one of their priorities, such as Gwangju's state-led 'Culture-Centered City Establishment Project.'

However, government-initiated culture city projects have only resulted in the production of numerous cultural events, including the construction of large-scale cultural venues and industrial complexes, mainly due a failure to understand the unique attributes of Korean cities. In lieu of these situations, efforts should be made to develop new strategies that fit the unique features of each city.

A new definition of culture city should be based on the premise that the cities themselves are a cultural heritage reflecting the zeitgeist. Traditionally, the culture city referred to a city with a rich historical background and environment, similar to European cities.

Instead of adopting a purely physical infrastructure-based approach, the definition of a cultural city should encompass a more diverse meaning. Cultural aspects based in a city are defined as "urban cultural contents," these may serve as a driver to help build a cultural city.

The new culture city strategy starts with an analysis of the type of the urban cultural contents that grow spontaneously and rooted successfully in the domestic domain. Given the uniqueness of Korean cities, the spontaneously grown urban cultural contents have much more implications than advanced overseas models.

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