Seoul’s Floating Island


Article taken from CNNGO

Seoul’s Han River is in the process of being reborn.

With the Hangang Renaissance Project, the city government hopes to invigorate and revolutionize urban gentrification with the creation of three artificial islands, dubbed the Soul Flora. The Han River has long been one of Seoul’s most celebrated landmarks and a tourist magnet.

The project features three islands — Vista, Viva and Terra — each with its own distinctive theme and purpose. The group of islands combined will cover 9,995 square meters.

Vista, the largest of the three, will boast a 692-seat, multipurpose hall for festivals and other cultural performances. Terra, the smallest, will serve as a base for water sports and leisure activities.

The first of the islands, Viva, was launched Saturday, February 6. The 3,449 square meter islet hosts a diverse range of cultural and entertainment activities with its amphitheater-style development.

“The two main concepts of the Hangang Renaissance Project are restoration and creation,” said Sujin-oh, a publicist for Prain, the company working with the Seoul Metropolitan Government to promote the enterprise. “The project focuses on boosting the use of waterfront areas and aims to provide citizens with cultural facilities that take advantage of these waterfront areas.”

The venture is the first of its kind in the world. Although similar attractions — a floating garden in Rostock, Germany and the Murinsel water structure in Graz, Austria — have garnered much press and praise, they are relatively small in comparison to Soul Flora. “Initially, the project was to create a floating garden on the river,” Oh says. “But developers soon began adding other features such as a theater in order to improve the efficiency of the project.”

The venture (estimated to cost US$84 million) is a combination of public and private financing. According to Oh, “Investors in the private sector will be able to rent retail spaces in the facilities.”

As for future development, city officials have a few more cards up their sleeves, says Oh. “We are currently in the second phase of the Hangang Renaissance Project and another project similar in nature is already in the works.”

Although it’s difficult to predict just how much Soul Flora will impact the city’s tourism industry and revitalization programs, city officials expect the project to serve as an excellent model for future restorative efforts.

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This is an awesome news!!

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