See how Seoul, Korea, went below the pavement to transform itself - Metropolitan Planning Council

Skip to main content

See how Seoul, Korea, went below the pavement to transform itself

Dave Palmer, flickr.com/photos/davekimtravel

The Cheonggyecheon River in Seoul, was once entombed in concrete, but has been transformed into a beautiful and well-used public space.

By the mid-1950s, the Cheonggyecheon River in Seoul, Korea, was a dirty, polluted eyesore flowing right through the middle of the city. In an attempt to “clean up” the river and modernize the area, city officials paved over the river, and built a highway. Fast forward only 10 years after the project was completed, and the dirty river was simply replaced by a dirty highway that turned the area into the busiest and noisiest sector in Seoul.

By 2001, almost 80 percent of Seoul residents supported a new proposal to remove the Cheonggye freeway and restore the river. A newly elected mayor pledged to spend $384 million not only to demolish the elevated freeway, but dedicate the local road for the city’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) line, create walkable destinations, and provide pedestrian amenities.

When cities are planned for the movement of people instead of cars, they can create and transform communities into more desirable places.  New highways aren’t always the answer. Sometimes the best solutions are just below the pavement.

MPC’s Talking Transit e-newsletter has more great stories like this every other week. Sign up today!

Comments

No comments

More posts by Emily

All posts by Emily »

MPC on Twitter

Follow us on Twitter »


Stay in the loop!

MPC's Regionalist newsletter keeps you up to date with our work and our upcoming events.?

Subscribe to Regionalist


Most popular news

Browse by date »

This page can be found online at http://www.metroplanning.org/news/5819

Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1400
Chicago, Ill. 60603
312 922 5616 info@metroplanning.org

Sign up for newsletter and alerts »

Shaping a better, bolder, more equitable future for everyone

For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

Donate »