Shim Teo as a Social Catalyst for the Elderly of Korea
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Korean society can be described as a society that is built on the idea of 'care' and ‘share’. From the centuries-old constitution which declared Korea to be a 'country embracing filial duties' and an old saying of 'respecting the elderly', the care for the most vulnerable members of the population is evident throughout Korea's history and public space. As Korea embraces the digitalization of critical services and infrastructures, along with the redevelopment of traditional markets and sites, the aging population is now being pushed away from the rest of society. With the overall increase of the aging population, as well as the depression arising from the aging population, this predicament ultimately poses a pressing question for Korean society: how do we best care for our elderly? This thesis looks at the 'Shim Teos' (directly translated as 'Rest Stops'), as an answer to the isolation faced by the aging population of Korea. 'Shim Teos' are highly functional urban furniture implemented by the government. They are typically placed in places of congregation and high traffic public spaces for the citizens to rest in or take shelter in. The concept of the Shim Teos was conceived from a society built on the idea of care for its citizens. This thesis will explore different types of Shim Teos in relation to three socially and environmentally distinct sites, Seoul Peace Park, Suwon Terminal, and Suwon Neungsil Village, through in-person site visits, site documentations and mapping. Different site conditions will be cross-referenced with different types of Shim Teos placed in the site, as well as the success of the Shim Teos, in terms of how well used they are. This thesis will also explore the evolution and cultural significance of older forms of Shim Teos through Korea's Genre Painting, 'Poong Sok Hwa'. From this research, a series of new designs of Shim Teos will emerge, which will not only be a place for the aging population to reconnect with society, but will also be more attuned to the elderly's physical needs, and a place for the newer generation to reconnect with Korean culture.
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Bogyeong Lee (2023). Shim Teo as a Social Catalyst for the Elderly of Korea. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/19097