Near the end of March, a small group of City of Seattle staff, led by SDOT Director Peter Hahn, met with Dr. Keith Hwang to discuss a Seoul, South Korea, transportation and open space project that has gained worldwide iconic status since its completion in 2005. Dr. Hwang is internationally renowned for his work in creating an 5.8 kilometer long public space in downtown Seoul that is oriented around the historic Cheonggye stream. Much like Seattle’s Central Waterfront project, this urban renewal effort focused on removing antiquated transportation infrastructure and creating open space to better serve residents and neighborhoods. Dr. Hwang was in Vancouver, B.C., for about a week at the invitation of the Urban Studies Department at Simon Fraser University.
Dr. Hwang was part of the team leading the complex design, construction and transportation management effort. The downtown public space opened in 2005 with widespread public support, and is viewed as a significant success in urban renewal and beautification. An estimated 90,000 pedestrians daily now enjoy the open space and traffic mitigation efforts have improved overall traffic flow in downtown Seoul.