Main content area

Critical junctures and path dependence in urban planning and housing policy: A review of greenbelts and New Towns in Korea’s Seoul metropolitan area

Choi, Chang Gyu, Lee, Sugie, Kim, Heungsoon, Seong, Eun Yeong
Land use policy 2019 v.80 pp. 195-204
case studies, green belt (land management), issues and policy, metropolitan areas, models, politics, urban planning, Korean Peninsula
This study reviews greenbelt and New Town policy in Korea’s Seoul Metropolitan Area as a case study by developing the step-wise critical juncture and path dependence repetition model originating in the historical institutionalism. The country is considered to be in a developmental state with significant power, and the capital region has been regarded as politically crucial, so the theory is more appropriately applied to the two policies’ changes rather than a gradual institutional developmental model. The results found that decisions on the two policies at the presidential level at critical junctures during times of political change were sustained and reinforced until the next juncture, following the path-dependent tendency across regimes and their political orientation. Because the New Town policy has dominated greenbelt policy since the most recent (third) critical juncture in 1997, the latter is vulnerable despite important environmental issues and a reversal is not expected to occur in the near future.