Jamsil Transit Center

jamsil-junctionIt seems like the constructions in Seoul’s Songpa-gu are never going to end: The Lotte World Tower is still rising into the sky, the next extension of Line no. 9 is digging through the ground and Garak Market including the surrounding neighborhoods are under redevelopment. If you recently passed by Jamsil Junction, you have probably seen a huge road work in progress. Lotte Construction Group is building a bus transfer center between the old and new Lotte buildings. The most interesting characteristic about the project is that the bus transfer center is going to be completely underground. Read more of this post

Design for Seoul Station Overpass

seoulstationoverpassThe Seoul Station Overpass is going to close for traffic and transform to a public space until 2017. The project was inspired by New York’s High Line and it is mayor Park Won-Soon’s signature project. Seoul just ended an international design competition and they selected a winner.

This post gives you a preview of how the Seoul Station 7017 is going to look like. Secondly, this post is going to show that there are still some hurdles to take.

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Extension of Gwanghwamun Square

sejongro

View from City Hall towards Gwanghwamun Square

Seoul puts a lot of effort to become a more human-centered and pedestrian-friendly city. It is a difficult and challenging process. In March, Seoul announced that they want to close the western side of the Sejong-ro in order to extend the Gwanghwamun Plaza. It means that 550 meters of street (six lanes) are going to be closed permanently for traffic. The south-bond direction on the Sejong-ro will be transformed to a public space. The project is expected to be completed until 2017 and it will cost around 62 billion KRW. Details for the design aren’t yet published. The budget isn’t secured yet as well. Seoul asked the national government to financially support the project but they got rejected. Read more of this post

Safer Roads for Children in Korea

Today, May 5th, is Children’s Day in Korea. Regarding children in traffic, they are probably the weakest traffic participants and most vulnerable to fatal traffic accidents.

Korea achieved improvements in the number of traffic fatalities of minors in the last decade. In numbers, there was a 95% reduction of traffic-related child fatalities. The problem was mainly tackled by infrastructure improvements. For example, school zones with lower driving speed and fences between sidewalk and street have been introduced. But sadly, the average of traffic fatalities of children under 14 is still at 1.3 per 100,000 citizen (in 2012). The OECD average is 1.1 per 100,000. So there is still improvement possible necessary.

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Increase of Seoul’s Public Transport Fares

bus-fares-koreaIt was speculated since a couple of months that there will be an increase of public transport fares in 2015. Today the transport department of Seoul submitted the new fare prices to the municipal assembly. We will see a rise of up to 30 %. In addition, Seoul will introduce a discount for early birds.

The last increase of traffic fares in Seoul was in February 2012. Actually, the long-term plan of Seoul was to increase the prices every (or at least, every second) year. However, transit users aren’t never happy about fare hikes and so they were delayed several times. After the big public transport reform in 2004 the fare was only raised twice: 2007 and 2012. The new fares will be implemented in June 2015. Read more of this post

ICLEI World Congress 2015 in Seoul

The biggest event about sustainable urban development Korea has ever seen is going to happen from April 8 to 12 in Seoul. The ICLEI World Congress 2015 is a four-day conference with many different types of events and a large diversity of topics. During the congress the Seoul Declaration is going to be adapted and experts from around the world are going to discuss the future of our cities.

ICLEI-world-congress

ICLEI also organized the EcoMobility World Festival 2013 in Suwon and there will be two events regarding EcoMobility (on Thursday and Sunday). Here you can see the program with all events.

The registration is already closed and I don’t know if on-site registration is possible. I plan to post updates on my personal Twitter @ni_medi. I hope that the event initiates sustainable development in more cities, esp. Korean cities, and reaches out to political leaders as well as policy makers.

Proposal for Seoul City Hall Plaza

This is a guest post by Ray Chetti. He is an urban planner by education and retail development consultant by profession. He is based in Seoul, Korea and working as a project manager at Reurbanist, a retail development consultancy that blends land use economics with urban planning and economic development to help public and private sector clients realize the potential of their retail project. Ray is the founding and head chair of the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Young Leaders Group (YLG) South Korea chapter, a global non-profit organisation that is responsible for bringing together like minded real estate professionals with the intent of sharing knowledge through events and gatherings in order to improve our built environments. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or reach him on Twitter @rjchetti.
Views expressed are his own.

Seoul Plaza_v1

I first thought of undertaking the Seoul Plaza Proposal by Reurbanist project about 2 years ago in 2013 when I was working full time at an office nearby to Seoul City Hall. Read more of this post

The Honam High Speed Railway Opens in April

Currently a train ride from Yongsan in Seoul to Gwangju takes between 2 hours 30 minutes and 2 hours 51 minutes by Korea’s bullet train KTX and it involves a change of trains in Iksan or Cheonan-Ansan. In April 2015 the Honam High Speed Rail Route (호남고속철도) is going to open and allow faster travel on a new high speed rail segment from Osong to Gwangju. Read more of this post

Bicycle Promotion Gone Wrong

The Ministry of Public Administration and Security* hold an idea contest for the promotion of cycling and enhancement of safety for cyclists in Korea at the end of last year. It was advertised on Seoul’s subway and on various government homepages. 1500 entries, divided into two age groups (school students and adults), were submitted. I’ve thought about participating but I couldn’t find the time to write something. Still, I was very curious about the outcome. When I saw the winning entries, I was somehow disappointed and it was totally different from what I  have expected. Or lets’s say it was totally different than what the majority of urban cycling advocates promote. Read more of this post

Tactical Urbanism in Seoul

Usually transport planning is directed by local authorities and citizens have limited possibilities to directly transform their surrounding. Or in other words, it is a top-down development that includes public participation through formal procedures. There are exceptions and examples of bottom-up approaches, organized by private entities or local groups. Such a grassroots development can be described as tactical urbanism (or guerilla urbanism). For literature about that concept, I recommend The Street Plans Collaborative. In Seoul there are two very interesting examples of tactical urbanism. Read more of this post

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