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Monday, March 9, 2015

Urban Regeneration: 27 Projects For Seoul

Yesterday, Seoul city listed 27 areas subject to 'urban regeneration', the latest portmanteau buzzword to regroup many projects introduced over the past months and years. Of course the list includes the not always magnificent seven mentioned earlier this year (see "Diagonal crossings, High Lines, and Business Verticals (how pedestrians and businesses remodel Seoul... and vice-versa)"), and the most spectacular industrial sites already programmed to be converted into cultural spaces.

On paper, I can only subscribe to the five principles supporting this vast plan, in particular because they confirm the intention to dump the old 'Korean new town' model:
1) Humans are now at the center of the city.
2) Abandon the uniform destruction / redevelopment process for a customized approach.
3) Involve residents in the process from the early planning stages to the completion.
4) Abandon short-termism for an evolutive, sustainable approach.
5) Seoul focuses its investments on the community and regional vitality.

These 27 projects have been listed in 4 categories:

    • 5) Mapo Oil Depot in Mapo-gu (this magical industrial site covering 100,000 sqm in Seongsan-dong will become a Cultural Depot Park)

    • 6) Hangang-Nodeulseom in Dongjak-gu: at last an end to the drama? this part of the riverside and Nodeul Island have seen so many projects pass by, including with Jean Nouvel...
    • 7) Namsan Cablecar area in Jung-gu / Yongsan-gu - not far from the cult Hoehyeon Apartment (see "Hoehyeon Apt, Chungjeong Apt, Dongdaemun Apt, Ogin Apt...")
    • 8) Danginri cultural project in Mapo-gu (the Danginri Power Station becomes a park and a cultural space, and Sangsu-Hapjeong has already been colonized by Hongdae refugees fleeing rent hikes)
    • 9) Nagwon Sangga - Donhwamun-ro in Jongno-gu: we last mentioned the case of Donhwamun-ro in an October focus, and Nagwon Sangga remains a crux between the Insadong-Anguk-Donhwamun-Tapgol clusters. Over the past decade, the time capsule has shrunk to the underground market, but I love that small guitar shop at the feet of the concrete giant:

  • Old residential zones:
    • 16) Seonggwak Maeul (Fortress Village) in Seongbuk-gu: the idea is to preserve and maintain this special Seoul village by the fortress walls. Does it mean that the maeul bus won't be anymore the only coach touring this charming ring on the top of a hill overlooking the valley? Seonggwak Maeul has already become more touristic lately, but in the first place, it was not very animated, with quite a few NIMBY-ish residences.

    • 17) Baeksa Village in Nowon-gu - an all time fave, and a perfect spot for Seoul's favorite marmot (see "Over the moon")
    • 18) Haebangchon in Yongsan-gu: as if HBC's bobo-ization needed a boost from the city...
    • 19) Amsa-dong Seoul-type Urban Regeneration Pilot Project in Gangdong-gu: 635,000 sqm themed after history and prehistory
    • 20) Seongsu-dong Seoul-type Urban Regeneration Pilot Project in Seongdong-gu: 211,000 sqm themed after the local industries (shoes, leather, printing...). Already a trendy spot. BTW time for a shout-out for the Place SAI team:
SAI Festival 2015 (March 20-22 in Seongsu):

    • 21) Sinchon-dong Seoul-type Urban Regeneration Pilot Project in Seodaemun-gu: themed after the integration of university students and residents.
    • 22) Sangdo-dong Seoul-type Urban Regeneration Pilot Project in Dongjak-gu: 750,000 sqm themed after inter-generation love.
    • 23) Jangwi-dong Seoul-type Urban Regeneration Pilot Project in Seongbuk-gu: 318,000 sqm themed after alleyway communities
    • 24) Settlements around Bukhansan in Dobong-gu: let's hope that won't spoil the quietest and cutest spots.
    • 25) Seochon in Jongno-gu: now almost completely gentrified, the neighborhood doesn't taste the same.
    • 26) Changsin-dong and Sungin-dong in Jongno-gu: on each side of Jibong-ro, two neighborhoods with a rich yet humble history (e.g. Changsin's sweatshops...). Seoul wants to make an example of their regeneration...
    • 27) Garibong-dong in Guro-gu: the first plans to redevelop the village date from 2003. A couple of years ago, 5 sections were defined for either destruction or rehabilitation, with a few landmarks for the Chinese community. Given security issues in the neighborhood, the multiplication of CCTV is a given, but hopefully, it seems that the focus is now on reviving street life through softer means.

Seoul Village 2015
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