As the Dongdaemun Stadium had become shabby and obsolete and the surrounding downtown area was deteriorating into a slum, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) decided to demolish the stadium and establish the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), a multiple complex to house a center for the design and fashion industry and a history and culture park for citizens and visitors.
The Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) now stands out as a major landmark of Seoul. Besides the aesthetic value with the distinctively neofuturistic design, it is also seen as the most successful urban development project ever in Seoul as it has not just transformed the obsolete downtown region into South Korea’s vibrant fashion hub and popular tourist destination, but also successfully coordinated the intricately tangled conflicts between interested parties involved in the process.
- Design, a key to future city competiveness
Design can function as an urban space-enhancing tool as it refreshes the landscape and enhances conveniences of city life. The SMG noted that it lagged behind in terms of design capacity and devised measures to support the industry.
- Dongdaemun, a prime location for fashion and design industry
In the Dongdaemun area a fashion and clothing cluster has spontaneously grown since the 1960s. Handling the industry’s entire process from design, to production and distribution, the region has played a pivotal role in nurturing fashion into becoming one of the nation’s key industries
With 52,000 employees and sales of KRW 10 trillion in 2006 alone, it now stands out as a leading fashion and culture center that houses more than 28 percent of Korean industrial design companies and designers.
- Triggering the revival of dreary downtown commercial district
The Dongdaemun stadium, located at the center of the Dongdaemun commercial district, was losing its original function as a sport facility but also damaging the region’s image as a fashion district due to the reckless sprawl of street vendors selling low-priced fashion and athletic goods. Even with the risk of deteriorating into a slum, the task to rejuvenate the lackluster district grew more pressing.
< Caption: Concept map for the recreation of Dongdaemun area based on four pillars >
Goals and Objectives
- Invigorate the district by turning it into a multi-complex where commerce and culture blend and prosper together.
Implementation and Expertise
- Map out a plan to create a public park
- DDP design and construction
- Dongdaemun History and Culture Park
Caption: Concept Map for Restoration of the Seoul Fortress Wall (Left)
Caption: Frontal view of DDP (Right)
- Utilizing underground space and providing greater convenience for pedestrians
Challenges and Solution
① Conflict with the sporting community
② Opposition from the street vendors
☞ The SMG assigned a different role to each division in charge: negotiation, negotiation support, relocation support and legal support, and conducted an in-depth investigation. It formulated negotiation strategies based on the analysis, and persuaded them while pushing for legally-compelling measures such as eviction and seizure. Finally, their strenuous efforts paid off to iron out the long-running conflict in February 2008. The experience made the city realize the importance of public property management and social conflict coordination. Particularly, the City came to realize that more negotiation experts and the standard manual should be fostered, too.
③ Strife with the Cultural Action and the Cultural Heritage Administration
However, the preservation claim had another dilemma as it conflicted with the old fortress wall restoration project, too.
☞Following repeated discussion, the SMG finalized the dispute with a mediated arrangement: demolish the stadium and conserve the remains of the Joseon Dynasty with the old castle walls in Seoul. On the City’s consistent persuasion, the administration took a step back and proposed to retain some symbolic parts of the stadium, and the municipal government accepted the idea.
- Financial resources