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Heart and soul of the city (eco-restoration in Seoul)
John Vidal, The Guardian
The demolition of a vast motorway through the centre of South Korea's capital and the restoration of a river and park in its place proves that mega-cities can be changed for the better.
One year ago this month, several million people headed to a park in the centre of Seoul, the capital of South Korea and seventh largest city in the world. They didn't go for a rock festival, a football match or a political gathering, but mostly to just marvel at the surroundings, to get some fresh air and to paddle in the river that runs through it.
But this was no ordinary park or river. The very old people of Seoul still remember how, more than 50 years ago, the river Cheonggyecheon was a wide but shallow seasonal stream that traditionally divided the city between the rich in the north and the poor in the south. It was where people went to wash clothes and where kids went to play, but as Seoul grew from being semi-rural to a vast, smog-bound east Asian metropolis, the Cheonggyecheon - which means "clear valley stream" - became little more than a sewer.
By 1970, the riverside had become slums, and the water progressively more polluted, having been first canalised and then concreted over. As cars took over the city, the river bed was turned into a road, and then an elevated six-lane motorway was built above it. It was one of the most comprehensive obliterations of the natural environment ever perpetrated.
But in a revolutionary act of ecological restoration that is now being examined around the world, the city of Seoul, under the leadership of the then mayor, Lee Myung Bak, pledged in 2002 to restore the river, tear down the motorway and create a five-mile long, 800-yard wide, 1,000-acre lateral park snaking through the city where the river once ran.
(1 Nov 2006)
Contributor AC writes:
Depaving is not, as its critics maintain, depraved. It works and is deservedly popular with residents, as this example from Seoul, Korea shows.
Richard Douthwaite online interview (audio)
Jason Bradford, Global Public Media
Economist, author and founder of the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, Richard Douthwaite explains how complimentary money systems stabilize economies and foster efforts to cope with peak oil and climate change. Jason Bradford hosts the Reality Report on KZYX&Z in Mendocino County, CA.
(31 Oct 2006)
The new rage on the road is ecological
Nicholas Read, Vancouver Sun
With the environment second only to health care in the minds of Canadians, concern mounts as things get worse
If you're familiar with the following scenario, you're familiar with eco-rage.
You're in your car waiting for the ferry. It arrives and is just about to begin disgorging cars from its hull.
It'll be at least 20 minutes before you can move, but even so, the #*@&% in the car next to yours turns on his ignition and lets his motor idle -- and idle and idle.
Your chest constricts, your eyes bulge and you pray fervently that an asteroid will hurtle forth from the heavens and reduce him and his car to space dust.
It's the same kind of anger drivers feel when they're cut off in traffic, except this time it's prompted by something more basic -- the sight and stench of someone wrecking a park, a garden, a neighbourhood or the whole planet.
And it's a feeling that's slowly gaining currency in some segments of society.
According to a Strategic Counsel poll released this summer, the environment is second only to health care as the issue of most importance to Canadians.
(4 Nov 2006)
This is one of the few pieces I've seen that discuss eco-rage. Hints for handling anger are given later in the article. -BA