SEOUL/ (Before) Walkability as New Modernity: Seoul Station Overpass in 1970s (II)

The post below displays a series of image [3] that features the construction of Seoul Station Overpass, taken prior and right after the construction of the Seoul Station Overpass around 1970. 

Rendering – Propaganda of  the Seoul Station Overpass as a streamlined infrastructure that intersperse in-between the buildings
Photograph – Documentary of the Seoul Station Overpass construction process
The scale of the foundation of the Overpass in great contrast with the houses at the back.  
Photograph – Documentary of the Seoul Station Overpass construction process
Great amount of manpower required to construct the Overpass. 
Photograph – Documentary of the Seoul Station Overpass construction process
Large billboard on the existed section of the Overpass describing the scope of work to fellow workers and citizens. 
Photograph – Documentary of the Seoul Station Overpass construction process
Large billboard and people

Even though the overpass has later on deteriorated physically, it was nevertheless “a symbol of modernization, and the first impression of Seoul” [2] in 1970s. The Seoul Station Overpass was situated at a prime location in Seoul, cutting across neighborhoods and the Seoul City Hall. Apart from being a city-scale infrastructure, the Overpass was also a “spot for assembly during the series of pro-democracy movements in the 1980s, including the Seoul Station Assembly in 1980 and the June Democracy Movement in 1987” and “[a spot] where reporters took photographs of important historic[al] events” [1] . These other social functions reflected its importance and significance back in the 1970s-80s, not only as an infrastructure but also a symbol of the decades.  

References:

  1. NA. “Report: Turning an Overpass into a Forest: Seoullo 7017.” The Seoul Institute and Centre for Liveable Cities Singapore, 2018, www.clc.gov.sg/docs/default-source/reports/bc-2018-06-turning-an-overpass-into-a-forest-seoullo-7017.pdf.
  2. Seoul Metropolitan Government . “Urban Planning of Seoul.” Urban Planning Bureau, 2016, http://seoulsolution.kr/sites/default/files/gettoknowus/[Brochure_En] Urban Planning of Seoul_2016.pdf.
  3. 조경과 편의시설 | 서울로7017, Seoul Metropolitan Government , 2018, http://seoullo7017.seoul.go.kr/SSF/ENG/H/ARC/010/01010.do.

2 Comments on “SEOUL/ (Before) Walkability as New Modernity: Seoul Station Overpass in 1970s (II)

  1. It’s rather fascinating how an infrastructural facet intended to work at a city-scale can also become so intimately, and perhaps more significant, when the people themselves bring its scope down to human scale. This reminds me of the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong where the citizens themselves switched the function of the infrastructure to facilitate vehicular movement, to become a gathering platform for the people. I do find myself questioning, however, whether or not the human intervention with the infrastructure in a way demeans the intended function for it? Perhaps using it as a spot for assembly is a means to demonstrate an act for a certain political party, but doing so it also negates its original function and creates a disturbance for the city as a whole (similar to Hong Kong where the logistics of business and transportation came to an unappreciated halt).

  2. It is amazing to see the human participation in the highway as a symbol of the interplay between different scales. I do wonder does it represent another kind of shortcomings of the Korean government of not being able to provide public spaces and venues where similar social activities could take place. Although with a different political system and certainly demonstrations are strictly prohibited, its another half, North Korea does have lot of public squares or assembly venues where the the power is being preached and social gatherings could take place.

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