Home make-overs: DPRK edition

In the last twenty years, a number of 1960s-era, Soviet-style houses in the DPRK’s elite housing compounds have been upgraded into more “western-contemporary” housing.  For example, compare Kenji Fujimoto’s 1989 Kangdong photo (below) with a 2004 image from Google Earth:




Judging from Google Earth imagery, this process is largely completed, though there still appear to be a few locations that that have not been remodeled.  Looking at Onchon County (below) we can see that the reconstruction of old-style compounds was still under way as of 2005.  The house on the left of both photos appears to already be upgraded in 2002, but by 2005 the unit on the right of the first photo (below) has been completely leveled.  Reconstruction of this residence was probably underway into early 2006. 



I do not know the calculus used to determine which residencies are updated, neither in degree nor order.  I am also immediately unaware of which organization/s is/are responsible for construction/maintenance of these facilities.  A KPA unit built Sihanouk’s palace on Lake Changsuwon, and it is reasonable to believe the same unit constructed in the above locations as well.  If any readers have more information on this, please let me know.

UPDATE: (Hat tip to Mike) “The residences are either constructed on commission or they are presented to KJI, or some other CCKWP cadre, as a gift.  KJI, his family, members of the Kang and Jang families, long time CCKWP members and select intelligence/security appartus officials are known to have designated homes.

The home are constructed by KPA construction units (like Changsuwon) in cooperation with civilian crews under the auspices of the Escort/Bodyguard Bureau.  Some members of the civilian crews also work on the large monuments in the DPRK, and overseas.   When the homes are built or renovated on commission, the financing comes from the CCKWP offices.  A lot of the fixtures and furnishings are purchased through SOE’s or  by discreet MOFA officers.  A lot of these purchases are conducted in Beijing, Moscow, Geneva, Vienna and Paris. “

Not to draw to stark a comparison, but the reverse process is also evident through dated satellite photos.  This warehouse/factory near the Bukchang Thermal Power Plant has clearly fallen into disrepair (and possible asset stripping) between 2002 and 2005.




2 Responses to “Home make-overs: DPRK edition”

  1. E-Verify says:

    This photo shown was telling about our population and the age of our earth.