City farming and sustainable urban development : a case study of Seoul, South Korea
The aims of the thesis are to find out the causal mechanism of city farming and to examine the hypothesis that city farming conforms to the conditions of sustainable urban development. As far as methodology is concerned, the thesis employs a realist approach. In the realist methodology, to understand what is as significant as to know why. Therefore, the thesis pays much attention to the conceptualisation of city farming and sustainable urban development. Vacant land in Seoul, the precondition of city farming, occurred basically through the natural process of urban expansion, but most importantly due to the growth-oriented land development policies. City farming is at the moment an opportunistic and illegal use of vacant land under the negligence of planning control. Led by a leading agent, the city farmers on each case site have colonised vacant land through the reality and practice learning. However, city farmers' egoistic action has an unintended consequence of making vacant land an unofficial open space. The thesis also identifies that city farming on the case sites conforms to the elements of sustainable urban development. The elements developed in the thesis are future, nature, participation, equity, and selfreliance. The thesis suggests three criteria for each element with which the hypothesis is examined. The thesis concludes that the modern planning system in South Korea has failed to take into consideration the socio-economic and environmental aspects of city farming. It, therefore, suggests that future planning system promote activities or projects which comply with the principles of sustainable urban development. Although the modern planning system in Seoul has failed to cope with the rapid land use change shown in the case studies, the thesis proposes that the planner's role has become more important than ever before in this age of environmental concerns.