They conceive of urban space as space owned by the public, not space for real estate development. — Dongwoo Yim, NK News
Much of the North Korean news that reaches the United States reads like tabloid hearsay, as glimpses of a totalitarian dictatorship rife with human rights violations are peeked through Dennis Rodman and military showboating. NK News, an independent and private news source based in Washington, D.C., is unique to both online journalism and treatment of its subject, in its rigorous and impressively connected focus on North Korean life and policy. Written from sources both in and out of the DPRK, NK News will most certainly get you to think differently about North Korea.
In part one of his interview with Dongwoo Yim, founder of the firm PRAUD and author of Pyongyang, and Pyongyang After, NK News' Academic / Research Director Gianluca Spezza takes a step back from current politics to ask Yim about the past and future of capital city Pyongyang's urban development. If Korea were to reunify, how would Pyongyang posture itself against Seoul, South Korea's megapolis capital?
Most of North Korea's larger cities' were destroyed by the Korean War, and the urban spaces developed on a socialist paradigm during the Cold War. Yim and Spezza's conversation focuses on the use of public space in a socialist society, Pyongyang's adaptation to a slow growth in private markets and worldwide communications, and how capitalist societies can benefit from cherry-picking tropes of socialist planning.
More on Korea and public urbanism from Archinect's coverage of the Gwangju Folly project.