Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project

Seoul, South Korea

The Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project created a 5.8km landscaped green pathway that runs alongside the revitalised Cheonggyecheon stream in Seoul, South Korea.

Seoul is one of the world’s largest cities and has a population of over 10 million people - 24.5 million in the larger metropolitan area. It is also one of the densest, with over 17,000 people per square kilometre. The Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project opens up a congested, overpopulated and polluted neighbourhood north of the Hangang River.

The project required the dismantling and demolition of an elevated highway, and the uncovering of the historic 5.8 km waterway that ran underneath. This was transformed into an ecologically sensitive green pedestrian corridor.

The restoration of the Cheonggyecheon stream became a vehicle for revitalisation, urban renewal and economic development. It also signified a shift in Korean planning priorities. Whereas the decades after the Korean War (1950-1953) championed accelerated industrialisation and modernisation, there is now a different emphasis from both city authorities and residents on health, sustainability and social responsibility.

The Cheonggyecheon project followed these themes throughout. Despite its origins at a city scale within Seoul, it has become a template for planning intention and action across South Korea.

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