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Title: History and conservation of gardens in Korea
Author: Yoon, Sang-Jun
ISNI:       0000 0004 2676 9723
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2009
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An assessment of the conservation of historic gardens in Korea reveals that this is still in a rather rudimentary state; there appears to be a general lack of understanding about historic gardens, about what is important within them and how their value may best be preserved. The official understanding of historic gardens is as tangible artefacts, yet art historical aspects of gardens are rarely a consideration even though there is a basic understanding of significance of these issues. More importantly there appears to be a lack understanding of the importance of the social and cultural context of gardens. This thesis offers seeks to explore this context in order to review modem attitudes to historic gardens and their value, in terms of international and local, cultural and political ethics. The legal framework for garden conservation is subjected to critical review, with suggestions being made as to the way ahead. Korea has a rich garden heritage, yet modem historical writing fails to explain the economic, social, cultural and political contexts of gardens, or how they were created, improved and maintained. As a result only a few gardens have been officially recognized as heritage; there are only fourteen gardens amongst a total of some 9806 sites designated as tangible cultural heritage. Moreover, in these fourteen cases protection is reliant primarily on the fact that they form the curtilage of a protected building, rather than because of their own value. Thus those historic gardens that have been well preserved owe their state of conservation to the fact that they are included in cultural heritage sites which have been designated on the basis of other elements' perceived value. Another consequence of the value of gardens not being recognized is that their full potential as tourist destinations has not been realized. Without concerted efforts to promote gardens it is unlikely that they will be properly protected. With the majority of people in Korea living high above the ground in apartment buildings, it requires considerable thought as to how they might become interested in historic garden culture. Yet with issues of global warming and sustainability causing increasing concern, energy consuming apartment living is perhaps an outmoded way of life that should be reconsidered. The historic courtyard typology, adapted to local climate conditions, should once again be considered as aú model for development. This would also enable a more sustained revival of local garden culture. This research identifies five ways of developing the conservation of historic gardens in Korea: first, historic gardens must be identified; conservation ethics must be reconsidered so that they take better account of garden heritage, particularly taking account of the proposed Global Landscape Charter; education and academic research is an essential basis for the understanding of historic gardens' conservation, and must be promoted; and the contribution a revival of garden culture can make to a sustainable future should be recognized. It will be a consequence of the shift in perspective that a greater understanding of the contribution gardens have made, that the high-rise building typology which has dominated Korea's development in the past halfcentury can be reassessed. Instead of seeing it as a reactive solution, we can gain much from incorporating conservation and its values as part of process which is integral to a sustainable future.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available