Urban revitalization create a life of community
By RISC | 1 year ago
The improvement in technology has changed our way of life and the environment in many respects. Although life quality enhancement – the construction of buildings, houses, and infrastructure – is a door to convenience, it can’t be denied that every change we make inevitably leads to the exploitation of natural resources. The social context has gradually changed; people have become more individual and independent, and there are fewer public rest areas. And at one stage, the problems and damages eventually become apparent due to constant changes.
Our ecosystem is being destroyed with increasing pollution and people at the community level are witnessing the change first-hand with abandoned buildings. Therefore, in an attempt to right a wrong, a number of major cities have initiated projects to improve rundown areas to improve the living standards of its inhabitants. For example, revitalization projects are being carried out to reactivate abandoned areas and to restore those that have been damaged by neglect. To do this, the sustainable development concept is applied in order to create a correlation between the environment, society, and economy.
The Cheonggyecheon Stream Restoration Project in Seoul, South Korea is one of the best examples of a project that has produced positive public benefits. The project successfully restored a stream in downtown Seoul that for decades had been paved over to create more space for the traffic. But the construction of the highway was also the primary cause of water and air pollution, which in turn led to the creation of slum conditions among the remaining properties. Then in 2003, then-Seoul mayor, Lee Myung-bak decided to remove the elevated highway and return the stream to its former condition, an 8-kilometer open-air space where people could come to relax. The multi-million dollar urban beautification project gave citizens and nature some much-needed breathing space and created a correlation of social, environment and economy as follows;
Social: There are more spaces for families, communities, and tourists to relax. It is accessible to people of all ages and a perfect place to improve people’s mental health.
Environment: The ecosystem is much healthier thanks to a decrease in air pollution and now the stream helps to reduce the temperature in nearby areas while attracting more birds and insects. The eco-environment has also brought back aquatic creatures and created a pleasant atmosphere for the downtown community.
Economy: The area is now more economically viable with a daily increase of tourists, which is generating more income for local businesses without unduly affecting the environment.
Besides the Cheonggyechoen project, there are many other projects around the world that are making a difference such as the Guthrie Green Park project in Oklahoma, New York City’s High Line Park in New York, USA, Namba Park project in Osaka, Japan and Clyde Waterfront project in Scotland, to name but a few. Each of these urban renewal projects aims to improve a specific area for nature and humans so that communities have a better quality of life and can live in harmony with nature. Creative conservation then is considered as an attempt to keep a balance between social, economy, and environment based upon ongoing changes in human needs. In doing so, environmental impact assessments need to be seriously taken into consideration for the mutual benefits of humans and Mother Nature.
Author: Panpisu Julpanwattana, R&D