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  • Digging through some old photos, I found this photo I took in 1994, of the Mapo area, in Seoul.

    The area has since been demolished to make way for ubiquitous, featureless apartment blocks that characterize so much of city.

    When we think of organic, we usually think of organically-grown produce, but these are organically-grown settlements where paths follow the contours of the landscape and houses never meet at right angles. Walls separate livelihoods but not lives, permeable and overlapping.

    The word for a squatter-town in Korean is dal dong-nae and means homes built on steep hillsides, its residents too poor to build on flat lands. Read out loud, it actually sounds like "moon village", dal being the word for moon.

    Now only the moon knows where the villages have disappeared to.
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