Thursday, March 4, 2010


Long-time observers of Seoul will agree that then-Seoul-Mayor Lee Myung-bak's Ch'ônggaech'ôn restoration project transformed the neighborhood. Here's a picture I took last year of the "restored" stream in all its sedate and somewhat sterile glory.

What existed in the four decades before the "restoration" was an elevated highway and miles of concrete that had essentially eliminated the original stream entirely.

I recently stumbled across some interesting pictures of what came before. Here's the highway construction in 1967:

and here's what the stream and its environs looked like in the years immediately before the construction:

It is plain that "restoration," other than in the very narrow sense of once again having water flow through this part of Seoul, is perhaps not quite the right term. Favorites of modernist historians such as "re-invention" or "re-construction" are perhaps more apt.

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