Monday, May 6, 2019

Twice upon a time in the West

The Minister of Land, Transport and Tourism came up with a new batch of developments for the capital region*, including new public transport projects, and unfortunately more instances of Korea's failed 'New Town' model, at the very moment the country experiences a slump in housing prices, and an oversupply of dwellings. The aim is actually to make sure the prices remain low for a while, which doesn't seem a bad idea, except that in Korea's speculative zero sum game, this necessarily means more losers, and more dead neighborhoods in the short, medium, and long term.

2 'New Towns', 26 small-to-medium-sized developments, 1 BRT, 1 subway line:

Following the first three announced last year (Incheon Gyeyang, Namyangju Wangsuk, Hanam Gyosan - in blue on the map below, which also shows future GTX lines), two more 'Greenfield New Towns'** will be created one kilometer West of Seoul, one on each side of the Han River (in red):
  • Goyang Changneung: 38,000 households in Deokyang-gu, Goyang (Yongdu-dong, Hwajeon-dong)
  • Bucheon Daejang: 20,000 households in Ojeong-gu, Bucheon (Daejang-dong, Wonjong-dong)

In a more acupunctural approach, 26 small and medium-sized residential projects shall add 51,517 households in already developed neighborhoods:


Transports-wise, the government's package proposes two new public transport lines, and road extensions:
  • a 17.3 km-long "S-BRT" line (NB does 'Super - Bus Rapid Transit' mean super dedicated infrastructures for buses?) between Gimpo Airport Station and Bucheon Sports Complex Station, around Gimpo Airport, with connections to subway lines 5, 9, and even 7 (Bucheon Stadium Station). It will also reach Cheongna BRT.
  • a new subway line will connect Goyang City Hall to Saejeol Station (Line 6), and intersect with Line 3, GTX-A, and Gyeongui Line at Daegok Station.
  • A new motorway will connect Baekseok-dong (Ilsan) to the Seoul - Munsan expressway (Gogang, Seoun interchanges).
  • Susaek-ro (already hosting 3 of the new housing projects judging by the map), and Worldcup-ro shall gain layers to cope with a growing traffic towards downtown Seoul as well as towards Yeouido and Gangnam.
Bucheon's new S-BRT line around Gimpo Airport
Goyang's new subway line

The good, the bad, and the ugly:

Overall, if you consider the three announcements made since last December, the State plans to sell 73,000 homes by 2022, 67,000 in 2023, 58,000 in 2024, 61,000 in 2025, and 44,000 in 2026, which may provide more options for affordable housing, but also amplify Korea's oversupply of dwellings. The only clear winner seems to be IKEA Goyang, today an outpost, but tomorrow ideally located to serve the new town.

At least, for a change,...:
  • ... Seoul intra-muros is spared from more of the large-scale New Towns that destroyed so many of its neighborhoods (including the seven buried under Gyonam New Town). 
  • ... a 'Greenfield New Town'** adds some urban continuity instead of pushing urban sprawl further afield: on paper, Goyang Changneung shall better tie Ilsan to the capital.
  • ... transports, including public ones, are better phased and synced with new major developments (new subway, BRT, GTX lines around Goyang and Bucheon new towns, respectively top and bottom):

This remains an absurd case where we add commuting traffic before solving existing problems upstream and downstream. Yes, commuters from the latest new town will reach Seoul faster, but they will slow down commuters from Ilsan's 'older new town', and more cars will flock into Seoul's Western bottlenecks, even if some cosmetic touches are added along Susaek-ro. Urban planners went as far in the irony as to name their concrete monstruosity after the Joseon Royal Tomb*** it will deface.

In this young millenium, any new project should aim at the very least at zero emission and zero increase in car traffic, and this is obviously not the case. I nonetheless appreciate the new public transport lines: the BRT will add some verticality and fluidity across Bucheon, and Goyang will better split its commuters between line 3 and 6.

All this also means that the construction of Seobu Line / Seobuseon becomes even more urgent (see "Seobu Line confirmed as Seoul's LRT top priority"). Just months ago, the project was delayed because SNU wanted to prolong the line further into its campus, and now a boost comes from the other end of the line, the national government speeding up the agenda, and footing the bill for the first 7 stations. Because actually, this new Goyang line constitutes the new beginning of the most defining project for the Western half of Seoul's subway network. Now hopefully, the whole line should be completed by 2026.

On the other side of the Han River, Bucheon will clearly benefit from a denser public transportation network. How the new town will coopete with Magok District or Gyeyang Techno Valley remains to be seen....

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* see for instance in Today's Chosun Ilbo: "3기신도시 고양 창릉·부천 대장동 등에 11만가구 공급", "새절역~고양시청 철도, 김포공항역~부천종합운동장역 BRT 신설", or in Today's Joongang Ilbo: "집값 다시 뛸라...집값 약세 둔화에 3기 신도시 '기습 발표'" (UPDATE 20190508 "To cool real estate, gov’t plans two new towns")
** as defined in "Wet eyes for wetlands and urban mirages"
*** see "Royal Joseon Tombs Become UNESCO World Heritage Properties
**** and by the way, these latest developments make even more irrelevant the Gangbuk Line project drafted a couple of months ago - see "Gangbuk LRT - Naebu v. Seobu, or PARK v. OH?")

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

No Collision?

Last year, KIM Jong-un was about to perform historic walks across the demarcation line with MOON Jae-in (see "Chirps vs Tweets"). This time, he was hours away from boarding a train to Vladivostok, and Putin. But where will he be heading for, right after the 2020 Asan Plenum: Japan? Switzerland? NYC? The ICC? And if KJU ends up six feet under, will it be because of a collision with the US? an obstruction of his windpipe? a Saturday Night Massacre caused by the big bang of Mount Paekdu's supervolcano? Who knows?

": "Vladimir Vladimirovich, can you help me lift against ?" : ..." (20190424 -

We do know one thing: in these tricky and uncertain times, the Asan Plenum is always a very special moment to better feel the pulse of our very special peninsula, our very special region, and our very only planet. This year felt even more complete with much more female voices among the experts invited on stage*, and a most powerful, liberated North Korean voice: THAE Yong-ho's.

Here was someone who illustrated admirably this year's theme, 'Korea's Choice'. THAE risked his life, and chose Korea. Not North Korea, not South Korea, but as a true patriot, the Korea that he believes all Koreans should aim for.

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* see Asan Institute's Asan Plenum 2019 program. If you don't see Trump and China on the menu, they are of course all over the map.

Day 1 (April 23, 2019):
Welcoming Remarks: HAHM Chaibong
Keynote Address: James B. Steinberg
Plenary Session I (G1 or G2?): Choi Kang, Evelyn Goh, Douglas H. Paal, James B. Steinberg, Zhang Tuosheng, Zhao Xiaozhuo
Session 1:
- ROK-U.S. Alliance: Sue Mi Terry, Kim Sung-han, Marc Knapper, Sydney A. Seiler, Soeya Yoshihide, Zhu Feng.
- U.S.-Japan Alliance: Park Cheol hee, Kent E. Calder, Richard McGregor, Tokuchi Hideshi, Wang Dong.
- NATO: Choi Jinwoo, Ian Anthony, Pascal Boniface, Kestutis Paulauskas, Brooke A. Smith-Windsor, Alexander Vershbow.
Plenary Session II (Collective Memory or Collective Future?): Philip Stephens, Hahm Chaibong, David Harris, Aleksandra Gliszczynska-Grabias, Volker Stanzel.
Book Launch (Asan CHUNG Ju-yung's Autobiography 'Born of This Land: My Life Story'): Hahm Chaibong, Chung Mong-joon, Edwin J. Feulner, Karen E. House, Lee Hong Koo, Paul D. Wolfowitz.
Night Sessions:
- North Korea’s Choice: Nuclear Issue: Jung H. Pak, Chun Yungwoo, Bruce Klingner, Nishino Junya, Jonathan Pollack, Scott A. Snyder.
- North Korea’s Choice: Economic Reform: Go Myong-hyun, Thomas Byrne, Furukawa Katsuhisa, John Park (and Hazel A. Smith).

Day 2 (April 24, 2019):
Plenary Session III (Nationalism or Internationalism?): Lee Chung Min, Pascal Boniface, Edwin J. Feulner, G. John Ikenberry, Yuli Tamir, Paul D. Wolfowitz.
Session 2:
- Is Democracy in Crisis?: Gilbert Rozman, Ladan Bouroumand, Chu Yun-han, Martin Fackler, Karen E. House, Philip Stephens.
- Immigrants or Refugees?: Marie McAuliffe, Mely Caballero-Anthony, Gordon Flake, Lee Jasmine, Neil G. Ruiz, Jay Song.
- Values or Interests?: J. James Kim, Kent E. Calder, Fujisaki Ichiro, Gao Fei, Linda Jakobson, T. J. Pempel.
Session 3:
- Free Trade or Fair Trade?: Asif Hasan Qureshi, Ahn Dukgeun, Fukagawa Yukiko, Patrick Messerlin, Tami E. Overby.
- Arms Control: Kato Yoichi, Abe Nobuyasu, Alexander Gabuev, Park Jiyoung, Nicolas Regaud.
- Technology Competition or Cooperation?: Lee Dongmin, Tai Ming Cheung, Min Eun Joo, Michael Sulmeyer, Yaacob Bin Ibrahim.
Plenary Session IV (CVID or “Peaceful” co-existence?): Choi Kang, Evans J. R. Revere, Yamaguchi Noboru, Yao Yunzhu, Thae Yong-ho.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Notre Drame bringing back the Namdaemonium trauma

I woke up this morning to the terrifying sight of Notre Dame engulfed in flames by night. It instantly brought back the Namdaemonium trauma, when Sungnyemun burned down (11 years ago, see "Namdaemunium").

Notre Drame 2019 (left), Namdaemonium 2008 (right)

As a Parisian walking by the monument every day when in my hometown, I feared for the worst, but hopefully the cathedral shall not collapse entirely, as Seoul's last original gate did. The damage remains considerable, starting with that amazing 'foret' of original giant beams, gone for good.

Both 'Namdaemun' and Notre Dame had survived centuries, and wars, both were somehow victims of negligence. If an arsonist did ignite Sungnyemun, the site had recently been deprived of human surveillance in favor of CCTVs. We can't tell yet what caused the fire in Paris, it has probably something to do with the restoration under way around the spire (a XIXth century add on). Walking by the scaffolding on the northern side last month, I was surprised to see how vulnerable the working site looked, but how to keep such an architectural marvel behind wraps? 

Ever since the foiled terror attempt to destroy the Eiffel Tower in 1994 (the one that inspired 9/11), I don't look the same way at landmarks I used to take for granted.

More than in our cityscapes, some landmarks are true anchors in our hearts. You know it when they beat faster each time you see them.

Caught in the Seoul traffic with Sungnyemun. That's not a k-pop star: she's much cuter, has better conversation  -

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Seoul Hall of Urbanism and Architecture, Seoul Biennale 2019 Symposium

The day before Mayor PARK Won-soon cut the ribbon with a dozen VIPs (see below), the new Seoul Hall Of URbanism and Architecture hosted a pre-Seoul Biennale Symposium. A perfect occasion to roam the venue, to the notable exception of the exhibition spaces, and key connections to the neighborhood's underground system, which only opened for the official inauguration.

Yes, I'm talking about the 'Sejongdaero' project we followed from its earliest stages, back in 2015, where the old Japanese tax office used to stand:
. "Tear down that tax office" (20150506)
. "Sejongdaero" competition officially started' (20150727)
. "Sejong-daero winner announced" (20151012)

But before exploring this Seoul HOUR, how about a focus on the Biennale and its symposium?



2019 Seoul Biennale and Pre-Biennale Symposium

If the first symposium, held at the Seoul Museum of History in October 2015, questioned even the principle of a biennale (why not a triennale?), this one went as far as presenting the material used to build the stands. A sharp contrast between an exploratory discussion two years before a first edition, and an operational briefing six months ahead of the second.

", , , , , on stage of Symposium " (20151027 -

A new tandem, LIM Jaeyong and Francisco SANIN, replaced PAI Hyungmin and Alejandro ZAERA-POLO at the heads of the bicephale biennale, knowing that, of course, SEUNG H. Sang remains close by, even if this time, he didn't take the mike (cameo apparitions on a few slides, though).

"#Seoul Biennale 2019 Symposium 20190327.
Between #Francisco Sanin and #Lim Jaeyong: #Cho Minsuk, #Armando Hashimoto, #Peter Wilson, #Noura Al Sayeh, #Chon Jaesun, #Alicia Lazzaroni... #Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism #architecture #urbanism #seoulhour" (20190412 -

After 'Imminent Commons', Seoul went for the theme 'Collective City' (announced last December), around the same 4 main axes:
  • Thematic exhibition (curator Beth Hugues): research and propositions around the 'collective city' notion, held in the DDP (Design Exhibition Hall, Design Pathway). Let's see what comes up from the various topics (typology, post-domestic city, mediation, heritage, infrastructures, ecology...).
  • Cities exhibition (curators YIM Dongwoo, Rafael LUNA): I'm excited by the choice of Donuimun Museum Village and its Seoul Center for Architecture and Urbanism for the venue instead of the DDP, where the first edition took place. Mind you, that was a terrific exhibition, and they managed to make it not look like a fair, in spite of the site, but Sinmunno provides the perfect - if challenging - backdrop for a genuine global village, with actual alleyways. Dongwoo already researched innovative mapping axes for the 80 cities.
  • Global studio (curator CHOE Sanki): note the semantic shift from the 'international studios' of the first edition (curated by John HONG, who presented his return on experience). All events shall be concentrated around Seun Sangga (Sewoon Plaza, Sewoon Hall).
  • Live Projects (curator JANG Young-chul): articulated around the concept of market, very relevant in the context of a collective city, particularly since, as JANG reminded us, the '시' in '도시' (city) means 'market'. Two venues: Seun Sangga (Sewoon Plaza, Daelim Sangga), and the Seoul Museum of History.

I presume Seoul HOUR shall also serve as a venue, if not a hub. Anyway, Sadaemun's Jong-ro - Saemunan-ro horizontal remains the biennale's urban backbone. And if you forgot what I'm referring to, I shalt forgive thee, but here's the animated map:

If I'm looking forward this second biennale (September 7 - November 10), this symposium was already worth attending, with stimulating presentations, moments and chats. Special mentions to:
  • Jae-sung CHON's ode to the collective mess (he had me from the start by mentioning Kowloon Walled City and Seoul markets), and his fake news journal to project the reader in the future... that's my vision of urbanism, where you shouldn't sanitize everything, but leave room for organisms to evolve, grow, mutate by themselves. 
  • Peter Ferretto's respect for China's threatened wonders (beautiful project in Gao Bu, Hunan). 
  • CHO Minsuk's updates on Danginri and Bamseom, the rooftop theater of his Seoul Cinematheque. 
  • Alicia Lazzaroni's 'vulnerability as a design' 
  • KIM So-young's 'negociated city' 
  • Erik L'Heureux's lyricism about HCMC's forgotten gems. He saw no connections to Seoul, but I couldn't stop thinking about my dear "Hoehyeon Apt, Chungjeong Apt, Dongdaemun Apt, Ogin Apt..." 
  • John HONG reclaiming preservation as radical, 'Citizen Jane'-style, and LIM Jaeyong musing 'but if it's us vs them, who are we, who are they?'

On the eve of its inauguration, at the new #Seoul Hall Of Urbanism And Architecture for the Pre-Biennale Symposium
Workshop featuring (left to right): #Peter Tagiuri #Alicia Lazzaroni #Klaas Kresse #Kim Soy-oung #Patrick Weber #John Hong #Choe Sanki #Erik L'Heureux #Chon Jaesung #Peter Ferretto #Rafael Luna #Yim Dongwoo
#Seoul Biennale #Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism #서울도시건축프리비엔날레 #SBAU
#서울도시건축전시관 #seoulhour
(SeoulVillage Facebook page - 20190327)


Seoul Hall of Urbanism and Architecture

So we now know how this 'Seoul Chronicle' works, and what its purpose is. From the beginning, I liked the minimalist approach with a focus on connectivity over and underground, the new building subliming surrounding structures: Deoksugung walls, the Seoul Anglican Cathedral, and even the less gracious Seoul Metropolitan Council, whose campanile almost ends up making sense. 

You can reach Seoul HOUR's rooftop from all sides, and face the stream of Sejongdaero as if from a non-scary diving board, with the bulging side of Seoul City Hall in front of you, Gwanghwamun to your left, and Seoul Plaza to your right. If you return to street level, you can also enjoy a panoramic view while sipping a cup of - what else* - coffee.

"Of course, also has a cafe (ground level), and a rooftop view on and (just-above-ground-level rooftop) " (201903

Now in this kind of iceberg structures, you need to dive well below the surface, through 3 underground levels with relatively low ceilings, except in strategic places, and of course for 'VIUM Hall', the huge parallepiped going through all four levels. Frankly, the first impression of this main exhibition space is a bit disappointing: you can reach it directly through a central, monumental staircase that feels somehow like a Seoul subway entrance (yes, as advertised, Seoul HOUR is connected to the Sejongno underground network, which means among others City Hall, and the subway). Furthermore, halfway down, your first glance at the inaugural exhibition (about Vienna public housing) is from above, which makes it look smaller and weaker behind its scaffoldings. Video projections on the wall to your right don't quite make for the big dark void in front of you. I understand the architectural logic to prolong Deoksugung's walls, but from this angle, this corner is really too dark, and not exactly awe inspiring.

But that can be fixed easily; a towering exhibit, or why not an ethereal SUH Do-ho fabric house?

To truly appreciate the hall's volume, this is the best angle, facing lighter structures, the glass connections to the other floors and exhibition spaces, the window towards the street:

" Inauguration with mayor :" (20190328

Here are the 4 inaugural exhibitions: 
  • 'Vienna Model - the past, present, and future of public housing', with a resolutely no-frills museography
  • 'The social role of architecture' (starting with Seoullo 7017, just to make the mayor happy, I presume)
  • 'An-other Seoul', with a 3D map of the capital city reminiscent of the bigger one at the Seoul Museum of History, and an interesting scenario: what if, instead of reducing every year greenbelt areas (see "Land mining Seoul"), urban planners made better use of the sites related to infrastructure, which represent almost two thirds of Seoul's total surfce?
  • 'Documenting the city', curated by LEE Sang-koo, with a focus on familiar lost villages (Sinwol-dong, Sanggye-dong, Geoyeo-dong).

" at () one day before its inauguration, for Symposium. Expo on in , (reminiscent of )... " (20190327

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* for instance City Hall in 2012 ("Seoul Tsunami City Hall, The Other Korean Wave"), the DDP in 2013 (see "Sneak peek inside Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park")
** see "500 m, 80%, 100% urban crappuccino"

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

KIM Soo-chul fast forward

You'd think that would be the perfect day to simply, gently press 'rewind', and then 'play'..., but no, KIM Soo-chul keeps pushing 'fast forward' all the way, because he always needs to project himself toward his next projects.
For the final concert of his return to Hakchon, and on his 62nd birthday, the legend did remind us who and what he is: a great singer, an amazing guitar player, a wonderful songwriter, a multifaceted composer, a producer, a broadcaster, an actor. a genuine artist, and a true star, the kind of sun that brightens your day, makes you laugh or cry along with him.

KIM Soo-chul 20190407 (photos Stephane MOT)
If his hits have rocked and moved generations of Koreans since 1978, Soo-chul is even prouder of promoting gugak long before that was cool (one of his university friends told me that he was actually surprised to see him start with occidental music), and of helping its unique sounds reach new audiences at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and 2002 World Cup opening ceremonies, or with original soundtracks (like the one he composed for IM Kwon-taek's 'Sopyonje'). And yes, KIM is also very proud of performing live at the UN in NYC, of composing the delicate KBS jingle, or the cult 'Chikichiki chakachaka' (animation series), which he even played live on Sunday in Daehangno.

His show started unconventionally, with a lecture that was both fun and inspiring, even if he could have reduced the number of illustrations by half and still make all his points - but such is the man and the artist: always willing to communicate, and to share. 

Then came the concert. Did he bring the house down? You betcha. 'Little Big Man''s old band mates cheering from the audience, KIM Soo-chul teamed up with younger talents on stage: just one drummer, one bass, and one heck of a guitar hero, who jammed for a while with young gugak players, before returning to his greatest hits. A musical and emotional overload ending up in tears, before a touching finale: four songs merged into one, simply delivered by a soft voice, discreet strings, and pure melodies.

Happy Birthday, KIM Soo-chul, and thank you again for this very special moment.

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Gangbuk LRT - Naebu v. Seobu, or PARK v. OH?

Out of the blue, Seoul Metropolitan Government unveiled a brand new, 24.8 km, 15-station subway line joining Mok-dong (Yangcheon-gu) to Cheongnyangni (Dongdaemun-gu) along the Naebu Expressway, that disgraceful overpass scarring countless Seoul neighborhoods*.

Construction would start as early as 2021, for a project that was not even part of the 10 LRT projects announced for 2025 in 2015 ("Seoul subway to gain 89 km by 2025"). Yet, it would connect the dots between two of them: the Mok-dong Line to the West (Sinwol-dong - Mok-dong), and the Myeonmok Line to the East (Cheongnyangni - Sinnae).


As you well know, I'm all for new railway lines, but all this seems a bit hasty, if not suspicious:
  • such projects usually take years and years to study, and 2021 seems a very aggressive target for starting the construction
  • the route doesn't seem optimized for transportation needs, but happens to be on land mostly owned by the city, which may speed up the process
  • as we've seen before, subway projects are highly political in Seoul, and countless railway projects announced before key elections have been dumped afterwards. Yet as soon as a project actually starts, land value immediately jumps
  • the only date given is the start of the project, and 2021 happens to be the year preceding the next presidential elections
  • this Gangbuk LRT / Naebu Line / Naebuseon could cannibalize, and maybe even kill a major project the city and many partners have been working on for a long while: the Seobu Line / Seobuseon, confirmed as a priority by the city not so long ago ("Seobu Line confirmed as Seoul's LRT top priority")
  • Seobuseon was initiated under former mayor OH Se-hoon who, like his successor PARK Won-soon, hasn't given up his presidential ambitions, even if, for the moment, both are lagging behind in the polls**
  • this new project is supposed to be part of Seoul's third urban railways plan, to be announced later (that's a 10-year plan, last one was for 2015-2025, maybe the plan will be revealed in 2020, but this can't wait because of the elections)
  • ...

This may sound a tad cynical but again, announcements related to subways have always been heavily political (whatever the party in charge), because there's so much at stake at the real estate level, and you know how much that counts in Seoul.


Now, let's have a closer look at this new line. We don't have the details yet, particularly the list of stations, or how the Han River or Bugaksan shall be crossed (doubling Seongsan Bridge and the Bugak Tunnel? under the Hangang?), but we can get a more than general idea.

Comparing the new map (above) to the one featuring the previous 10 projects (see ""Seoul LRT Projects Update (Part 1/2)", "Seoul LRT Projects Update (Part 2/2)"), and of course the Naebu Expressway, here's my best guess, going from West to East:

  • 'Gangbuk LRT' seems to start from the potential Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital station of the Mok-dong Line (west of Anyangcheon, and Dangsan Station). 
  • it then seems to intersect with Line 9 at Sinmok-dong Station before crossing the river on Seongsan Bridge
  • on the other side of the river, it would certainly meet Line 6 at Mapo-gu Office
  • after that, it probably connects with Gyeongui Jungang Line / Gyeongui Line at Gajwa Station, and Line 3 at Hongje Station, with a couple stations in-between (at least one at the intersection of Jeungga-ro and Hongjecheon, between Yeonhui-dong and Namgajwa-dong, and one at Seodaemun-gu Office)
  • we know that the new line joins the Ui-Sinseol LRT line at Jeongneung Station (Seongbuk-gu), but it would be utterly stupid to spend millions just crossing the mountain like the Naebu Expressway, and leaving Jongno-gu's Pyeongchang-dong valley completely off Seoul's railway grid. I would rather follow the road (Segeomjeong-ro / Pyeongchangmunhwa-ro), and add one station right before Inwangsan (in Hongeun-dong), and a couple in the valley itself, for example***: 
    • one at the feet of Sangmyung University Seoul (Hongji-dong at Jahamun-ro), or at the Sinyeong-dong Samgeori (Segumjung Elementary School at Jinheung-ro)
    • one or two at the intersection with the roads leading uphill (e.g. at Pyeongchang 20-gil)
  • so far, between Mok-dong and Jeongneung, we have listed 9 to 11 stations, which leaves us 4 to 6 until the end. Judging by the map, I could add up to 5 existing stations: on Line 4 (Gireum Station), Line 6 (Wolgok Station, Korea University Station), and Line 1 (Jegi-dong Station, Cheongnyangni).
The main advantages would be to cover two big holes in Seoul's subway map: central Seodaemun-gu, and Pyeongchang-dong, and to add horizontality where it could make sense. But the Seobu Line is far better designed for the needs of Western Seoul, doubling the Naebu Expressway would demand disproportionate investments, and there are probably far smarter horizontals to build.

Of course, the fact that many cars use an urban highway doesn't mean that many citizens would take the same route by subway. Fundamentally, this top-down project doesn't seem fully thought through. I hope Seoul has a more serious and comprehensive plan to not only fix these two holes, but also pave more cleverly the (rail)way for the removal of the city's embarrassing elevated expressways.


Anyway, even if this project fails, and even if Mayor PARK fails in 2022, he still can run another marathon: Seoul has just been confirmed as Pyongyang's sister city in the bid for the 2032 Olympic Games (little suspense there, Busan didn't make much geographical sense):

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* most dramatically in the charming Hongjecheon valley (see "Along Hongjecheon, my way or the highway")
** in a mirror fashion, Prime Minister LEE Nak-yon leads against Seoul Mayor PARK while former PM HWANG Kyo-ahn leads against former Seoul Mayor OH (including in the race for LKP leadership later this month, with a vote expected during Trump-Kim Summit II in Hanoi):
2022 poll (JoongAng Ilbo): liberals LEE Nak-yon, RHYU Si-min, PARK Won-soon, conservatives HWANG Kyo-ahn, OH Se-hoon, HONG Joon-pyo (20190103 -

*** that's what I had in mind in the 'second circular line' project mentioned in my comment dated "August 20, 2013 at 6:00 PM"

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