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.

Seoul Station Airport Rail Transfer Tunnel Finally Opens

The Line 9 extension wasn’t the only thing that opened today. A new transfer tunnel at Seoul Station from the Airport Railroad to Lines 1 and 4 has finally opened making transfers for those heading to the airport via the subway and bus much easier and faster.

If you’ve ever tried to make this transfer, you’ll know that previously the two subway lines and the Airport Rail were not connected directly. This meant that to transfer, passengers had to leave the subway station, go up the escalators, navigate through the crowds at Seoul Station and then take another escalator down to the Airport Rail station. The new transfer tunnel reduces the transfer distance by 400m from 700m to 300m and also cuts down the time from 12 to 5 minutes.

Comparison of new and previous transfer paths.

Comparison of new and previous transfer paths.

Construction on the tunnel began in June 2012 and went through various safety tests as well as a “user check” together with potential users which included the Disabled Association. Similar to longer transfer paths in other stations, moving walkways are also installed to help keep crowds flowing. Note that the transfer tunnel doesn’t include the Gyeongeui Line which only has services to Munsan once an hour.

KTXs to New Pohang Station from 2 April

pohangmap

Click to view larger image.

Together with the opening of the Honam High Speed Railway on 2 April, the new high speed Donghae (East Sea) Line opens up from Moryang (모량) to a new Pohang Station (포항) on 2 April. This will mean that Pohang residents finally have access to the KTX connections that many other cities in the Gyeongsang Provinces have had for quite a while now. Tickets went on sale last week along with tickets for the Honam Railway. Read more of this post

Concerns as Line 9 Extension Opening Approches

The term 지옥철 or “hell train” is a play on the Korean word for subway and has been tossed around the media over the past month in relation to the opening of Seoul’s Line 9 (Metro 9) extension later this month on 28 March. I’ll get to this in a minute, but first a bit about the extension in case you’re not up to speed.

Line9Map

Please note that final English names of stations may be different than the ones shown here.Original image from Kyunghyang Shinmun.

Read more of this post

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

Traffic Safety, Liveable Cities and a Lobby That Holds Us Back

This is a guest post by Max Neupert. He is an artist and academic who is interested in contemporary social and technological issues. He is a German citizen who has lived in Canada, Australia, Croatia, Bulgaria and is now based in Daegu, Korea. Max is member of ExtraEnergy, a non-profit consumer organisation for sustainable transportation with a focus on Light Electric Vehicles and electric assisted bicycles. Max is professor in the School of Fine Arts at Yeungnam University in Gyeongsan. You can reach him on Twitter @bauchhaus.
Views expressed are his own.

In this second part of the post I describe which issues I see in Korean road safety and I try to suggest possible measures that could help improve the situation. If you want to read the first part about Traffic safety and public (mis-)education, please click here. It will help you understand what I write at the end of this second part. Read more of this post

Traffic Safety and Public (Mis-)Education

This is a guest post by Max Neupert. He is an artist and academic who is interested in contemporary social and technological issues. He is a German citizen who has lived in Canada, Australia, Croatia, Bulgaria and is now based in Daegu, Korea. Max is member of ExtraEnergy, a non-profit consumer organisation for sustainable transportation with a focus on Light Electric Vehicles and electric assisted bicycles. Max is professor in the School of Fine Arts at Yeungnam University in Gyeongsan. You can reach him on Twitter @bauchhaus.
Views expressed are his own.

Part 1: Traffic safety and the education of the future motorist Read more of this post

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