Cheonggye Stream

Cheonggyecheon-2008-01

Last Saturday my girl and I hiked from the beginning of Cheonggye Stream or Cheonggyecheon, in Jongno, to where it turns in to Jungnangcheon (tributary of Hangang), and all the way until it eventually empties in to Hangang (Han River), and then some. We ended up walking 13 km, or like 8 miles.

Cheonggye Stream has a cool history. It runs East/West, and in ancient times, served as a boundary between the affluent in the North and the poor in the South. The two major roads in old Seoul city, Jongno and Euljiro were designed according to the flow of the stream. Flowing right through the capital city, the stream served many important functions, however it has caused it’s fair share of issues, flooding and sanitation problems most importantly that have lead to the spread of contagious diseases.

After the Korean War, in the early 1950’s, more and more people moved to the city, many of them settling along the stream. Because of the deteriorated condition of the area, including poor housing, ground, sanitary and garbage problems, the decision was made to actually cover the stream with concrete. It remained covered until 2005, when then Mayor of Seoul, current President of Korea Lee Myung-bak succeeded in his efforts to restore the stream in an attempt to preserve the unique identity of the natural environments.

This urban renewal project was anything but easy. An elevated highway had to be removed, 2 bridges had to be restored and it went over budget. Some say it has created more of a traffic problem. But, there are many benefits to this renewal project. It has been the basis for Seoul becoming a human-oriented, environmental-friendly city, causing a series of innovations in urban planning. The stream helps to cool down the temperature on the nearby areas by 3.6 degrees centigrade on average than other parts of Seoul. And it has been reported that the number of vehicles entering downtown has decreased 2.3%, with an increase in users of buses and subways, a product of demolishing two roads as part of the project. And this area is now known as the center of cultural and economic activities in Seoul.

We come to the stream a lot. It is really cooler there than other areas. There are always tons of people enjoying the outdoors in the middle of the city. Performances and festivals are always happening. Artwork is displayed. Kids are splashing in the water. And … it’s right next to Tomatillo Grill so I can eat tacos.

Here are some pictures from our walk

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on September 28, 2009.

3 Responses to “Cheonggye Stream”

  1. My favorite part was when we finally arrived at Seoul Forest but didn’t go in 🙂 Hahahahahaah! Some other time…

  2. […] ways. While the Anacostia is probably too large for a project on the scale of Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon restoration scheme (which still rocks my socks off), that project and the nearby Han River […]

  3. […] World Cheonggye Stream Sights at Night Seoul Tower Bongeunsa Gyeongbokgung Palace Back to the Fish Market Scooter Rally […]

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