SEOUL / Walkability as Covering Up Tool: Conflict between Walkability and Local Habitat

Seoullo 7017 is the largest walkability architectural landmark in the term of office of recent Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon. This post is going to further discuss one covered side effects of this specific walkability project, evaluating the walkability campaign lead by Park starting from 2013.

It is impossible to have no negative impacts when a huge infrastructure is revitalized no matter how hard the Seoul government is attempted to cover the facts. In fact, Seoullo 7017 disrupted the original local habitat according to the interviews done by the Korea Expose, a media company committed to diversifying the narratives about South Korea. Starting from the close of the overpass, the real estate prices in the nearby area had risen by 20-30%. The rent of the shop increased with the rise of the property prices, which threatened the existing low-income business in the area. [1]

Moreover, the closure of overpass disrupted the business habitat of many sewing workshop in Malli-dong, which heavily rely on Namdaemun Market for business. According to An Chung-man, an owner of a clothing and footwear store in Namdaemun Market, the travel times from one sides to another side of the overpass is lengthened, which more time was taken for them to send clothes to Malli-dong. [2] With the lengthened travel time of vehicles, air pollution has caused and traffic congestion has created on Yeomcheon Bridge, which lies a hundred meters further. [3]

[Figure 1] Map of major connections along Seoullo 7017
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[1][2] Ben Jackson, “Seoullo 7017: Urban Asset or Vanity Project?”, Korea Expose, May 20, 2017, https://www.koreaexpose.com/seoullo-urban-asset-vanity-project/

[3] 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 Comments on “SEOUL / Walkability as Covering Up Tool: Conflict between Walkability and Local Habitat

  1. It is important to note that there is always going to be a side effect when a huge infrastructure is being introduced in an urban setting. Behind this phenomenon, there was a tension between the walkability and local habitat in this context. You’ve shown examples explaining the negative impacts that have risen such as a rise in land prices. Perhaps you could explain more on how people’s everyday life is being interrupted and affected by Seoullo 7017, and what might have been done to solve the problem.

  2. Do you think that the negative impacts of Seoullo 7017 outweigh the positives or vice versa? In the opposite case of the Nihonbashi bridge in Tokyo, the metropolitan expressway is built over it, blocking views and making walkability unpleasant but helped in cutting construction costs and effective transportation with its completion. Moreover, the government are making arrangements by 2020 to move the expressway underground and resolve the environmental and social impacts caused by the expressway. Are there future or on- going plans to resolve the conflict that is happening around Seoullo 7017? Or are the conflicts only temporary?

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