Photos Document Gangnam’s Change in Style

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

As Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ continues to somehow make headlines, Seoul’s famously affluent district is also gaining its fair share of attention as more and more people ask ‘what’s a “gangnam”?’.

One of the biggest internet communities on the Korean portal site Daum,  ‘Truth or oddity’, posted some old photos of Gangnam and its development. A membership to the community is needed to view the original post.

From Daum:

Photos of Gangnam’s Development

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

The word Gangnam originally denoted the southern part of the Han River. Before the meaning of the word was reduced to Songpa-gu, Seocho-gu, and Gangnam-gu, ‘Youngdong’ (meaning east of Youngdeungpo) was commonly used to indicate that area.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

UN troops waiting in Sinsa-dong, right before the recovery of Seoul on September 25, 1950.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Cool aerial photo of Gangnam and Jamsil in 1960.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Near the Sinsa intersection in 1960.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Gangnam used to be full of poor, straw-roof houses. Before the construction of the third Han-river Bridge [old name for the Hannam Bridge], the fastest way to go to Sinsa-dong from Hannam-dong was by rowing boat (August 13th 1962).

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

The third Han-river Bridge, connecting Sinsa-dong and Hannam-dong (December 26th 1969).

The Park Chung-hee era

Gangnam started changing dramatically from now on.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Park Chung-hee observing the ‘City Plan Model’ exhibition in 1969.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

The development of Gangnam officially took off.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Sinsa-dong in development: there only seems a dirt field so far.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Starting construction of the Seoul-Busan Expressway (Gyeongbu Expressway) in October 15th in 1968.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Expressway constructions, including the Seoul-Busan Expressway:

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Straw-roof houses started to slowly disappear.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

The construction of the Government Employee’s Apartment was completed in December 1971.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Banpo Apartment and parts of Gangnam Apartment communities were built. (May 25th 1972)

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

The opening of the Jamsil Bridge on July 1st 1972.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

The Jamsil Bridge and the adjacent area in 1972.

With time, Gangnam started changing.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Jamwon-dong back in the day.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

This is the famous Apgujeong… with a farmer ploughing the fields…(1978)

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

During development, modern buildings and people with old-fashioned lifestyles brought about this visual irony.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

The area surrounding the Gangnam Bus Terminal.

Post 1988 Seoul Olympics.

The Gangnam that we know today started emerging in 1988.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

As the Olympics spurred the growth of the Gangnam economy, more modern buildings were raised in the area.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Samsung-dong, Gangnam-gu in 1989, the Grand Intercontinental Seoul and the World Trade Center Seoul in construction.

Modern Gangnam.

Today’s Gangnam has reached an apex in real estate prices, population and density and now boasts one of the highest real estate prices in the nation.

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Development of Gangnam, Seoul

Comments from Daum:

껴냐니텨리:

Personally, I prefer the old Gangnam over the modern one, with rowing boats floating around..

폴더폰 :

I agree with the comment above, although modern Gangnam is nice and a convenient place to live…

달빛샤워 :

I knew Gangnam used to be countryside, yet these pictures allow me to feel such a palpable difference duh duh I also heard Jangseungbaegi station used to be the outskirts of Seoul where wild tigers often visited.

다내끄야감자튀김 :

Something about these pictures makes me sad.

작업아닌 작전 오늘밤 지나면 대반전:

Oh… I’ve heard about those times, but seeing these photos gives it a whole different feeling!! ke ke ke ke ke ke

대학수학능력시험칠남고딩(18세) :

Cool.

니네누나:

The population living in Gangnam is too dense. It would’ve been much better if they put more effort on preserving the old looks of the area.

긷연아 :

How an earth…

나는낮만고양이:

One of those straw-roof houses should’ve been my family’s property.

쿡..너내꺼해라:

Ah there’s too many people and cars whenever I go to Gangnam.

MIKA(영국인,29세,191cm,자체발광) :

Now the area is all covered in steel, concrete, and glass.

맛있는오의지:

Wow… in less than a hundred years…

우주(100,000,000,000,000세):

I want to go and have fun in Gangnam someday. ㅠㅠ

XIA준수:

On one hand, the transformation is amazing. On the other, it’s a shame there aren’t any traces of the old Gangnam.

나츠메 우인장:

Wow ㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠ

태양계(50,000,000,000세):

Whoa that staircase-shaped building I’ve seen often is a way older than I thought. keke I thought it’s built in the early 2000s.

서초고등학교:

I like the new looks more.

솔로부대:

I can see how fast Korea has developed.

MIKA[29세]:

Hoel… my house is over there..It’s built in 1972? ke ke ke ke ke Oh dear god.. That’s why there are cracks everywhere… ㅠㅠ

뭐라굽요:

My ex-boss said the ground of Gangnam is extremely unstable, and the area will collapse someday. He said his acquaintance works for that kind of industry, I mean, examining ground stability; he heard that Gangnam is already unstable itself and there are too many subway stations on top of it ke ke

Share This Article
Help us maintain a vibrant and dynamic discussion section that is accessible and enjoyable to the majority of our readers. Please review our Comment Policy »
  • Brett Sanbon

    At least we didn’t have to listen to that damned song. Thanks you Noori!

    • k

      lol, my husband thinks the same way about oppa gangnam style. I’m not allowed to play it when he is in the room, he hears it 10000 a day at work. I liked Gangnam when I visited it a few times, it’s very…exciting. But some of the people there…not so much. I visited once and was shopping, and I can’t tell you how many times the Korean princess divas would shove past me with their designer bags and oversized sun glasses. I ate a revolving sushi restaurant once there, it was really good ^_^

      • k

        ^at….i can’t actually eat a whole restaurant.

      • k

        ^at….i can’t actually eat a whole restaurant. Amazing how that one “t” changes the whole meaning of a sentence.

        • Noori

          I thought you were metaphorically speaking :) Oh, and I love your new photo! It looks more friendly than the one with a black cat in it lol

    • Noori

      hahaha I’m getting tired of that song too!

  • glenn

    Too many buildings in Gangnam and no proper landscaping and city planning.
    The developers are like, ” Oh .. there is an empty space.Let’s have our building there.”

  • Ruaraidh

    Why would anyone want to live there? No grass or woods or moorland, it makes me sad just to think about it.

  • lonetrey

    Eh. Open area countryside makes me nervous, depressed, and lonely. If I lived in that area, I’d be glad for the urbanization.

    But that’s just me. Everyone has their own lifestyle preferences.

    • AmericanBoy

      I am the same way to an extent.

  • Stories of butts

    Pretty good set, interesting to see the transgression from countryside to city.

  • Joey

    It’s a shame there’s nothing in between the “look three big buildings” and “oh fuck this entire area is covered with skyscrapers” pictures :(

  • Anonton

    Now this is much more interesting than pitching up a tent.

    I really liked going to gangnam because of those media pole things. Gangnam was one of the biggest contrasts to my home town.

  • Pingback: 10 things every Canadian should know about Gangnam « Korea-Canada 50th Anniversary Blog

  • Pingback: The Giant Scale Economic Experiment at the Korean Peninsula | Financelab

Personals @ chinaSMACK - Meet people, make friends, find lovers? Don't be so serious!»