These pages present examples of successful integrated urban water management that should inspire London.
The restoration of the river Cheonggyecheon — Seoul, South Korea
Before, you only heard the traffic, but now you can hear the water.
Soo Chul Kwak, retired driver, Seoul
Read how Seoul, the seventh largest city in the world had the courage to tear down an elevated six-lane motorway to restore a lost river that had been transformed in an insalubrious combined sewer — thereby returning an 8.4km oasis of nature and tranquility to the heart of the City. The restoration took just over two years, at a cost of $366m, delivering an exemplary implementation of sustainable Green Infrastructure facilitating integrated water management in the heart of one of the most densely populated cities of the world!
Korea has a concentrated monsoon season that sees 67% of the yearly rain fall during 4 month with occasional typhoons affecting the land. The restored stream very effectively doubles as a major flood relief channel.
Perhaps even harder to believe is that decommissioning the ugly motorway actually improved the efficiency of commuting in the city, as more people opted for public transport.
Lee Myung Bak, the then Mayor who made the restoration one of his tenure’s landmark achievements went on to become the country’s president.
The no-man’s-land area that used to be the realm of 160,000 cars a day is now enjoyed by over 30,000 people visiting every week-end!
- The restoration of the river Cheonggyecheon, Seoul, by Prof Colin Green, a robust case study for the SWITCH research programme (Sustainable Water Management Improves Tomorrows Cities Health).
- Heart and soul of the city, The Guardian, 1-Nov-2006
- Wikipedia article
- Removing Freeways – Restoring Cities: Cheonggye Freeway: The Preservation Institute