Aged and abandoned apartments in urban areas have been converted into cultural spaces and have regained vitality. Their successful transformation is drawing attention as a good example of urban regeneration.
A 50-year-old apartment in the old town of Busan... On top of its location on a high hill, it is narrow and dated. One out of four houses are empty and abandoned. The apartment is usually quiet, since most of its residents are elderly people. However, it is packed with people today, as the empty house was transformed into a venue for a soap flower making class. Elderly women living in the apartment and young homemakers from a nearby neighborhood gather together to take the class.
[Soundbite] KWON MYUNG-JA(LOCAL RESIDENT(74 YEARS OLD)) : "I like that I can learn how to arrange flowers, which I couldn't afford when I was young. It is also good that we can spend time together with young people."
In another room, a puppet show is being staged to tell the stories of native residents in the old community. This house has been converted into a photo exhibition hall, after being abandoned for over two years. The photographer traveled around the neighborhood and took photos, vividly capturing the lives of residents. Three abandoned apartments have been transformed into cultural spaces in a month.
[Soundbite] YOON CHANG-SOO(PHOTOGRAPHER) : "I wanted to show the changes cultural activities could bring to an old region with a large number of abandoned houses, like this."
In collaboration with the city's government, the Busan Cultural Foundation will convert more abandoned houses in the old town into cultural and art spaces as part of an urban regeneration project.