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What is it like to live in Pyongyang? Two recent events explored “ordinary life” in the city

Architects and urban planners met in Seoul to discuss the North Korean capital—and political tensions on the peninsula

By Owen Hatherley  

Visitors bowing in a show of respect for North Korean leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il on Mansudae (Mansu Hill) in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, Wikimedia Commons

The week before Donald Trump’s tour of South Korea, I attended a series of events held across Seoul on architecture and urban planning. The specific focus was Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. Rather than an eccentric side-issue to the march to war on the Korean peninsula, the events revealed something unexpected—an attempt to understand and build links with the “enemy,” rather than caricature and demonise them.


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