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Sunday, December 25, 2022

Seoul Innovation Park on steroids

We've already seen Eunpyeong-gu's former KCDC site mutate into a makers' hub*, a vibrant Nokbeon-dong neighborhood park, and a cultural crossroads** in an underprivileged part of Seoul. Now the city wants to turn this low rise oasis into its gazillionth high rise utopia.

Meet the new and improved Seoul Innovation Park:

Quite a change from nowadays:

"Vegan Festival in Seoul Innovation Park, Eunpyeong-gu." (@theSeoulVillage 20170511-

Okay, all cars shall be parked underground instead of these traditional outdoor sprawls, plus there's also going to be this manicured 'Seoul UIC Campus' (University of Seoul Industry Cooperation), but that's not the same as a laid-back park full of happy families:

As you well know, I'm all for fixing the capital city's unbalances, and Northeast Seoul clearly deserves a boost. Besides, the city already owns this 110,000 sqm site, and it's next to a subway station (Bulgwang Station), close to the Yeonsinnae transport hub (Subway Lines 3 and 6, GTX-A - see "GTX, meet Sinbundang Line"). 

But not exactly there. And we've already seen this not so disruptive concept of futuristic, buzzword-friendly city within the city, with its iconic landmark tower - here, 60 more floors to be filled in a market already suffering from oversupply. Yet another empty alibi for yet another real estate nonsense (many 'apateu' have already risen nearby)? And of all models, why pick the COEX as a symbol of success? 


Needless to say, the grove with its old trees at the entrance, under which kids would play and seek fresh shelter in the Summer, is gone. From the outside, this could be any mall:

This time, it's different, they say. We go 'beyond zoning', we're truly mixing commercial, residential, and business. And this time, promise, we'll build and startups will come. SH Corporation will make sure a diversity of people build a genuine community, a 'Golden Village' where elderlies, newlyweds, single households share the same spaces with all facilities required in changing times.

Sincerely hope that flies but frankly, Seoul, you can do better.

"Seoul's project for Seoul Innovation Park (Nokbeon-dong, Eunpyeong-gu)? A coex-ish hub, very Oh Sehoon-ish urbanism:" (@theSeoulVillage 20221220 -

Seoul Village 2022
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* starting with Seoul Creative Lab and Hyebin's FabLab:

"Always nice to visit Seoul Innovation Park's FabLab! Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul." (@theSeoulVillage 20161207 -

** including, most recently, SEMA Storage in a former KCDC warehouse (see "Nine new museums in Seoul by 2023")

Monday, December 5, 2022


No regrets whatsoever for Korea following its most predictable defeat to uber favorite Brazil in the round of 16: the team held their ground with a very decent possession time and spectacular opportunities, even during that merciless jogo bonito / realism lesson of the first half, and made almost the best of their World Cup.

After an uninspiring draw against a very weak Uruguay, the Taeguk Warriors lost what was supposed to be their easiest game (allowing far too many goals from Ghana) before slaying Portugal's B team at the buzzer. If they came back twice from behind to survive their first round, they didn't collapse following Neymar Jr and friends' festival, which no team could have recovered from anyway.

Except for the first game, Paolo Bento's side built its opportunities and goals in a much more diverse and entertaining (not to mention less controversial) way than Guus Hiddink's commando*. For the first time in the ten World Cups I've been following Korea, I saw more style and confidence than resilience, the promises of an ambitious, sustainable playing identity. And I loved the way Bento, even as he knew he wouldn't stay, provided priceless experience to young talents in the second half. PAIK Seung-ho's awesome goal crowned perfectly Korea's 2022 World Cup, and if SON Heung-min may not join the party in 2026, KIM Kang-in,  HWANG Hee-chan, CHO Gyu-sung, and others already proved they could be leaders on the pitch.

Yes, this World Cup remains a total nonsense, an insult to sports, environment, human rights, you name it. And like every World Cup, this one remains opium for the people. But Korea badly needed this chase of the 2002 dragon right now. And it felt good to see its struggling youth party joyfully outdoor just weeks after the abominable tragedy in Itaewon.

Seoul Village 2022
Welcome to our Korean Errlines! Follow Seoul Village on Facebook and Twitter, follow me on Instagram.
Download 'Seoul VillageS', the free ebook.
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* which I absolutely adored, don't get me wrong!

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