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  • Seoul Pursues Balanced Development with Compact Cities Near Train Stations

  • Urban Planning News SMG 2669

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) will be executing its “Train Station Vicinity Vitalization Project” in which it will turn the conveniently situated living-friendly areas near train stations into “compact cities” where residents’ houses and workplaces are placed in each other’s vicinity by employing customized high-density and mixed-use land development.

    The SMG announced its basic plan (tentative) for the five pilot target areas of the customized mixed-use land development for each train station sphere announced by the city in June 2019 for the Train Station Vicinity Vitalization Project’s first phase.

    The project will involve enhancing the areas’ use–from a residential district to a commercial district–and increasing the area ratio, and assigning 50% of the increased area for essential public-funded facilities, such as publically leased facilities (offices, shops and houses) and public parking lots.
    The five selected areas include the vicinity of Gongneung Station, the vicinity of Banghak Station, the vicinity of Hongik Univ. Station, the vicinity of Station #110 of Sillim Line (scheduled), and the vicinity of Boramae Station. All of these are essential areas in response to the demand for the residential needs of young people and newlyweds as there are universities nearby and even a new light rail transit (LRT) line soon to be established.

    The five pilot areas were selected through an open contest targeting autonomous districts last September. The anticipated ripple effects for regional vitalization after the expansion of the necessary facilities were comprehensively considered, including a balanced development among regions and the assignment of regions (areas, autonomous districts) to dissolve the gap between the districts north and south of the Hangang River, the willingness of pursuing the project by the autonomous district and landowners, and the current state of leased residences.

    According to the prepared basic plan, a total of 1,471 housing units (1,166 private and 305 public lease) will be supplied to the five train station areas. It is expected that the public contribution of the increased area will enable the expansion of diverse necessary facilities for the areas including 305 publically leased homes, 3,097 m2 of publically leased offices, 1,743 m2 of publically leased stores, 4,757 m2 of locally essential facilities, and 2,703 m2 of public parking lot space.

    First, the vicinity of Gongneung Station (area of 6,971 m2) will be equipped with more housing units (450 households in total), especially small ones, considering the trait of the area where five universities are located nearby and lots of young people in their 20s and 30s are living. Associated with the resources from the nearby universities, a young entrepreneurship support center and publically leased stores will be constructed to enable the one-stop process from planning through manufacturing to market sales by young startups. Other previously lacking neighborhood facilities, such as childcare “Kium” centers and sports facilities, will be established as well.

    Second, the vicinity of Banghak Station is currently occupied by taxi garages. It has several universities in its surrounding area and the station can be called a potential transfer station when taking the scheduled extension of the Ui-Sinseol LRT into account. Housing units (276 households in total) will be built in a small size to be tailor-made to the needs of young residents and more branch offices of public health centers will be established for pregnant women, infants and young children, as well as patients with chronic diseases.

    Third, the vicinity of Hongik Univ. Station (area of 4,727 m2) will be turned into space where living, work and leisure are harmonized, considering the characteristics of the area as one of the spots with the highest density of young one- to two-person households in Seoul. Quality housing units (538 households in total) will be provided as small houses and share houses through the project, and spaces for entrepreneurship, culture and other activities where young people can stay 24/7 will also be expanded.

    Fourth, the vicinity of Station #110 of the scheduled-to-open Sillim Line (area of 1,779 m2) is located near Seoul National University, an area with a high ratio of young one- to two-person households. Here, a complex structure for young people will be constructed with educational facilities, offices to support young startups, and publically leased residences in the form of share houses (21 households).

    Fifth, the vicinity of Boramae Station (area of 2,740 m2) has the potential to witness the inflow of three- to four-person households with infant children and an increase in transient population following the establishment of the LRT Sillim Line that will turn Boramae Station into a transfer station. Considering these factors, small- to medium-sized houses (186 households) as well as neighborhood facilities including hospitals for infants and small children, stores, markets and educational institutions will be established, and essential public facilities including branch offices of public health centers will be constructed.