A Study on the Place Identity of Tapgol Park - Focused on the Phenomena after Sacralization Project -

탑골공원의 장소 정체성에 대한 연구 - 성역화사업 이후 현상을 중심으로 -

  • Received : 2016.02.23
  • Accepted : 2016.06.20
  • Published : 2016.06.30


As the first public park in Korea, birth place of the march first independence movement, and a representative space of leisure of old men, Tapgol Park contains diverse symbolisms and meanings. In 2000, Seoul authorities selected the symbolism of the March First independence movement, and carried forward the sacralization project of Tapgol Park. They eliminated facilities, including vending machines, and restricted most of the leisure activities in the park such as drinking singing dancing, speech, playing chess, writing calligraphy, etc., and loitering. Also, they changed the park's design into a less available space with green areas and switched wooden benches to granite stone. Since the project finished, a representative phenomenon was the elderly men's exodus to Jongmyo Park, where the restrictions were not strong as in Tapgol Park. As a result, the numbers of users in Tapgol Park decreased sharply. However, overcrowded(more than 3000) Jongmyo Park is also in the middle of a sacralization project now. According to an investigation including observation and in-depth interview, most of the elderly men who use the parks almost everyday were in the low economic class. They just visit the parks everyday and chat with their peers, gaining comfort from each other. These phenomena can be interpreted as a social exclusion in society, which made the elderly men move to another place. Meanwhile, although fifteen years has passed since the project was completed, many people still regard the Tapgol Park as a place for elderly men instead of the birth place of the March First Independence Movement. This study focused on such problems and vague place identity, which is neither a memorial place nor a public park. The study discovery the fact they missed the symbolism that Tapgol Park was the first urban park of Korea. Also, it stresses that the monumentality does not need to be sacred, reverent, or inflexible. With this point of view, this study discussed public aspect and everydayness, which are included in most of the urban parks. Finally, this study suggests Tapgol Park as an urban park that has an identity that embraces the condition of monumentality, everydayness, and publicness all together.


Elderly Men;Symbolism;Public Aspect;Everydayness;Monumentality


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