A Back-to-the-City Movement: Some Proofs and Potentials of New Eco-Villages in American Cities

47 2 T Recycling Sarah Ichioka 2

This exhibition welcomes Seoulites to the urban eco-village movement, with inspiration from two current examples in the United States. The “eco-village” movement, a loosely-organized global phenomenon with roots in the 1960s, has tended to manifest in rural areas. In recent years however, several intentional communities developed within mature cities, such as the Los Angeles Eco-Village—established 1993, in the Koreatown of that Californian city—have seen existing neighborhoods progressively activated by people seeking ways of life that prioritize environmental integrity and social connection over material consumption. Of necessity, and often by design—including governing principles of justice and education— such urban eco-villages exhibit social and economic engagement with individuals and institutions beyond their self-selected residents.

The installation draws inspiration from the ethos and functions of the “common house” that is a key component of many intentional communities. The domestic-scaled building, embedded within Donuimun Museum Village, approximates the position of a common house within the urban eco-villages studied. It offers relaxation, resource and encounter. At the same time it aims to subvert some tropes of a typical new-build residential marketing suite, showcasing the appeal of life in a "recycled" urban eco-village. For affordability as well as ethos, many of the exhibition’s components have been diverted from local waste-streams and will be repurposed when the Biennale ends.