Seoul: Yeouido// The emotional stress reliever from Seoul, sponsored by the government

The result of having Yeouido in a grid form, naturally it serves as ’emotional stress reliever’ from the chaotic, historic weave of complex city life that Seoul offers. Let’s take this from a driver’s perspective.

“The car is an extension of personal territory…”1. Being in a car allows an insulated environment where controls and vehicular appearance allows negative self-expression of the driver when en route, caused by complications on the road condition that renders a frustrating experience such as abnormal changes in speeds, heavy traffic, long pedestrian crossing tines, impatience, inefficient commutes, impolite cutting in and gestures, verbal abuse…etc.  The weather might make situations worse.

Although the booming economy in South Korea and the availability of American construction knowledge allowed Seoul to well develop road networks, reaching major and minor locations of the metropolis, the network still follows the mountainous and hilly terrain and the historic urban fabric of Han Yang dating back from the Joseon dynasty.

Leaving Yeouido in a grid only simplifies and relieves the road rage that entangled Seoul has intoxicated the driver. It made the 3-kilometer island looked like a dream.

For those that come from the north side of the Han River, using one of the three bridges from either Yongsan or Mapo-gu regions, the Yeouido island is a visual indicator that the bridge has ended and a decision has to be made while the grid offers multiple routes and destinations. Everything seems well organized, clean and opened up, all the aggressive behaviour enacted before crossing the Han River may have been forgotten. The Yeouido island reminds people what a prosperous and advanced city Seoul has become. Those whose final destinations are further in other regions south of the river will be reminded to actively pay attention to the agility of quick control once the roads start deforming as they quickly finish passing the greenery of which perimeters the island.

Those that are going northbound experiences Yeouido’s perfect grid before entering the bridges, although they may not have the same satisfaction on traffic as the opposing lane. Once everyone merges to the bridges, a direct single path across the Han River, it will be as if the cars have never left Yeouido, hoping that they will not reach the end as soon…

According to the land use of Yeouido Island from the Seoul Institute, it is an “aesthetic district”.

Special Districts in Seoul, 2013


  1. Kim, Hyung Min, and Sun Sheng Han. “Seoul.” Cities 29, no. 2 (2012): 142-54.
  2. Miller, Daniel. Car Cultures [electronic Resource]. Materializing Culture. Oxford ; New York: Berg, 2001. (62)
  3. Thrift, Nigel. “Driving in the City.” Theory, Culture & Society 21, no. 4-5 (2004): 41-59.
  4. The Seoul Institute. “Land Use.” 2013.

2 Comments on “Seoul: Yeouido// The emotional stress reliever from Seoul, sponsored by the government

  1. Before reading this post, I would have never thought an urban grid layout would result in happier drivers, but I suppose it would only make sense for psychological states and urban conditions to go hand in hand. The above statement would be especially profound for drivers, with their daily lives entangled with navigation, congestion and parking – activities that point to the contested quality of urban spaces. It’s also interesting to see how this calmer, more content state of mind befits the government’s vision for Yeouido as an ‘aesthetic district’ and the overarching national image of strength, prosperity and growth.

  2. Seoul is welly designed for cars, but not for pedestrians. Most of riverside of Han River is covered by highway, and heavy elevated roads. Use of vehicles is inevitable, and people in Seoul are very satisfying the organised traffic system. In the other hand, many people express their complaints on the elevated roads next to Han River. It divides people from the river. The experience in the vehicle and outside of the vehicle is different, and there is a new birth culture in the riverside of Han River which is ‘Chimaek'(Chicken and Beer). I hope that more riverside is open to people and allow people to enjoy the interaction with the water.

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