Seoul / Cheonggyecheon, the symbol of the modernity

Cheonggyecheon is a stream that pass through Seoul, surrounded by a promenade. This site went under an urban renewal project that radically change the perception of this place.

This map covers the area situated between Jung-gu (in orange) and Jongno-gu (in purple).
This map covers the area situated between Jung-gu (in orange) and Jongno-gu (in purple).
Aerial view of Cheonggyecheon
Aerial view of Cheonggyecheon in 1974 / 1977 / 1981 / 1999 / 2003

Historically, the boundaries of Seoul was Jung and Jongno districts, so the main river that pass in the city wasn’t the Han River but Cheonggyecheon. It used to be a part of the drainage system during the Joseon Dynasty.

Starting in 1958s, the stream has been covered by concrete after the government referred to it as a polluted area. In 1976, a 16m wide express elevated highway had been constructed.

Cheonggyecheon stays still today one of the major symbol of the successful industrialization and modernization of Seoul by showcasing a new urban plan. This plan consists of projecting an exterior area where people can walk on and sit on. This bring back a social dimension to this place and show clearly how Seoul changes and grows very fast.

Remaining pillars of the expressway that was formerly in place
Remaining pillars of the expressway that was formerly in place

The debate that was surrounding the project was the cost. A total of $384 million were needed to the completion which did not help in the opinion of the people against the project. Nevertheless, nowadays the area successfully introduced a new atmosphere in the district, erasing (or almost) what was there before, and it became a major gathering place of the capital.

Before and after view of Cheonggyecheon
Before and after view of Cheonggyecheon

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