Songdo, revisited!

I’ve kept my promise of visiting Songdo in summer 2014! Songdo changed a lot since my last visit in winter 2013. First of all, there were more people on the streets. But it was also 40 degree warmer. Second, many new buildings were constructed or opened. The tallest skyscraper of South Korea opened: the Northeast Asia Trade Tower. It felt like a day isn’t enough to explore Songdo because it hosts so many different buildings, places and activities.

Many people visited and wrote about Songdo since the last visit. For example, Steve Miller made a video about the Incheon Global Campus of Songdo (here’s an article about that campus). Many international organizations moved to Songdo, among them are the Green Climate Fund and World Bank. Just some days ago there was an article about the smart city and eco-city concept of Songdo. In the Guardian Cities Colin Marshall summarized Songdo “as possibly the most humane space of its type”.  Songdo IBD also published a new promotional video about Songdo.

This time I’ve tried to visit places like the Canal Walk and the undeveloped western part that I missed the last time. I’ve took a bicycle to visit less accessible areas.  Read more of this post

Suwon EcoMobility Festival Anniversary

Exactly a year ago a small neighborhood in Suwon transformed into a pedestrian-friendly, car-free are for a whole month. It was the first event of such kind in the world. Residents and visitors could see how the modern city will look like. Personally, I enjoyed it very much. I saw the transformation from a car-dominated, noisy neighborhood to a very special, unique area for pedestrians and community.

In order to remember the festival and celebrate the one-year anniversary Suwon holds a car-free day event right now in Haengguk-dong. For September other events seem to be planned, too. Citizens of Suwon are advised to use public transport and bicycles during September.

suwon-ecomobility

Poster of the Anniversary Event in Suwon City

Here is a summary of all blog posts about the festival on Kojects: Read more of this post

The Success of Tayo Buses

Earlier this year Seoul decorated four of their buses with the main characters of the famous Korean cartoon show “Tayo the Little Bus” (꼬마버스 타요). Within a short time it became a huge success. Parents make a pilgrimage to bus stops with their children in order to ride their heroes from the TV show.

Tayo_Bus_4

All that it took was a pair of eyes and a smile on the front of the bus. On the side and the rear of the vehicles are drawings of the Tayo characters. It’s probably one of the most successful measures to promote the usage of buses towards children and parents. Read more of this post

Influence of Chaebols on Korean Cities

Everybody, who visits South Korea, will be surprised by the strong presence of certain companies. They are called Chaebol and among them are internationally famous conglomerates like Samsung, Hyundai and LG. It’s almost impossible to imagine that they are active in so many different, totally unrelated business areas if you have never saw it with your own eyes. But how does their power manifests in the urban surroundings in Korea?  Read more of this post

Facelift for Yonsei University Campus

20140728_191958The most renowned universities in Korea are Seoul National University, Korea University and Yonsei University, often summarized as “SKY”. They are always at the maximum of their capacity for students. Therefore, they build more facilities or establish new campuses to host more students. In my two years at SNU I saw the construction and opening of five new buildings. A very famous example of campus improvement in Korea is the campus valley of Ewha University, designed by Dominique Perrault. Yonsei also tries to improve their campus. If you visit their main campus now, you will see a huge construction site. Read more of this post

Sogong’s Parking Lot, Unused Space in Central Seoul

Seoul_Sogong (1)After a five minute walk from Myeong-dong, the most popular tourist destination in Seoul, I stood in front of a parking lot. It isn’t an underground parking garage or one of Korea’s infamous parking towers. It was nothing that anyone would expect in the center of one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It is a simple, one-level parking ground and the location right in the heart of Seoul. This post is going to take a look at the area and thanks to the contribution of a reader, we will show you an example of how this area could be developed. Read more of this post

Opinion Piece on Banning Standing Passengers

During the research for the previous article about the government’s plans to ban standing on the red buses, I came across an opinion piece by Dr. Jaehak Oh, who works for the Korea Transport Institute. You can find an interview about his background and work here. The article I want to introduce was written back in June, shortly after the government unveiled their plans.

I won’t comment on the content of the article. Here’s my translation (There could be some errors and misinterpretations.): Read more of this post

No More Standing in Red Buses

Update – 30 August 2014: After a month the measure was revoked. The number of buses will be increased by 200 vehicles, as I stated in the blog post. But it won’t be illegal to allow standing passengers. The number of standing passengers decreased from 18% to 7%. The main reason for revoking the measure is that in September the new semester at university begins and the number of bus passengers will be higher than now. So, we are back to normal and it’s allowed to stand in the red Kyeonggi-buses.

 

A huge change awaits the public transportation in the capital region of Korea: In order to improve convenience and safety of buses, standing passengers won’t be allowed anymore on the majority of red buses. This measure was announced by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) in June and next week the measure will be implemented. Read more of this post

Yonsei-ro, Seoul’s First Transit Mall

Seoul_Transit_Mall (11)A transformation took place in Sinchon (신촌), a popular nightlife area in front of Yonsei University! Seoul forbids private cars on the main road Yonsei-ro since January 2014. This measure was accompanied by a overall facelift of that street. The 500 meters from Sinchon Station to Yonsei University became the first transit mall of Seoul. Last Friday I had the chance to explore the area. In my opinion, it is an outstanding project and the area improved immensely. Others areas in Seoul and all over Korea are going to get transit malls, too. Let me explain the details of Korea’s transit mall concept. I’ve made many pictures of the new Yonsei-ro in order to make it easier to understand.  Read more of this post

Bicycle Paths on Jeju-Do

Korea is a great country for leisure cycling. This can be experienced first hand at the major rivers and on Jeju-do, the largest island of South Korea. I’ve traveled to Jeju-do and cycled along the shore for a week. The island is very special in many aspects. Here I want to take a closer look at the bike infrastructure because  Jeju-do offers certain types of bike lanes.

This was my route (each color represents a different day):

Jejubicycle

Please click here for an interactive Google Map! As usual for cycling tours around Jeju, the route was anti-clockwise. I recorded the trip with Strava and at the end it said that I cycled 283 km.  Read more of this post

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