Headline November 15, 2016/ ''' *SEOUL* -SWALLOWS- SHANTY* '''


THE CRESCENTS OF CRISES  - sluggish economies, over-population, illiteracy, strife, poor governance-

Divisiveness, poor planning, and lack of great managers- has enabled slums, and shanty towns to grow all over the world. And to all this 

IRA SOHN  -PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS AND FINANCE  -Montclair State University   -makes some sterling points, that I bring forth when I sum up this writing.

*So, in Seoul's shanty towns, after decades trying to get rid of slums, moves are now afoot to preserve them* In a historical sweep.......

FEW BUILDINGS IN SEOUL were left standing in 1953 after the Korean War ravaged the city.

Since then, it has been relentless construction. Office blocks were built on land cleared of slums, and traditional homes replaced by blocks of flats.

The mayor, Park Won soon, deplores this  ''reckless''  development and wants to save what he can of Seoul's heritage historic buildings and also some shanty towns.

One such is Baeksa village, which has clung to the flanks of Mount Buram since the 1960s. It was built by the first wave of Seoul's displaced urban poor. Each family got  *a small plot of land and 200 bricks*.

Over 2,000 people still live in the sloping streets of the village. Little has changed since 1967, when  Lee Sang Koo arrived. Now in her 50s, she lives alone.

One of her children has moved, as many do, to the city. Ms Lee's house is made of cinder blocks and a corrugated-iron roof. She farms a small garden and shares an outdoor privy with the neighbours.

There have been plans to raze these hillside hamlets, known as *daldongnae, or moon villages, for their privileged view of the night sky. But they have survived thanks to rocky terrain and green belt restrictions.

Mr. Park, the mayor, last year appointed city's first official architect, Seung H Sang. A committee under Mr. Park now oversees bids for all public projects, and can oppose those deemed-

Inconsistent with the city's history and natural landscape  -something Mr. Park says the city could not control in the past.

In February last, he designated a  150 historic spots for conservation as ''future heritage'',  including the capital's oldest  barbershop and a bookshop set up during the  Korean War.

In Baeksa. Mr. Seung leads a team of 12 architects in a revitalization project. Two-thirds of the village is to be razed by a state-run property developer and turned into high-rise dwellings.

A third will be left intact, but each home in that part will be rebuilt. Mr. Seung insists on keeping the village's broad layout: 

Its topography and plots, in existing walls and winding streets. Villagers' lives have been surveyed to ensure the new buildings are appropriate. 
Mr. Seung wants the revamped area to attract not just the poor, but students, foreigners and artists.

Some urban planners mock such nostalgia. But Francisco Sanin, a Colombian architect on Mr. Seng's team, says Baeksa can inspire regeneration in other parts of South Korea, and beyond, with its communal kitchens, vegetable gardens and public patios.

Mr. Parks preservation push does not mean skimping on malls and other construction. He has approved a convention and museum complex to rival Marina Bay, a vast edifice in Singapore.

Thousands of low cost homes will be built in Guryong, another shanty town which has just been razed.

In Baeksa, meanwhile, there are concerns that preservation efforts have come too late. Eight year old Ha Jae- eun says, she loves to play hide and seek in the village.

But there few other children to play with and she, too, wants to leave one day for the bright lights of the city.

And now to professor Ira Sohn's observations:
One of the most important factors that  ''naturally''  suppresses a nation's fertility rate is how fast a country's urban population is growing. In 1981, Two years after the one-child policy was introduced, China's  urban population was 20% of the total.

This rose to 55%  in 2015 and the fertility rate stood at 1.5. Taiwan's urban population in 2015, was in excess of 80%, and it had fertility rate of 1.1  without a forced family planning programme.

Urbanisation operates as an automatic population stabiliser, not unlike the automatic fiscal stabiliser of unemployment benefit in macroeconomic policy, and limits household size because of space constraints.

With its future rate of  urbanisation expected  to rise further, China should expect only a limited rise in its fertility rate towards 2.1, the ''replacement'' rate are required to sustain population levels.

For a more promising strategy to mitigate their looming shortage of workers [and future taxpayers].

Chinese officials might want to consider taking a few hundred thousand refugees and  asylum-seekers  from the Middle East and north Africa over the next decade.

Thank you, Professor! Why not?

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and Twitter-!E-WOW!  -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Prioritizing '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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