Though PSY’s massively viral "Gangnam Style" has long disappeared from the headlines, the fanaticism around K-pop hasn’t exactly died down. In fact, South Korea’s entertainment industry adds billions of dollars to the country’s economy each year, with pop stars helping to sell everything from TV shows and beauty products to snacks and Samsung phones. And soon, the government hopes to use K-pop’s amazing marketability to do some serious urban redevelopment.
As CityLab reports, Seoul has announced plans to turn Changdong, a neighborhood on the northern outskirts that has fallen behind other parts of the city in growth, into a bonafide K-pop capital. The main idea? Boost jobs and the economy in the area by engineering a whole lot of entertainment tourism.
Moving forward, the government is looking into building a 20,000-seat arena that will host concerts a 200 days a year. Other ideas include creating a K-pop museum and a contemporary music school like Boston’s Berklee College of Music, as well as encouraging pop stars to move into the area (though that may not be the soundest suggestion given K-pop’s notoriously overzealous fans.) As one government official told the press, they’ll be studying Liverpool—dubbed "City of Pop" by the Guinness World Records—and Austin—the self-proclaimed "Live Music Capital of the World"—as models.
This past April, the city already opened "Platform Changdong 61" in the area, which houses a concert hall, recording studios, galleries, restaurants, and more in an assemblage of vibrantly painted shipping containers. You can say it’s a taste of what’s to come. Have a look at the complex below.
And live music, of course: