Greening the metropolis
1 March 2010
Two green infrastructure projects in Seoul, South Korea, show clear environmental, social and economic benefits and are helping to transform the city into an ecologically friendly metropolis.
Seoul is one of the world’s largest and densest cities, with a population of over 10 million people – 24.5 million in the larger metropolitan area – and over 17,000 people per square kilometre.
In the decades after the Korean War (1950-1953) Korean planning priorities championed accelerated industrialisation and modernisation. There is now a different emphasis from both city authorities and residents on health, sustainability and social responsibility.
Innovative projects in Seoul
Seoul’s Metropolitan Government was instrumental in creating Seonyudo Park and restoring the Cheonggyecheon stream:
- Seonyudo Park is an award-winning urban ecological park, created by the conversion of a former water treatment plant.
- The Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project has created a 5.8km landscaped green pathway that runs through the city alongside the revitalised Cheonggyecheon stream.
Both projects provide inspiring examples of how one city’s government can, with vision and determination, transform industrial and polluted areas into green havens for wildlife and people.
Benefits of green infrastructure
Seonyudo Park and the Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project show how new wildlife habitats can be created and integrated into existing urban areas, as part of a larger green infrastructure network. Seonyudo Park is part of a government plan to develop riverside areas into a network of green spaces and the Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project connects Seoul to an ecological conservation area outside the city.
The projects also have social and economic benefits. Seonyudo Park is a popular option for school tours while the completion of the Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project has seen development capital poured into residential construction. Property prices in the surrounding area have risen twice as fast as the rest of the city.
CABE and Urban Practitioners
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