AUTHOR: Dongwoo Yim
CONTEXT: PhD project at the accademia di architettura in Mendrisio, supervised by Prof. Sascha Roesler and Prof. Sonja Hildebrand
The research is to understand physical and socio-economic value of microdistrict, a socialist urban planning strategy for residential development, and see how it can be developed as an urban housing model in Pyongyang by reflecting the emerging micro production era. Since the 1960s, Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, is one of the few socialist cities where the microdistrict is well applied. However recent shifts toward adopting a market economy system has made Pyongyang lose part of its value as a microdistrict. As a model of building sustainable community, microdistrict is a residential complex model that was developed in Soviet Union and was spread out to socialist cities extensively during the postwar period, including North Korean cities after the Korean War. And historically, it was one of the urban structures that allowed Pyongyang to survive from a cycle of famines and sanctions. By providing socio-economic networks amongst neighbors microdistrict was able to remain less dependent on the nation’s economy and create its own self-sustainable co-op economy. These models that operate on co-ops, and co-production through the generation of microproduction movements are disappearing from Pyongyang as the city develops housing models driven by real estate values. And therefore, the research will focus on historic background of microdistrict, with understanding context of mixture between life and work, analyze cases in various socialist cities, and see the potential value of the microdistrict as urban housing model of Pyongyang.