Innovative Maintenance Project and Design in Urban Planning Innovations for New Apartment Sceneries

Seoul announced the Urban and Construction Innovation (Proposal) on the 12th (Tues.) which is intended to be a step towards actualizing its announcement regarding urban planning innovation aimed at breaking away from being an isolated, dreary “apartment republic” in which areas are cut off from the rest of the city like islands and towards restoring natural spaces and communities to foster more futuristic settings.

The city will essentially be implementing a new process for urban and architectural innovation. As an arbiter in urban planning, Seoul will work together with residents and offer professional support from start to finish for this restoration project. Seoul plans to inspire more dynamic architectural designs which take into consideration the city’s overall landscape and its connection with history and culture starting from the first step of this project. Residents’ potential will be fostered by increasing transparency regarding the business related aspects of this project so conflicts related to issues of cost, duration, and inconvenience will be drastically reduced.

To realize these objectives, preliminary public planning will be conducted at an earlier stage of the overall project in order to share the project guidelines. The Seoul Apartment Development Standard will also be organized to overcome the detachment and confinement of apartment complexes as they are and create more open feeling apartments. This standard will also be applied to all future apartment maintenance projects.

During construction and design, a city organization composed of experts will offer aid to help get innovative design concepts put into new designs. The city will provide a total KRW 100-500 million for design and contribution expenses in addition to the costs required for a Resident General Meeting for the selection of a public proposal.

Among private buildings in Seoul, housing takes up large portion at 58%, and due to the uniformity and shutdown of many apartment buildings these buildings have an impact on the landscape of the city must be overcome to actualize the 100-year plan for urban planning revolution.

Seoul’s Urban and Construction Innovation (Proposal) address four main issues: ▴the implementation of a new process for support which is responsible to the public ▴the introduction of the preliminary public planning step for urban planning ▴the urban restoration of apartment complexes ▴and innovation in architectural design. A professional organization will be formed and systematic support will be given for the realization of these four goals.

Seoul’s Noksapyeong Station Garden Transforms into an Art Gallery

Noksapyeong Subway Station’ transformed into an art gallery with a garden where public artworks, natural light, and plants merge together. The wicket that was on the second basement floor was moved to the fourth floor basement to open the entire subway station space to the public, from basement levels 1-4, excluding the platform.

The unique and beautiful architecture of Noksapyeong Station was constructively utilized for artworks display and an underground garden, from the station entrance to the fifth floor basement with the platform.

Along the entire inner wall of Noksapyeong Station’s large, 35-meter trademark courtyard, or main hall, will hang a thin metal curtain to reflect the sunlight shining in through the glass ceiling dome of the central courtyard, while the inside of the station will be made into a giant canvas that encompasses lights in a constantly changing motion. The lights will change while riding the escalator to create a sense of space transformation.

In the fourth floor basement waiting room, previously neglected despite being an open area, artworks based on forest theme are awaiting visitors. From the ceiling hangs knitted, aluminum wires that create an atmosphere similar to a tunnel filled with vegetation with one side containing installation artworks resembling the pine tree trails of Namsan Mountain. The innermost space, the fifth floor basement platform, is filled with works showcasing the docile, warm coloring of colored pencils that brighten the unwelcoming atmosphere of the platform.

The empty circular hall on the fourth floor basement transformed into a plant garden with over 600 different plants. In addition to being a space of seeing and healing, gardeners will cultivate plants, amid a series of gardening programs, in which the public may freely participate.

The Noksapyeong Station Underground Art Garden is composed of public artworks by seven global artists and local intermediate and rising artists, an underground plant garden, and public facilities, including a gallery and seminar room.

The Underground Plant Garden was created underground at a depth reaching the height of an 11 story building, located at the fourth floor basement’s circular hall. The natural light that penetrates through the glass ceiling dome during the daytime enhances the panoramic of the area.

The neglected spaces were used to create the first floor basement gallery and fourth floor basement seminar room for public use. The spaces are planned for use involving exhibitions, art programs, lectures, and performances.

With the opening of Noksapyeong Station’s public art garden, the Noksapyeong Walk program is scheduled to launch on a regular basis, which is a program entailing a walking tour from Noksapyeong Station through Yongsan Park Gallery and around Yongsan Garrison. The Noksapyeong Walk is a public-participatory program and walking tour linked with the Yongsan Park Gallery that beings from the first floor basement of Noksapyeong Station. Advanced program registration is open to the public via the Public Service Reservation website (

The ‘Noksapyeong Public Art Project’ does not simply import artworks into the subway station, but rather, is a new attempt to innovatively change the way subway station spaces are used. Artwork and public spaces along the inner structure of Noksapyeong Station naturally integrated into the current space, like wallpaper, to enable a transformation into an art gallery for its entirety to become a piece of art in itself.

Inquiries: Noksapyeong Station Project Development Office (☎82-2-338-8823)

Featured Works

Featured Works
Dance of Light
Forest Gallery
Noksapyeong where…
Times of the Wall
The Depth of Distance – A Chronicle of the Moment

Launch of 2040 Global Metropolitan Mega Plan

With continual occurrence of urban problems that go beyond the boundaries of the administrative regions of the metropolitan area to reach a megalopolitan dimension, and the need for countermeasures increasing on a wider scale, Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi-do, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will launch a collaborative service for the establishment of Metropolitan City-Region Planning.

Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi-do regions form a large ‘megalopolis community (shared life zone)’ that are extremely close and connected to surrounding cities in terms of space and function. Accordingly, the need for comprehensive measures against issues such as metropolitan traffic systems, air quality improvements, and prevention of thoughtless development at a megalopolitan level have continually increased, but a practical metropolitan plan that encompasses the metropolitan area still remains absent.

The Metropolitan City-Region Planning is the most significant city plan under the regulation of the National Land Planning and Utilization Act, and as a plan that presents a long-term direction for the development of megalopolitan districts under planning, it will also present reorganization of spatial structure, use of metropolitan land and facilities, and division of city functions.

This Metropolitan City-Region Planning will resolve megalopolitan traffic and environmental issues in accordance with the reorganization period of the Fifth Comprehensive National Development Plan (’20-’40) and the Fourth Seoul Metropolitan Area Readjustment Planning (’21-’40), while stressing the establishment of a practical plan for metropolitan development appropriate for such time of population decrease and low growth.

The proposal for the 2040 Metropolitan City-Region Planning will be drafted early next year, and the final plan will be confirmed late next year after deliberation by the Central Urban Planning Committee.

Seoul to Rise Beyond its Status as World’s Top E-Government to Become a Smart City with 50,000 IoT Sensors Across the City

This year marks the 20th year since Seoul founded a national unit organization in relation to informatization for the official launch of an ICT-based city management and operations policy. Seoul plans to rise above its overwhelming status for seven consecutive years as number one in e-Governance in the world, and kick into high gear to attain the goal of cutting-edge ‘Smart City Seoul’ based on big data and new ICT.

At the core of Smart City Seoul is big data known as the ‘crude oil of the 21st century.’ Continuing Seoul’s individual services that operated under the name of ‘informatization’ such as the Owl Buses, public Wi-Fi, and mVoting, Seoul will combine the IoT, blockchain, and other key technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to the world’s best ICT technology, infrastructure, and accumulated city and administrative data which have been constructed until now, in order to create a new growth engine and offer new services as never before experienced in the past.

For this project, 50,000 ‘IoT (Internet of Things) sensors’ will be installed throughout Seoul. In the area of transportation, the ‘Shared Parking System’ will be introduced within the year to relieve chronic parking difficulties with the IoT sensor that will grasp the availability of parked cars in real time, allowing citizens to check, reserve, and pay for parking spaces via a smartphone app. The sensors will analyze floating population data even when installing senior welfare centers and other infrastructure in order to expand infrastructure to areas of demand. When establishing city plans or constructing new buildings, the ‘3D-based Virtual Seoul’ system will simulate how these will affect the existing city environment and upgrade city management policies.

Also, 120 Dasan Call Center will apply a trial run of the ‘Chat Bot’ function, which automatically responds to citizens’ questions using the artificial intelligence (AI) technology, and images will be analyzed based on big data and AI technology to officially introduce ‘Intelligent CCTV’ that automatically detects particular situations like fights and fires.

Seoul Mandates the Installment of ‘95% Fine Dust-filtering’ Ventilation Equipment in New Buildings

New construction, extension, and remodeling of buildings in Seoul will require the installment of ‘mechanical ventilation equipment’ that will filter out more than 95% of fine dust. These buildings will also be required to install the eco-friendly condensing boilers that reduce 77% of nitrogen oxide, which is the main cause of fine dust, as compared to regular boilers.

This is the attempt to filter out fine dust that flow into buildings and reduce the formation of fine dust within buildings to provide citizens who spend many hours in buildings with a safe indoor environment that protects against fine dust.

Seoul examined the [Green Building Standards] and established plans to increase ‘Green Buildings’ by applying them to cases requesting construction approval from City Hall and the district office from February 24, in an effort to reduce fine dust. Upon approval for construction by Seoul City and autonomous districts, the mandated installments will be implemented by checking to see whether Green Building Standards were reflected in construction designs.

Furthermore, the new building standard mandates that residential buildings with more than thirty households and non-residential buildings of more than 3,000m2 in total area must install solar-powered equipment that amounts to 5% capacity of the ground area.

Seoul’s New Gwanghwamun to Return to the Citizens in 2021 with Announcement of International Design Competition Winners

Gwanghwamun Square will be returned to citizens in 2021, transformed into a national symbolic plaza and open democratic space with treasured historicity.

The road in front of Sejong Center for the Performing Arts will be made into a public square to expand the area to 3.7 times the current size, and the three separate underground spaces, including Haechi Plaza, will be integrated to form a new square. By successfully combining the areas of Gwanghwamun Square, the historic landscape that leads from Bugaksan Mountain to the Hangang River will be restored.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced the final winner of the International Design Competition, the future blueprint of the new Gwanghwamun Square, on the 21st. The winning work is “Deep Surface” (Awaken the past and future), which won against a competitive ratio of 70:1.
The competition proved as popular as the symbolic growth of ‘Gwanghwamun Square,’ through the participation of 202 architects and landscaping experts of 70 teams from 17 countries.

The winning design plans to actualize three goals that reflect the city’s general direction. These three goals are: ①completion of a national symbolic axis (Bugaksan Mountain – Gwanghwamun Square – Sungnyemun Gate – Yongsan – Hangang River) through restoration of Jujak-daero (Yukjo-geori), ②creation of a citizen-oriented space of multi-leveled memories through the dimensional connection of the above-ground and underground squares, and ③reconstruction of the Korean landscape that joins nature and the city (Bugaksan Mountain – Gyeongbokgung Palace – Gwanghwamun Plaza).

The concept of the above-ground space is “Empty,” while that of the underground space is “Full.” The above-ground square will pull together the rather unorganized structures and arrangements nearby, to allow for a clear view of Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bugaksan Mountain, and will be an open space for various large-scale events. The underground square will be a space of relaxation, culture, education, and experience, filled with year-round cultural events such as concerts and exhibitions.

Seoul has designated this project as the “New Gwanghwamun Project,” and the future Gwanghwamun Square presented by the winning work will be actualized without setbacks, while extensively innovating the Gwanghwamun city space to encompass history, culture, transportation, and landscape environment.

Seoul will host an award ceremony on the 25th (Friday) in the eighth floor Multi-Purpose Hall of Seoul City Hall. The winning design and other works will be revealed and exhibited to the public in the City Hall lobby and Gwanghwamun Haechi Plaza.

Winning Design

Gwanghwamun Square comparison photos (past·present·future)

< 1974 Gwanghwamun Square (Source: National Archives of Korea) >

< Present state of Gwanghwamun Square >

< Formation plan (proposed) for Gwanghwamun Square >

Construction of ‘Hanyangdoseong On-site Museum’ to Begin in January

Seoul will preserve the site of the Hanyangdoseong City Wall that was revealed through a two-year excavation in its original form to construct the ‘Hanyangdoseong On-site Museum’ of 43,630 ㎡. Construction began in January, and the museum is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year to open to citizens and local and overseas visitors in February 2020.

The ‘Hanyangdoseong On-site Museum’ will offer a vivid experience of the fortification technology, excavation and preservation processes of Hanyangdoseong together with historical traces of 600 years at the foot of Hoehyeon of Namsan Mountain from the Joseon period to the Japanese occupation and the modern times. The city will preserve the excavated city walls and old site in its entirety and original form to build an on-site museum with minimal facilities comprising the permanent protective facility and observation deck.

An optimal viewing course for easy access will be formed, and the permanent protective facility will be installed with pillars and semi-transparent, lightweight roofs with no exterior walls. This is intended to wholly protect the site while minimizing damage of the Namsan Mountain landscape. A landscaping project suitable to the vegetation of Namsan Mountain will also be realized.
Seoul consulted with experts of various fields from the designing stage and regarding the cultural property to preserve and maintain the discovered site in its original form. The city also held discussions about facility size, form, materials and more that will satisfy both site preservation and an optimal viewing environment.

At the small exhibition center will be an exhibit of remains and models that show the past and present of Hanyangdoseong and foot of Hoehyeon of Namsan Mountain, old documentary photos of Namsan Botanical Garden, and various excavated relics.

Construction of ‘Hanyangdoseong On-site Museum’ to Begin in January
Before (image) and after (image) construction of the On-site Museum
Before (image) and after (image) construction of the On-site Museum
Before constructionAfter construction
Before constructionAfter construction

Seoul Residents Choose ”Parking” as No. 1 Anticipated Item of Sharing City Project “Ttareungi” Most Popular Policy

Seoul conducted the 2018 Sharing City Policy Awareness Survey over the course of six days from December 6-11, 2018, targeting 1,000 Seoul residents over 19 years of age in order to identify the general awareness of residents regarding shared policies to create a plan for the promotion of policy.

The survey aimed to research policy contribution, current level of policy promotion, and any inconveniences, in addition to the level of awareness, experience, and satisfaction of Seoul’s shared policies to help serve as the groundwork for improvement. The public sharing service category was included in the survey for the first time to utilize as key data in policy establishment to further advocate a public sharing economy.

The most anticipated project for the future promotion of Seoul’s Sharing City policy was Shared Parking Lots at 95.7%, followed by Ttareungi, Seoul Public Bicycle at 93.1%, Public Space, Facilities Sharing at 90%, Tool Rental Shop at 88.7%, and Sharing of Children’s Clothing and Toys at 87.9%, for a total percentage exceeding 87%.

It was found that the levels of awareness and satisfaction for Sharing City Policy were high, with a rate of 97.7% among Seoul residents answering that they are familiar with more than one of the sharing policies, while the actual level of awareness of the Sharing City Project was much lower at 59.6%.

The level of awareness regarding each policy showed Ttareungi, Seoul Public Bicycle ranked first at 92.5%, Nanumcar (car sharing) at 71.6%, followed by Shared Parking Lots at 48.6%, and Sharing of Children’s Clothing and Toys at 30.8%.

The percentage of people having actually used one of the policy-based services within the past year came out at 55.4%, with Ttareungi, Seoul Public Bicycle occupying the top rank at 38.9%. Open Data Portal took the top spot last year as the most frequently used service, averaging 25.2 uses on a daily basis.

The satisfaction levels of individual projects were shown to be 93.9% for Ttareungi, Seoul Public Bicycle, 91.0% for Nanumcar, 90.9% for Sharing of Children’s Clothing and Toys, 88.8% for Shared Parking Lots, and 88.7% for Shared Public Spaces and Facilities, for a grand total of an 85% satisfaction rate. The level of satisfaction among people using the policy-based services proved far higher than the level of awareness, revealing a high public satisfaction rate among people utilizing the sharing services.

The reason for use of these services were based in the convenience of service use times and locations at 62.7%, simple and accessible process at 47.8%, and economic profit at 42.2%.

The survey also touched upon exactly how much policy has contributed to life in Seoul. As a result, 80% of respondents answered that these services helped promote a greater quality of life, indicating their effectiveness.

The most significant policy of this survey was the shared parking lot. This project is a Seoul policy in which resident-priority parking lots, annexed parking lots, and unused parking spaces are shared, resulting in its ranking first at 95.7% as a policy that people wanted promoted in the future as well. Of all the shared policies of the survey, this policy ranked first with 62.5% being unaware of the shared policies, responding that they have the intention of utilizing the shared parking lot service. The satisfaction levels among the public reached 88.8%, which was 9.1% higher than the results of the 2017 survey at 79.7%.

This was the first survey conducted, targeting these services. Results found that there was great interest in Ttareungi, with the public awareness level of the service itself at 50.7%, with the anticipation for further policy promotion at 33.0%.

Idle Underground Space of Seoul’s Jonggak Station Reborn as Solar-powered Garden

Idle Underground Space of Seoul’s Jonggak Station Reborn as Solar-powered Garden

The underground idle space (850㎡), stretching from Jonggak Station of Seoul subway Line 1 to Jongno Books, will open in October 2019 as an underground garden that uses solar energy to grow its vegetation.

This project’s main facility is the solar lighting system that draws in sunlight below ground to create an underground environment favorable for plant growth. Natural light is drawn in through eight lighting systems in the ceiling to recreate a sunlit, cave-like atmosphere.

During the night hours, on rainy or foggy days when there is little sunlight, the solar lighting system will automatically switch to LED lighting to allow for regular illuminance regardless of the weather outside. Canopies that reflect and intensify light will be installed on the ceiling, and the light and plants will be mirrored on the canopy to present an ambience like that of a botanical garden.

The garden where plants are grown will be approximately one-sixth (145㎡) of the total space. The underground garden will create a small botanical garden in the city with growing vegetation all year round, including fruit-bearing trees that require intensive sunlight, such as lemon trees and orange trees, as well as moss and other shade plants.

Areas throughout the garden will be used for plant workshops and classes, performances, meetings, and healing programs (yoga, meditation, etc.) for office workers, to serve as a lasting, variable space. The stairs at both ends of the underground space will be remodeled into a stand-like design for the public to unwind or enjoy performances.

In addition, following the formation of the underground garden, the city will promote the recognition of new facilities as an “underground garden dependent on natural light” by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) through a monitoring process and gathering of data. Further review of the possibility for policy exportation, both at home and abroad, will also be conducted with the goal of establishing an underground R&D hub.

Opening of Completed Deoksugung Stone Wall Path

Opening of Completed Deoksugung Stone Wall Path

Seoul began long negotiations with the British Embassy in Seoul in 2014 to complete the disconnected section of the Deoksugung Stone Wall Path for the public’s benefit and is now on the cusp of opening.

The 100m closed section of the Deoksugung Stone Wall Path, stretching from the British Embassy staff dorm entrance to the rear entrance of the embassy building, was opened to the public in August 2017, while the previously left unfinished, 70m section, stretching from the embassy’s rear entrance to the front gate, was successfully completed by the city of Seoul and the Cultural Heritage Administration within a one year and three month period.

Seoul paved a design on the existing stone wall path from the British Embassy Seoul front gate to Sejong-daero and secured a pedestrian walkway by using bollards complementing the wall, as well as faint landscape lighting for added visibility and ambience.

The inner sloped paths of Deoksugung Palace transformed into pedestrian deck areas for convenient access to the surroundings, while leveled walkways were paved with dirt. Wooden railings were also installed to disperse the flow of Deoksugung Palace visitors.

The inner pedestrian path of the Deoksugung Stone Wall Path will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and closed on Mondays, so as to coincide with the operation hours of the Deuksugung Palace and to promote the preservation of palace structures.

A walk along the newly-opened stone wall path will tell of the history of peculiar, old trees planted along the path, as well as the surrounding ancient palace and British architecture that emanate an exotic charm. The completed path is also anticipated to radiate its unique color scheme throughout each of the four seasons.

First opening of building (USO) inside Yongsan Garrison

용산공원 갤러리 YOUNGSAN PARK GALLRY 2018-2019 용산공원시민소통곤간 JOINT EXHBITION oF SEOUL USFX INVITE YOU! 서울시 주한미군 공동전시회에 초대합니다! 2018. 11. 30 개관 관람시간 : 월-금 10:00~16:30 ※ 주말 공휴일은 휴관 전시장소 : 캠프킴 부지 내 옛 USO 건물

Seoul will create and open ‘Yongsan Park Gallery’ in the old United Service Organization (USO) building (616㎡) on Camp Kim, Yongsan. The building at Yongsan Garrison, a site that prohibited citizen entrance, will open to the public for the first time in 114 years. The USO was closed after the relocation of the United States Forces Korea (USFK) headquarters to Pyeongtaek.

It is estimated that the old USO building at Camp Kim was first built 110 years ago in 1908. As a structure that shared the modern and present-day history of Korea from the time following the Korean War to August 2018, the USO building itself has substantial architectural and historical value.

The exhibition will be co-managed by the city of Seoul and the USFK. A total of 60 articles comprised of photos, maps, and images in possession of the Seoul Museum of History, the National Archives of Korea, Yongsan Cultural Center, and individuals, will be put on display at the exhibition. The gallery will depict the role of Yongsan Garrison, the symbol of South Korea-United States relations for 73 years, and the symbiotic growth and relations between Seoul and the USFK during the city’s 65 years of advancement following the Korean War.
Seoul will operate a ‘communicational space’ within Yongsan Park Gallery at the close of 2018 in order to share information about the creation of Yongsan Park, accumulate data, and collect a wide variety of opinions.

Yongsan Park Gallery will be operated with the ‘Yongsan Garrison Bus Tour’ that will give visitors a tour of Yongsan Garrison’s main spots.

Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square to Expand in Size and Significance

By 2021, the Gwanghwamun Square will transform into Korea’s premiere culture space following the restoration of its historical and symbolic value. The core goal of this project is to integrate the severed sections of the square and restore the historical value of the Seoul City Wall, and Gwanghwamun Square to provide a walking area naturally embedded into daily life.

The Gwanghwamun Square will be expanded toward the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts to make for a 24,600 ㎡ renovated public area, while a 44,700 ㎡ ‘Historic Square’ will be newly built where the Sajik-ro and Yulgok-ro are currently located. Once construction is completed, the overall scale of the Gwanghwamun Square will have increased 3.7 times from 18,840 ㎡ to 69.300 ㎡. The Woldae, a stone base at the entrance of Gwanghwamun Square, will be restored after having been destroyed during the Japanese Occupation, and the statue of Haetae, once located in front of the Woldae, will be moved back toward the square to its original location.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to revitalize the downtown area having connected vicinity neighborhoods, including Seochon, Bukchon, Insa-dong and Jeong-dong, for a comfortable walking environment, while utilizing more active urban planning to create resting and commercial areas within the lower floors of surrounding public and private buildings.

<Overlook of ‘Historic Square’>
Historic Square

<Overlook of Public Square>
Public Square