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Conflicts of Interest and Change in Original Intent: A Case Study of Vacant and Abandoned Homes Repurposed as Community Gardens in a Shrinking City, Daegu, South Korea

Lee, Jin-Wook, Sung, Jong-Sang
Sustainability 2017 v.9 no.11
case studies, cities, community gardens, governance, human resources, interviews, issues and policy, nonprofit corporations, public services and goods, residential areas, stakeholders, South Korea
As part of an urban policy designed to revive South Korea’s shrinking cities, vacant residential structures are being demolished and the resulting empty plots transformed into public spaces. This study discursively examines this process, its stakeholders, and the sources of conflict among them in the neighborhood of Daebong 2 in Daegu, South Korea. Additionally, solutions for maintaining public interest are explored. Employees and members of relevant municipal authorities and non-profit organizations (NPOs), as well as town residents, were selected through purposive sampling for interviews. The data were then analyzed via open coding. The results reveal conflict between users and non-users in terms of the possession of public goods, as well as conflict between project executives in the creation process. We also found that spatial and policy characteristics are a particular source of conflict in dense, historic residential areas. To overcome problems caused by rivalry and discord, the following actions are required: a change in perspective among policy practitioners; a governance structure that consists of a public/private/community partnership; consensus among community members, and; equitable welfare through programs based on inclusivity and public interest.