SEOUL / Walkability as Covering Up Tool: Social Media is used as a soft tool by holding events

The idea of walkability started from the ‘Pedestrian-Friendly City’ policy, which is expected to change the map of Seoul from 2014 to 2018 to create spaces where pedestrians and bikers feel comfortable moving around the city without being threatened by speeding cars. [1] Following the policy, ‘Walkable City, Seoul’ [Figure 1] became a brand and campaign in order to make Seoul possible to walk, easy to walk, and making people want to walk and walk together. [2]

[Figure 1] Logo of Brand ‘Walkable City, Seoul’
To further promote the brand, the Seoul government organized regular public events and exhibitions in these walkable sites that are promoted on social media to draw global visitors and young generation attentions. Small events like a ‘light festival’ with several art installations and facilities were hosted in Sewoon Sangga. In response to the Seoul Olympic Window Game, a public art project named ‘Signal, Lights, Connected’ turning plant pits into photo frames was held in Seoullo 7017 in January. [3] [Figure 2]

[Figure 2] Photo of Event ‘Signal, Lights, Connected’

In addition, since declaring Seoul a pedestrian-friendly city by the 35th Mayor of Seoul PARK Won-soon, Annual Walk and Bike Festival is established starting from 2013. [4][Figure 3] The festival allows participants to travel in a specific route in the Seoul central district freely on foot or by bicycle without being worried about vehicles. The festival is now becoming an event with more than 15000 participants and a celebration of walkability in the government campaign. [Figure 4]

[Figure 3] Photo of Walkable Festival in 2013
[Figure 4] Photo of Walk and Bike Festival in 2018
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social media is a new strong power in controlling the human mind. By holding these kinds of walkability related events, posts of the events spread on the social media and public, gaining public and global recognition. Social media becomes a platform to promote walkability to the public.

——————————
[1] Four Year Plan for Seoul, Seoul Metropolitan Government, 2014, http://english.seoul.go.kr/policy-information/key-policies/four-year-plan-seoul-2/01-overview/

[2] Walkable City, Seoul, Seoul Metropolitan Government, 2014, http://english.seoul.go.kr/policy-information/urban-planning/walkable-city-seoul/

[3] Marieke Schmidt. “Shaping Seoul Employing Heritage in the Urban Regeneration Projects Seoullo 7017 and Again Sewoon” Asian Studies, Critical Heritage Studies, Leiden University, 2018, https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/handle/1887/63787/Thesis%20Repository.pdf?sequence=1

[4] Lim, Sam-jin, editor. “Issue 18: The Improvement of the Pedestrian Environment in Korea: Policies and Achievements.” KOTI Knowledge Sharing Report, The Korea Transport Institute, 2015

2 Comments on “SEOUL / Walkability as Covering Up Tool: Social Media is used as a soft tool by holding events

  1. I agree that social media these days have been to known to carry great power in delivering messages or important notices to not just people in your region but all over the world. As a Korean myself, I do feel that Koreans are very keen on using different platforms of social media and are in favour of connecting with others online. Therefore, it would be interesting to also debate upon to what extent are social media platforms effective in promoting walkability and Seoullo (서울로) for citizens. For instance, how many people participated in the “Walk and Bike Festival” and how successful they were in encouraging walkability to others.

  2. From your posts, it is quite clear that Seoullo 7017 is an infrastructure building up a global image and promoting vibrancy in the city. I visited Seoul station twice, before and after Seoullo 7017. The impression to the neighborhood is completely different, from an old district to a futuristic one up on the sky. It leads pedestrians walk into the commercial skyscrapers and to other stations and shopping outlet. At some point, as you mentioned, it covers up the not-so-beauty sides of the neighborhood but directs views to prominent spots. I would see the infrastructure itself as a strong soft tool. The social media and campaigns might be an add-on that promote the city, concept of walkability and strengthen its influence. It might be debatable to discuss the effects and relation between the infrastructure and the use of social media.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.