Thursday, February 20, 2014

Seoul's New Town and Redevelopment Plan Update

Seoul updated its New Town and Redevelopment Plan after two years of probation*. Citizens are still being surveyed and their comments collected to facilitate key decisions: go/no go, and the allocation of resources and support (including in case of cancellation). The whole process is being monitored and doubled with conflict management teams to prevent the usual bubbles and rumor mill frenzies, but also to learn from best and worst practices.

For the cases without promotion, 266 of 286 surveys have been completed, and the rest shall be done by the end of June 2014.

148 out of these 266 cases are on the hot seat, and three projects have already been cancelled: 
  • Cheonho-Seongnae (Cheonho-dong and Seongnae-dong, Gangdong-gu), 
  • Mia Gyunchok (Mia Sageori, Gangbuk-gu), 
  • Banghwa (Banghwa-dong, Gangseo-gu)
The final cancellation of 16 other projects shall be decided by June: 
  • Hapjeong (Hapjeong-dong, Mapo-gu), 
  • Cheonho (Cheonho-dong, Gangdong), 
  • Sangbong (Sangbong-dong, Jungnang-gu), 
  • Geoyeo-Macheon (Geoyeo-dong and Macheon-dong, Songpa),
  • Junghwa (Junghwa-dong, Jungnang-gu), 
  • Guui-Jayang (Guui-dong, Jayang-dong, Gwangjin-gu), 
  • Sanggye (Sanggye-dong, Nowon-gu), 
  • Ahyeon (Ahyeon-dong, Mapo-gu)
  • Singil (Singil-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu), 
  • Susaek-Jeungsan (Susaek-dong, Jeungsan-dong, Eunpyeong-gu), 
  • Jangui (Jangwi-dong, Seongbuk-gu)
  • Mia (Mia-dong, Gangbuk-gu), 
  • Sinjeong (Sinjeong-dong, Yangcheon-gu), 
  • Imun-Hwigyeong (Imun-dong and Hwigyeong-dong, Dongdaemun-gu), 
  • Gireum (Gireum-dong, Seongbuk-gu), 
  • Heukseok (Heukseok-dong, Dongjak-gu).
The 19 potential red lights (the first 3 are already goners - note that Mia used to be a red light district anyway!)

No big surprises here. As I explained in "Inhuman, all too human Seoul", the New Town model belongs to the past, and it lost momentum in the Capital even before PARK Won-soon claimed City Hall. His bottom-up, collaborative approach was the only way of defusing potential outcries in a city where real estate speculation remains pervasive.

New Towns are not dead yet, and among the projects that will go on, some are already well "advanced", Buk-Ahyeon New Town much more than Donuimun New Town (a.k.a. Gyonam New Town).

And they're only part of Seoul's urban planning problems.

PS: Michael, don't rejoice too soon: the potential end of Ahyeon New Town wouldn't necessarily mean the survival of your old hanok.

Seoul Village 2014
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* "뉴타운·재개발 수습방안」추진 2년 성과와 향후 방향 발표" (20140221)

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