The Korea Herald


[Korea Quiz] Homes in Korea

By Song Seung-hyun

Published : May 2, 2024 - 11:07

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Find the answer at the bottom.

Six out of every 10 South Korean nationals live in apartments, earning South Korea the nickname, "the Republic of Apartments."

According to law here, structures featuring multiple housing units per floor and standing at least five stories tall are considered apartments. Locals refer to them as “apateu.”

As of 2022, apartment homes made up 64 percent of Korea's 19.16 million homes, according to Statistics Korea.

Similar to many societal shifts in this country, the transition to apartment living occurred swiftly and on a massive scale.

Just five decades ago, in the 1970s, freestanding houses were the dominant type of housing in S. Korea, at 95.3 percent. Only 0.8 percent of homes were apartments.

The extensive construction of apartment complexes began as the country underwent rapid industrialization after the Korean War, and experienced a surge in rural-to-urban migration, specifically to Seoul, for economic opportunities.

To accommodate this influx, the Park Chung-hee government initiated apartment construction projects in the 1960s.

The first such project was the Mapo Apartment Complex, built in 1964.

It was comprised of 10 six-story buildings housing 642 families and offered amenities such as indoor plumbing and children's playgrounds, representing a departure from earlier housing options.

The 1970 construction of the Han River Mansion Apartments was also notable, as it was the first to implement a centralized boiler system for heating water in each building and significantly boosted the popularity of apartment living.

Despite the conveniences of apartment living, such as readily available hot water, it also meant forgoing private gardens and adapting to living according to near-universal, standardized floor plans, as well as dealing with conflicts associated with noise coming from neighboring units.

Answer: (a)