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Public developers face criticism for giving apartments non-Korean names

Xii apartment by GS E&C / Screen capture from GS E&C website

Public real estate developers are facing criticism for their growing penchant for adopting non-Korean names for their apartments and residential complexes, a trend that mirrors the controversial strategy long employed by private builders to make facilities sound more luxurious, according to industry officials Wednesday.Experts said the practice has deepened the concerns surrounding the naming method that tarnishes Korean diction.The developers that recently adopted the practice are the Seoul Housing & Communities Corp. (SH), under the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), and Korea Land & Housing Corp. (LH), under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.They said the practice is making the country’s local apartment towns more difficult to remember and even pronounce and that the public firms that had proposed using more Korean words have reneged on their own ideas.

“Apartment names are also part of varying trends, and consumers tend to believe that (foreign-language) names make their apartment towns appear more luxurious and not so obsolete,” a Kwangwoon University professor teaching real estate laws said. “But as there are no legal forces banning such practice here, I think more (non-Korean) naming for apartments will continue for a while. I, however, agree that those with excessively hard-to-understand (foreign-language) names should be controlled by authorities.”According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), Wednesday, SH registered “Banghwa Sky Foret” as the name for a public rental housing town it has recently introduced in the Banghwa area in western Seoul. SH said the name reflects Banghwa’s proximity to Gimpo International Airport (sky) and Mount Gaehwa (foret) and received the most votes from the company employees and the town’s incoming residents.SH said that there were other candidates with Korean names, but the foreign-language candidate won out.LH has recently named its new public housing in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, “Foelln,” the name the majority of incoming residents favored.

LH has been lenient in changing the names of public housing apartment towns it had built to cater to its residents’ needs for making their towns look more luxurious.The company said it last year erased “LH” from the names of 30 apartment towns it had built. It also said it plans to change the names of two other apartment towns it had built within this year.”People living in apartment towns built under public housing projects by either LH or SH don’t want the company names showing on their buildings,” an industry expert said. “They want the image of public housing gone from where they live. And they think showing a fancy foreign name on their apartment buildings helps.”The SMG and the land ministry previously encouraged construction firms to use more Korean words when naming their building structures.The SMG in March published a guidebook that encouraged using either authentic Korean or proper nouns. The guidebook pointed out that some of the most frequently used non-Korean words for local neighborhoods here, like “central,” “park,” “river” or “the first,” make it difficult to differentiate different towns or 스포츠토토존 regions.

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