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heong Gye Cheon, a pedestrian green instead of the motorway

The South Korean example of urban regeneration passes through exemplary works. The construction or, better said, the restructuring of the channel Cheong Gye Cheon is an example. Roadway built over a water course, it has gone in a few years, a pedestrian path just steps from the water.

Over 600 years ago, during the Joseon Dynasty, Seoul was chosen to become the capital city. By the 15th century the Cheong Gye Cheon was widened and deepened to prevent flooding and it obtained several accessories like bridges, dykes, and stone embankments. Eventually, it became a sewage system for urban dwellers for a short 500 years. It endured the long repeated cycles of dredging and building of higher embankments with the continued growth of population. For Koreans, Cheong Gye Cheon means “clear water stream,” but by the Japanese occupation between 1910 – 1945, it was so polluted the Japanese referred to is as Takygyecheon… a.k.a. “dirty water system.”  The Japanese also started covering tributaries in concrete, creating an underground sewage system for the city. After WWII came the Korean War. Refugees moved to Seoul and created shanty towns along Cheong Gye Cheon (pictured below) and continued its pollution. Soon the “clear water stream” became a symbol of poverty and filth, and while the city tried to redefine and redevelop, it was soon completely covered. …Then came the freeways. Cutting through the heart of Seoul, the major freeway, that followed the stream it was named after, was built in the 1970s. Well thank goodness for Lee Myung-bak. The former mayor, and current president, had a vision for a more environmentally-friendly and livable Seoul, and in 2003 the 3.6 mile Cheong Gye Cheon Restoration project began. The project team consisted of Cheongsuk Engineering, Saman Engineering, Dongmyung Engineering, and SeoAhn Total Landscape. The project has been widely accepted as a success and serves as an example for future projects like the  Los Angeles River project. As President, Lee Myung-bak continues to implement forward thinking environmental projects, like the Four Major Rivers Project, which restored the Han River, Nakdong River, Geum River and Yeongsan River, and was completed October 21, 2011.

The projectThe project. The basic requirement of the competition was to highlight the expectation for the future reunification of North and South Korea . The project symbolizes this political commitment through the use of local stone donated by each of the eight provinces of North and South Korea. The individual stones frame the urban square and the eight points of origin where the flow is illuminated by the light of the sun to represent the effort in the transformation of this urban center . The Canal ChonGae Restoration is located at an important point of origin , forming a green line seven miles long that starts in the central district of the city. The goal was to restore this way d ' water blanket and highly polluted with the demolition of almost four kilometers of the ' highway that divided the city . Finally, there was the creation of a pedestrian focused that brings people into contact with the water of aa ChonGae , and at the same time mitigates the flood .

Relationship of people with water. The design was driven by the levels of water every hour and from season to season , while addressing the catastrophic floods that occur during intense storms in the monsoon season . The restoration of this area is the first step in an effort to major redevelopment of these seven miles of the river , also in view of the current architectural ambitious redevelopment projects that serve as a frame for this drainage basin for the city. The ribbon cutting was there in October 2005 , on the main square . This urban open space has become a central meeting place for the city which has benefited from a renewed relationship with the population of the river. In a city where green spaces are few and get to the "campaign" takes hours , the presence of a simple green place , slightly separated from the most brutal urban traffic , produces a constant flow of people, during the day and at night. The vegetation has grown , so spontaneous and abundant along the banks of the canal.

In the city of Seoul has been realized an ambitious urban regeneration project. In a short time has been valued by a water covered the road. Has benefited the social aspect of the entire city