Desirable Urban Regeneration
Desirable Urban Regeneration
  • Reporter Park Geun-woo
  • 승인 2017.04.07 10:26
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Imagine a city where highways are built all over the city, winding around homes and workplaces. Living in such city will certainly devastate one’s life. To avoid this kind of disaster, humans have had a long history of designing essential components of the cities before the residents settled in.
But even when all the designs are set as planned, one problem still lingers; eventfulness. When will the city go on a downfall, nobody could tell. One season a city could be celebrating; another day suddenly half the city could be sitting out on roads for the same reason they had celebrated.
The Motor City, Detroit, would be the best fit example. According to the recent study on Detroit, there was a common problem that Detroit faced along with many other industrialized cities was the decline in manufacturing employment and the displacement of manufacturing from urban centers. The city planned for an urban regeneration back then, but had failed to solve structural problems of the city and eventually allowed bankruptcy.
Korea was not an exception to city deteriorations, rather it had a more vulnerable start. Korea had adopted export-focused policies during mid-1900’s, transitioned from light and labor intensive industries to heavy and chemical industries, and recently have turned to high-tech and knowledge based industry. It all happened in less than half a century.
Slums slowly ate up the cities of Korea, and at that time, most city regenerations were done from a massive demolition followed up by rebuilding apartments from the scratch. But now, people know better; such an idea would have rather worsen the quality of life in the city.
A model urban generation took place in Naoshima, Japan. The island was left with dust-ridden smelting factories due to the decline of heavy industry. A change started with the chairman of Benesse Holdings, Inc. and Hukudake Foundation jumping in to make the island “Benesse Artsite Naoshima”, where Art House Projects transformed the old houses with modern arts. Residents soon became eager to participate, and then “art island” successfully brought 500 thousand tourists per year, created jobs, and vitalized the residents once more. Bilbao in Spain and Sheffield in U.K. also worked it out with diversification of industry, and cultural arts.
Urban regeneration is an on-going process that is happening even around us. According to Jung Suk-jin, an official at the Urban Regeneration Department at Pohang City Hall, Pohang actually has been in economic crisis due to the decline of steel industry, overemphasized hardware projects and population stagnation. Learning from some of the aforementioned cases, Pohang is said to be planning for an urban regeneration, by turning into a marine tourism city. To realize this, the city is preparing for a public-private-industry-education governance, cutting-edge industry incubations, improvement on physical environment, etc.
Finishing up, Jung pointed out that “people” are the priority for the plans, and that their reacting and taking part in city’s plans is very important in making the city much more lively.