Plans unveiled for high-tech ’10-minute city’ in Seoul


Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

The idea of ​​a “15-minute city”, in which residents can all reach work and leisure facilities within a quarter of an hour’s walk – or bicycle – from their homes, has gained traction. land among city planners during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Today, a group of architects are planning an even more ambitious neighborhood in the South Korean capital, Seoul: a city 10 minutes away.

Called “Project H1”, the development aims to transform a former industrial site into an interconnected “smart” city. Combining eight residential buildings with coworking offices and study spaces, the 125-acre neighborhood is also intended to house entertainment venues, fitness centers, swimming pools, and even urban hydroponic farms.

The project includes eight residential towers, as well as retail, commercial and leisure facilities. Credit: Courtesy wax and virgin lemon

Designed by Dutch architectural firm UNStudio and backed by Hyundai Development Company (a real estate company owned by the conglomerate behind the automaker of the same name), the neighborhood will also be completely car-free. A press release for the project claimed that “all the amenities of the city” will be within a 10-minute walk of people’s homes.

In a statement, UNStudio co-founder Ben van Berkel said the residents’ “daily living experience” is the project’s “top priority”.

“We do this through the inclusion of a rich density of uplifting, on-site curated experiences that provide a wide range of options for how they can spend their life, work and leisure time, saving them money. thus the time needed to travel elsewhere in the city – because with the time saved, more time is created, “he said.

A digital render shows residents walking through the pedestrian precinct.

A digital render shows residents walking through the pedestrian precinct. Credit: Courtesy wax and virgin lemon

A spokesperson for UNStudio confirmed that the project had been given the green light, but did not disclose when it was likely to be inaugurated. For now, a series of CGI renderings suggest what the neighborhood will look like, with public plazas, gardens, green roofs and “natural areas” connected by pedestrian walkways.

The architects also said clean energy will be generated on site, while rain capture and storage systems are designed to reduce water use.

The concept of “city at 15 minutes” was first proposed by the Franco-Colombian academic Carlos Moreno in 2016, and was more recently popularized by the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, who proposed to make the capital French a “city of the quarter of an hour” – a city of a quarter of an hour – during its recent re-election campaign.

An aerial view of the proposed neighborhood.

An aerial view of the proposed neighborhood. Credit: Courtesy wax and virgin lemon

Critics have suggested the concept could cause gentrification by concentrating wealth more in the most accessible and practical neighborhoods. The interest in neighborhoods “15 minutes away” can, in turn, lead to house prices that exclude homes. marginalized communities.
But the Covid-19 pandemic has seen growing interest in the concept. With people around the world working from home and avoiding public transport, city planners have started to walk the streets and reinvent the way cities deal with dense populations.

Writing in the academic journal Smart Cities earlier this year, Moreno said: “The emergence of this pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of cities… and the need for a radical overhaul, where innovative measures must be adapted to ensure that Urban residents are able to cope with and continue with their basic activities, including cultural ones, to ensure that cities remain both resilient and liveable in the short and long term. ”

He added that “more research is now needed to show how the idea and its elements can be replicated in cities in the south of the world.”


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