Seoul’s morphology as ‘Apartment Complex City’ shaped by housing development methods


  • Soe Won Hwang Seoul National University



Seoul has materialized a unique built form on its urban terrain through aggressively constructing apartment complexes, a large-scale, single-parcel private territory, over the last half-a-century. The historical formation of apartment complexes differs significantly based on elements such as the development policies in each period, development mechanisms, the degree of public control, and the extent of private engagement. The research will examine the consequences of the entire ‘apartment complexes’ in Seoul and their morphological characteristics, particularly affected by development methods over time. The analysis is composed of (1) basic historical overview on planning policies and development methods that principally encouraged the apartment complex construction in the context of Seoul’s urban expansion since the 1970s and (2) morphological attribute of Seoul’s entire apartment complexes (2,172). The formal characteristics of apartment complexes are analysed in term of such morphological elements as plot (apartment complex as single parcel), building, street and density among others. The morphological characteristic in relation to development method provides insights related to genesis aspects of apartment complex emergence regarding its morphological characteristics. By focusing on morphological aspect, the study intends to examine the spatial manifestation of massive apartment complex building that has formed and transformed Seoul over the modernization years