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City Project: Seoullo 7017

Seoullo 7017

"The Seoul Station overpass was constructed in 1970 as a response to the growing traffic congestion in Seoul. For decades, the highway connected the eastern and western halves of the city. Once an elevated highway, it has been transformed into Seoullo 7017, an elevated public park for pedestrians. Seoullo 7017's name is a nod to its origins; 70 for the year the overpass was first constructed, and 17 for the year of the highway's rebirth. The number 17 also refers to the number of pedestrian paths that make up Seoullo. Where cars once sped along, people will now be able to wander. " (from http://english.visitkorea.or.kr)

The Seoullo 7017 project was initiated by the current major of the city Seoul. Its purpose is to bring more attractions to the Seoul station area. Until now the Seoul station was a central point for many people, who commute through the city, because train, underground and bus come here together. However it was never a nice place, where people wanted to stay longer. Many homeless and run-down stores are located there.

After opening Seoullo 7017 the people can take a walk over the busy streets, eat snacks, take pictures,etc.

So there are various places on Seoullo 7017, where the city planners created something to entertain the visitors. For example a trampoline for children, kind of spyholes in the ground, seating areas, water bassins,etc.

The first thing that you will find out is, that unfortunately a lot of things are built with concrete. There are also many plants and trees, but they are all framed and squeezed into these spaces.

At the time I visited, the overpass was filled with people of all ages. Also there were a few streets musicians, who contributed to a nice atmosphere. Overall the purpose of revitalization through this project could be seen.

At first sight it seemed almost perfect.

Sadly you could not ignore the big amount of sloppily executed concrete and parts of the construction. For a few month old work it is really a bad example of Korean construction method. The speed of projects is mostly more important than the quality. In this case this is a project of political concern. Therefore I guess the people, who initialized Seoullo 7017, wanted to "collect the harvest they have sown."

If you plan and create something new, then everyone would expect it to look fresh and new. But here it looks like either it had been used for quite a long time or the workers were in a rush to complete and did not make it in time.

The fast contrustruction speed is in general something I admire here in South Korea. Buildings and projects are planned and built in such a short time span. However, you can not deny that oftentimes the quality and accuracy suffer under these circumstances.

Hopefully the Seoullo 7017 will improve and emerge to a place, that lives up to the peoples need and expectations.

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