Mullae-dong flourished as a large factory district in the 1970s and 1990s, with an advanced metal processing technology. It is often said that “people are the only things that cannot be made,” but the metal processing plants that filled the streets of Mullae-dong shut down one after another due to the industrial structure that began to change in the 2000s. The artists who used to be active in Hongik University have moved here to fill the vacancies. The younger artists who could not afford the expensive rent in the Hongik University area settled in Mullaedong, with relatively affordable rent rates, eventually creating “Mullae Creative Town.” Since 2010, Seoul City has been operating Mullae Creative Town in the remodeled shopping center for metal materials, and Mullae Art Space, a creative space for many local and international artists. Seoul City and the artists at Mullae Creative Town are working together for the development of Mullae-dong. About 250 artists are currently working together at the town, including painters, illustrators, designers, dancers, actors, photographers, and various artists. Creative spaces of artists are not the only places found in the district. The sound of refining and welding steel can still be heard every day. Since before the coming of creative artists to the district, Mullae-dong has been the home of people who have been operating steelworks and doing their jobs for a long time. This is probably why the artists in Mullae-dong have not concentrated only in their creative activities. They have also embroidered the narrow alleyways, the concrete walls, the floors of rooftops, and the shutters of the steelworks with colorful pictures.
The steel signs and structures created by the artists with the skills of steelmakers provide unique things to see on the streets. Some buildings allow free access to the rooftops filled with the rooftop murals, installations, and urban farms of the artists. It may be disappointing, however, as it is nothing like Ihwa-dong Mural Village in Seoulor Gamcheon Cultural Village in Busan just because there are murals and installations. There are factory lots that are stuck between being old and filthy, and the murals are easy to miss because they are hiding in the alleyways. Nevertheless, the view of Mullae Creative Town, which displays the flow of time in the heart of Seoul, has its unique sentiment and ambiance. Mullae Creative Town boasts various things to see and enjoy besides the street art, such as exhibitions, plays, performances, and music concerts.