Shaping Seoul’s memories: the co-evolution of memorials, national identity, democracy and urban space in South Korea’s capital city

Quentin Stevens, Shanti Sumartojo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the evolving subjects, forms, symbolism, and spatial constellation of the diverse memorials erected in Seoul since 1953. It explores how these memorials have expressed shifts in national identity towards democracy since the end of dictatorship in 1987. It illustrates how commemorative intentions in this massive, rapidly-changing metropolis have intersected with other urban design aims and pressures. The analysis reveals an evolutionary progression in memorial themes, from heroic statues that re-establish roots of Korean national identity and independence, to marginal grassroots memorials and wider themed precincts that present more inclusive, democratic, complex narratives of identity and history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-777
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Urban Design
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

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