A VISION FOR HAEBANGCHON - UIA Idea Competition
06/2017 - Seoul (South Korea)

Sustainable urban change is about targeted interventions that can and will change the energies and dynamics of Haebangchon. Today it is not the time for a master plan; not even a framework plan! First of all we have to come to a common agreement and common understanding about A VISION FOR HAEBANGCHON.
This proposal shall serve as a basis for discussion between local residents and professionals. Based on the underlying principles, the diagrammatic, illustrated vision anticipates one possible result of the process. Can you agree on that?

To implement a regeneration process in Haebangchon, there is a need of public participation and a strong commitment of the local residents. However this has to be combined with planning approaches of experts from the various fields concerned. Participation alone will lead nowhere, professional expertise on its own likewise.

Right in the beginning of the process, it is important to carefully listen to the residents and let the professionals learn from them. Later on in the process, there has to be a shift to the professional side, which is educated and experienced in the field and knows best how to come up with a holistic strategy. Participation is also about gaining trust in the professionals charged with the task. Therefore professionals should be included right in the beginning of the process.
It has to be understood that there is a need of a considerable public investment at the beginning of the implementation regarding the infrastructure and the qualification of the public ream.
However, international best practice shows, that this public investment will stimulate private investments several times larger afterwards. To a certain amount added value by the public hand can be charged to the local property owners. However this should be carefully balanced to ensure social inclusion, avoiding an all to fast gentrification of the area. Social compatibility has to be balanced with the physical regeneration of the urban fabric. Preserving existing community and social structure needs to be considered. Therefore a legal system ensuring the right of the tenants and property owners needs to be installed. Furthermore economic revitalization of Haebangchon has to be balanced with preserving the characteristics of the neighbourhood. Well-balanced design guidelines and built prototypes are needed to guide the implementation process.

Urban regeneration is understood as a complex long-term strategy, while at the same time tangible results for the residents (and the elected politicians) are needed. Decorative repairs, which do not contribute to the long-term strategy, should be avoided. There is a need of strengthening and empowerment of the local community by creating identity and commitment over the long haul. Only a close collaboration of professionals and local residents (including all generations), will lead to a prospective ecological and sustainable urban way of life in Sowolro 20-gil ensuring richness of the built environment and contributing to health and wellbeing of the residents. Let us start the discussion!

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved by Markus Kaltenbach.