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

Seoul’s High Line Project

Seoul has torn down a lot of overpasses in the last ten years. Alone in this year two overpasses (Ahyeon overpass and Yaksu overpass) have been removed. The majority of elevated roads was built in the 1970s. Now they have very high maintenance costs and even though many people won’t believe it, they are very counterproductive for the  traffic flow because they mainly favor automobiles. That’s the reason why most of them are being removed. After destroying a lot of overpasses, Seoul is finally going to keep one and transform it to a green space for citizens. Read more of this post

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

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

Amazing Dongdaemun Design Plaza

dongdaemun design plaza (5)Finally I visited the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, in short DDP, which opened on March 21st. As you can already tell by the name, it lies in the famous Dongdaemun shopping area. This very futuristic building is the new hub for design and modern culture in Korea. It is also very photogenic design, so  I took pictures with my phone and GoPro (so some pictures have a wide-angle, fish-eye effect!). If you want to see better pictures, please go to Robert Koehler’s Flickr-page or to his Tumblr. Let’s explore the Dongdaemun Design Plaza together. Read more of this post

A Ride through the EcoMobility Festival Area

In my previous post with pictures of Haenggunk-dong after the EcoMobility World Festival, I promised to upload some videos. Here they are! They show a ride through this area along the main street and then through many side alleys before getting back on the main road. If the videos feel strange, then it’s because I used the Youtube stabilization feature. Here’s the first video, which ends with a funny surprise:

Then we got back on the main street and experienced various sorts of traffic on the streets:

Haenggunk Neighborhood After the EcoMobility Festival

After EcoMobility (7)On Friday, October 25, I revisited Haengkung-dong in Suwon. This neighborhood was the showcase for the first EcoMobility World Festival. I wrote about it several times in the last few months. Almost one month ago the sustainable transport-experiment finished and the area opened again for cars. This was my first visit since the end of the festival. I didn’t have any high expectations and actually, I thought that the situation would be bad (a pedestrian-unfriendly area) but I was positively surprised. Come with me on a virtual walk through Haengkung-dong!

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The Truth About Korea’s Invisible Skyscraper Tower Infinity

towerinfinity-3

(Source: Archinect)

Since a couple of days my news feed is filled with articles with the headlines “Seoul’s Invisible Tower”, “World’s First Invisible Skyscraper in Seoul, Korea”, “Infinity Tower Will Light Up Seoul’s Sky” and so on. On the right you can see a picture of picture of the planned skyscraper. The origin of this buzz is an article at Archinect about the official permission to begin construction. A lot of friends also posted articles on Facebook, which emphasized the obscurity of this project. All articles contain wrong information which I will try to correct as best as possible. This article is going to clarify the location and context of the project.

While doing research for this issue, I wasn’t easy to find Korean articles about this building. It seems like that the official name of the building is “Cheongna City Tower”. The winner of the design competition GDS Architects named it as “Tower Infinity”. In this post I’ll just use the Tower Infinity or Infinity Tower because this is probably the least important mistake.

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