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An Integrated Landscape: Yongsan National Park

Humans evolved to love nature. So city-dwellers, too, can and are rediscovering this natural connection, finding that it enhances our health, learning, and fun. As we reconnect with nature, it’s likely that support for public action to heal the natural world will grow too. (Frances Moore Lappé, EcoMind: Changing the way we think, to create the world we want, p.197)

That quote was in my mind when I came across an interesting link, courtesy of Knowledge Ecology, on a new proposed national park in Korea.

Winning proposal for Yongsan National Park in Seoul, Korea:

Rotterdam-based urban design and landscape architecture practice west 8 and korean firm IROJE have collaboratively designed ‘Yongsan park’, the winning proposal for the International Competition for Master plan of Yongsan park in Seoul, Korea. The master plan transforms a 243 hectare site within the center of the urban fabric which has been isolated with a secure wall into a park. Previously used as a military base during both Japanese and American occupation, the green space will provide residents with a sublime setting which fuses nature, culture, history and the future.

Yongsan National Park in Seoul - urban agriculture

Restoring a native environment within a developed hardscape, the plan will restore the lost ecological system and expand upon the history and characteristics of the area.  Creating an urban culture, the park will move the city towards a sustainable methodology through a concept of healing. Following Korean societal and landscape values, the ground will be excavated for a lake while the generated soil will be used as fill for a dramatic topography of hills to recreate unspoiled scenery. Between the mounds, streams, ponds and lotus basins will appear as well as undulating meadows. This national park is the first inside a Korean city and will be comparable in size and program to New York’s Central Park.

Yongsan National Park in Seoul - Fish channels

Yongsan National Park in Seoul - illuminated waterfall

All photos from west 8 urban design & landscape architecture.

More conceptual designs can be found HERE.  The vision of the designers is to create a park in which “nature, culture, history and the future come into harmony.”

What do you think?


Lappé, Frances Moore. EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create The World We Want. Small Planet Institute, New York: 2011.


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  2. What a wonderful use of space! The pictures are absolutely beautiful. I really like the way it’s meant to be a harmonious integration of nature, culture, history and the future. For me that really marries two pairs of opposites that are often at odds with each other: nature and humanity, and the past and the future. It’s an inspiration to see such good design, bringing all these powerful elements together… I think sometimes we get stuck by running so far from exploitation that we’re just trying to freeze slices of the past… And that’s just not how the world works. Design like this is the future! Thanks for sharing. (:

    • I agree with you, holding on and being static is not always the best approach. But at the same time, it’s important to remember and celebrate the past. It’s a difficult balance to achieve.

      My personal feeling is that there’s actually a bit too much culture and not enough nature in those depictions. Everything feels a little too controlled. But of course these are still conceptual designs.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments!

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    • oops. I was commiserating with a friend about the barrenness or current architecture…The HashTag Towers in particular, when I saw your post on Yongsan Park. Maybe a balance between “urban” and “bucolic” CAN be achieved.

      Thanks for your hopeful outlook.


      • Thanks for introducing a new word to me: I had to look up bucolic haha.
        I am definitely hopeful that urban landscapes can incorporate more natural elements in a more harmonious manner. Hopefully the Yongsan concept translates successfully into the real world.

        Thanks for your comment and your follow!

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