SEOUL / Walkability as Covering Up Tool: A legacy to raise the control over the public

With the idea of ‘Everyone is Pedestrian’. Walking is the only mode of transport that allows everyone, including children, youth, people without motor vehicles and people with mobility difficulties to travel independently. Under the walkable city scheme, adjustments of the existing street have made and 17 more pedestrian walkways have built to create a walkable network around the iconic locations around the city including Namsan and Myeongdong.[1] However, did the encouragement of these paths enough for the pedestrian to turn Seoul into a walkable city?

When discussing the encouragement, it is obvious that a giant infrastructure project is not the best choice, which required high costs and targeting global visitors. The intention of Seoullo 7017 is skeptical. With the past success of Cheoggye River within the period of mayor Lee Myung-Bak and Dongdaemum Design Plaza within the period of mayor Oh SeHoon, is mayor Park Won-Soon building his own legacy in the walkability campaign and become his largest political power in his career? However, there is one definite point, which is walkability is used as a tool to raise the control over the public by Seoul government.

[Figure 1] CCTV cameras on Seoullo 7017
Taking Seoullo 7017 as an example, 29 CCTV cameras for 24 hours monitoring have been installed to monitor the number of people on the bridge. [2][Figure 1] With CCTV cameras, people were continuously being observed by the government even though they were walking freely on the street. Not only Seoullo, CCTV cameras were also installed in most of the walkability projects to ensure the safety of citizens. Walkability project became a reasonable excuse for the Seoul government to install enough CCTV cameras in the capital. With the development of Walkability Campaign, CCTV cameras will be installed in most of the street, leading the infringement of privacy of citizens on street.

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[1] Marina Brenden, “Not Another High Line”, SEOUL Magazine, June 2017, p.8-16, https://books.google.com.hk/books?id=8EQmDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA17&dq=Seoullo+7017&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi7voT7_qnfAhXJa94KHUMzAs8Q6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=Seoullo%207017&f=false

[2] Hong, Yan. “Actual Condition of Seoullo 7017 Overpass Regeneration Project Based on Field Surveys.” Frontiers of Architectural Research, vol. 7, no. 3, 2018, pp. 415–423.

2 Comments on “SEOUL / Walkability as Covering Up Tool: A legacy to raise the control over the public

  1. This is a new concept and quite interesting to know. This concept is essential for security and monitoring the people walking. Are other cities using the same method?
    Also, it would be intriguing to know if there was any public outcry on this or what does the public think about this initiative?

  2. The idea of having pedestrian walkways as a mean to monitor the public is an intriguing concept to me yet I remain doubtful about it. From the image, it seems to me that the CCTV cameras are installed at places that are exposed and obvious, as if the intention is to let the public know that they are being observed. It is understandable that the issue of safety is one of the crucial factors during the implementation of the walkability project, and that the installation of CCTVs makes the walking experience more secured. However, whether it is necessary to have so many CCTV cameras installed remains uncertain to me. In today’s society, no one would want to have their personal space invaded and that privacy gives people a sense of security. Intense monitoring of the public might in turn make people feel more unsafe. It would be more convincing if controversies of the walkability project and comments from the public were included in the blog.

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