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Seoul to have its own ‘High Line Park’
By Jung Min-ho
Seoul will have its own version of Manhattan’s High Line, a grassy elevated park, Mayor Park Won-soon said Tuesday.
During his visit to New York City, Park revealed a plan for converting an elevated roadway near Seoul Station by the end of 2016. The road has connected central Seoul with the city’s west since the 1970s.
“The roadway is a historic heritage from the industrialization era, which means it is much more than a road,” he said. “Once completed, it will be a tourist attraction. It will also help the regional economy around Namdaemun Market.”
The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) is now collecting the ideas for the conversion. It plans to hold a contest sometime in October.
SMG expects to spend about $37.5 million on the project.
The story of High Line being created from an abandoned elevated railway section to a tourist attraction inspired Seoul urban planners and the mayor.
The railway, which ran along the lower west side of the city for 2.33 kilometers, was facing demolition until a non-profit group came up with the idea of preserving the structure and reusing it as a public park.
Today High Line gets nearly 5 million visitors annually from around the world.
The mayor of Seoul – the city that has torn town more than a dozen elevated roads since 2000 – said the paradigm of “good development” has shifted.
“The project will be a good example of the paradigm change,” Park said. “It is better to rejuvenate the city instead of destroying its cultural heritages for building something new.”
In July, according to the SMG, its officials and experts discussed how to rejuvenate the old bridge.