Submitted by: Songpa-gu Office
Implemented country: Korea, Republic of
Title: A City Turns into an Oasis
Songpa-gu is located to the south-east of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. A population of 674,000 makes it the most highly populated district of South Korea. In 2009, Songpa-gu received the Livcom Award by UNEP as “most livable city.” Yeong dong Kim is mayor of Songpa City. She enjoys reading, listening to music, and watching movies, but she especially loves going for walks through her beautiful and so very livable city. It is no accident that Songpa is called the “city of culture and nature with plenty of water and trees”. Yeong dong Kim feels that it is of special importance in urban development to create a stable infrastructure and offer sustainable environmental strategies, which is why she organized one of her most prominent projects, more commonly known as Water-Way Songpa.
The original purpose of the project was to prevent damage from flooding. Due to its geographical location, Songpa City tends to get flooded quite often. While building locks and water checkpoints, Mayor Yeong dong Kim also took into consideration how the environment and the cityscape could be improved. Water-Way Songpa uses water and the natural ecosystem as a medium. It consists of an ecological network between four rivers running through all the parts of Songpa City as well as 140 parks. All four rivers, the Seong-nae, the Jang-ji, the Tan, and the Han Rivers are interconnected for several kilometers, while animals and plants can freely thrive and take advantage of the available ecology. A number of measures were taken in order to avoid flooding in the future. Drainage systems were installed for prolonged rainy periods. Other activities in connection with the project were: Construction of a hydropower plant and a fish sanctuary, designing a number of parks and relaxation areas for the general public, and much more. The previously dry Songpa River is now a popular playing area for children in the summer.
In addition to the many benefits for the citizens, there are also many sustainable benefits on the entire environment. To name some figures: There are 10.818 square kilometers of “green zones“, 26,107 trees and 48,714 flowers were planted. The success of Water-Way Songpa depended on a number of different factors, beginning with its natural resources, the specialist staff, financial support, social support, innovative technology, but also the cultural and historic background of Songpa City. According to Mayor Yeong dong Kim, the area is now a kind of natural and water preservation zone where many aquatic plants can thrive, and migratory birds and even wild animals will drop in for a visit.
“Do your best and leave the rest to God!”
Yeong dong Kim