Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Architecture | Cultural Resource Management and Policy Analysis | Environmental Design | Urban, Community and Regional Planning
The demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea has been absent of any human development for 53 years. When the reunification between two divided nations occurs in the future, the land that stands as a buffer zone will become of interest to many as a potential open site for the beginnings of a new urban city, industrial complex, consumerism, and massive infrastructure. In other words, the DMZ is most likely to be consumed by its neighboring urban cities to meet the immediate needs of urban development and growth. However, it would be a shame if the last untouched landscape will disappear in seconds as soon as reunification opens up the borders of separation. This thesis concentrates on how the preservation of the border as an unmodified landscape, yet a place for local economies and culture bring the opportunity for rethink the border as an ecological district. The first question that I asked myself is what really lives within these borders and how architecture can become a framework that facilitates as an activator in preserving and enhancing the landscape and its people? Secondly, how much of the land should remain preserved and how much should be developed? Third, how can architecture work as a framework to restrict modification of the land and still attract outsiders to visit and connect with the local workers and residents of the DMZ? I also address the following issues in my thesis and how the Korean DMZ should be readdressed as a livable, yet preserved zone in the future.
1. The DMZ has been untouched from human involvement for 55 years. The CCZ (territories surrounding the DMZ with strict zoning regulations for civilian use and access) has naturally evolved as a reservoir for wildlife
2. 60% of Asia's endangered species reside in the DMZ and CCZ. Even migratory birds from Africa and Middle East seasonally visit the site.
3. The DMZ has attracted outsiders-- international and national audience-- to participate in eco-tourism. Many sites of the DMZ have become an eco-destination that interactively engages visitors with the local culture and economy. Investors have been seeking to develop this growing tourist economy.
4. Mainstream tourism and urban encroachment can lead to depreciated local economy and culture that is important for sustaining the ecology of the environment within the CCZ.
Min, Sunchung Christine, "Modus Vivendi: Ecological Intervention in the Future Korean DMZ" (2012). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 115.
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