Thursday, September 5, 2013

Magok District on cruise mode

Since last January's focus ("Magok District: SIM City as in "Seoul Intra Muros"? Alleyways as in "Seoul Inter Muros"?"), Magok District has steadily made the headlines, most notably:

  • Business: extension of the LG Science Park project (from 130 to 170,000 sqm, and from 20 to 30,000 Research and Development staff)
At the core of the business district project. New batches of lots are regularly being proposed.
 
  • Environment: Seoul city announced for 2016 an eco park combining a lake with a 60,000 sqm urban botanical garden, in addition to wetlands
Forget about the costly and futuristic waterfront project. This ecosystem will host 5,000 species, and might draw researchers as well as tourists.


  • Public spaces: selection of Wooridongjin Architects for Magok Central Plaza

A sunken plaza reaching across the street, hopefully more open than the Coex mall patio. Now the neighborhood also needs to care about pedestrians at street level, and this diagonal canal has an interesting potential.


  • Commercial and service areas: Shinsegae just signed for a new site connected to the subway. Earlier, Ehwa Hospital confirmed the move from Dongdaemun Gate to Magok.


  • Residential areas: emboldened by last July's successful launches, developers started a rather off-the-wall campaign for the new residential blocks (if the visuals are deja vu, you don't often see 'stupid' splashed on the headline of a real estate ad in this town):
The 3 dumb real estate investors: the one who doesn't know Magok, the one who knows Magok but is not interested, the one who knows Magok, is interested, but doesn't buy
 

 
  •  ...

The new district is step by step completing its puzzle, leveraging on key assets: Seoul intra muros, the Gimpo airport connection, the DMC-Magok-Guro triangle..., and of course major public transit infrastructures - particularly subway stations - that have been laid out first, far ahead of the inauguration (unlike for most new towns, or Sondgo IBD).

Now the most important remains to give some soul and consistence to this alleywayless place. You want to see residents and researchers venture beyond their homes and campuses, roam the streets, enjoy the city. The park and diagonal canal can give purpose, but let's not forget to optimize every single street for pedestrians and bicycles, make this neighborhood a destination from all directions, in continuity with Hangang Park, and the new neighboring communities (Banghwa, Balsan...).
 
 
Seoul Village 2013
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