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Peeling Back Pavement to Expose Watery Havens

From NY times:

Peeling Back Pavement to Expose Watery Havens

Talking about downtown or CBD, what naturally comes to our mind is the daily hustle and bustle. Yet in Seoul, South Korea, a clean stream named Cheonggyecheon goes through the center of the city. It is an amazing scenery. How awesome it feels to find a place so close to nature in a busy business area. I visited Seoul in the February of 2006, and I was naturally drawn to the bank of this little stream and played water with my friends. As described, "picnickers cool their bare feet in its filtered water, and carp swim in its tranquil pools."

All this came at a cost. This stream, officially opened in 2005, was liberated from its dank sheath and burbles between reedy banks after after a $384 million recovery project. But I believe most Seoul citizens love this idea. As reported, "Some 90,000 pedestrians visit the stream banks on an average day."

Now US planners begin to talk a lot about walkability, bicycle-friendliness, and transit-friendliness, after seeing the social problems in US cities in late 20th century. And to increase workability, in addition to building more pedestrian sidewalks or bicycle lanes, it is also of great importance to build lively neighborhoods with pleasant amenities which attract people to come, rest, and play.

It is time for civil engineers and urban planners to think and act in community terms.