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Potential for local communities in rural areas: sustainable development of prison siting in South Korea

Eun Joo Park (Department of Architecture, Sejong University, Seoul, South Korea)
Jin Baek (Department of Architecture, College of Engineering, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea)

Open House International

ISSN: 0168-2601

Article publication date: 15 December 2022




Correctional facilities often constitute locally unwanted land use (LULUs), with local residents strongly demanding their relocation. Accordingly, the construction of correctional facilities is currently being promoted in regions that are far from city centres. Some local government officials consider relocating correctional facilities to rural areas as a golden opportunity to revitalise the economies of these areas. This paper focuses on the possibilities of local community participation in the sustainable development of prison siting in rural areas.


The methods and procedure of this study are as follows: (1) to review the relevant literature about regulations or cohesion policies when correctional facilities are constructed, (2) to examine the current issues relating to the conflict between correctional facilities and the local community from the perspective of LULUs and (3) to compare the construction processes of correctional facilities and public buildings in South Korea. The latter focuses on Daegu Correctional Facility as a site study through which to investigate how the facility interacted with the local community when the government decided to locate the correctional facility in a rural area.


The case study confirmed that communication methods between correctional facilities and stakeholders at each stage affected the occurrence and resolution of conflicts between them. In particular, it was found that correctional facilities in rural areas can transform the characteristics of the community by providing an open facility that serves community needs and boosts the local economy.


This study contributes to a new vision for locating correctional facilities, wherein conflicts are resolved through communication with local communities in rural regions. In addition, the study argues that community participation could allow correctional facilities to function as living hubs in the community and so benefit the residents of rural areas.



The authors acknowledge the Ministry of Justice of Korea Correctional Service for providing internal documents for this study.

Funding: This research was funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea, grant number NRF-2022R1G1A1003553.


Park, E.J. and Baek, J. (2022), "Potential for local communities in rural areas: sustainable development of prison siting in South Korea", Open House International, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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