SEOUL, Jul. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — Local residents in the neighborhood of Mangwon are expressing concerns over the widely spread nickname ‘Mangridan-gil’ as signs of gentrification have emerged in recent months, with some accusing map service providers like Naver of causing a nuisance by making use of the unofficial name, which attracts tourists and has contributed to raising rents.
The controversial nickname after Gyeongnidan in Itaewon due to the similar atmosphere has sown division between the local community and visitors, as critics claim that web portals are accelerating gentrification in the area by pushing the use of the nickname while proponents argue the newly earned nickname is beneficial to the local economy.
According to local sources, a post was uploaded recently on a Facebook page with over 20,000 followers called ‘I like Mangwon-dong’, which shared a failed attempt to stop South Korean search giant Naver from using the term ‘Mangridan-gil’ on its online map service.
The post, which was written in Korean, read, “I asked Naver Maps to edit information and stop the use of ‘Mangridan-gil’, but Naver refused.
“(They cited) ‘Mangridan-gil’ as being a popular search term to justify their decision.”
The poster argued Naver’s policy is – regardless of intent – taking a stance in favor of accelerating the gentrification of Mangwon.
Mangridan-gil is being widely used to refer to areas surrounding Poeun-ro in Mangwon, with the nickname originating from Gyeongnidan, as both areas share a number of trendy cafes with interesting interior design, despite the fact that Mangridan and Gyeongnidan are not officially recognized names.
As search engine giants in South Korea such as Naver and Daum continue to use the nickname in response to a growing number of users favoring the familiar term, some local residents are going one step further, with one local residents’ association reportedly collecting signatures to call for a petition banning the nickname’s use by web services companies.
“Though not a single resident seems to know where Mangridan-gil is exactly, the name is being used to bring about gentrification. Over the last year, the rent in the shopping district has gone up 21 percent,” the group argued.
Park, a local resident in her early 20s, says, “I have experienced inconvenience as a local resident, including noise and traffic congestion since the name ‘Mangridan-gil’ took off. Stimulating the local economy is important, but to what end seems to be the question.”
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)