Seoul to adopt zerobeyond’s suggestion

“‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ would like to make a valid point of great value for architects and urban planners to adapt ‘architecture on stilts’ in cities, which are prone to annual floods. Basement parking, ground and first floors have become a dangerous option in all the flooded cities of the world. The transformation will have to be made at the ‘fast and furious’ mode so as to save more devastation in the coming years. Shops and houses will have to adapt and transform at the earliest to start building on stilts from the second floor onwards.” – World Architects on Climate Crisis – Part V

On the 8th of August 2022, South Korean Capital city Seoul and surrounding areas was devastated with catastrophic floods, killing 11 people. Seoul received the highest rainfall in the last 80 years to drown the capital city completely. The massive floods damaged 2,800 buildings and 163 families became homeless. Seoul – the Capital city of South Korea is one among the prominent capital cities in the world.  

‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’s ‘World Architects on Climate Crisis’ series, which started from the 29th of April 2022 has been generating awareness about catastrophic proportion of ‘Climate Crisis’ and the role of architects, urban planners and policy makers. Renowned world architects and young would-be architects have been sharing their views and perspectives as to the need-of-the-hour solutions in the series.

Part of a Park along the Han River flooded / Photo Courtesy: AP Photo/Ahn Young-Joon

I am a logical person in my thinking and by nature. I have been providing logical solutions as to how urban planners, architects and policy makers can unite to act in unison to start transforming the presents cities of the world into ‘Cities of the Future’, thereby safeguarding our human civilization from every day climatic catastrophes.

The paragraph in the beginning is from the ‘World Architects on Climate Crisis – Part V’ dated 18th July 2022. I am relieved that the South Korean authorities have taken zerobeyond’s logical stance to act immediately by banning Seoul’s cramped basement flats with immediate effect. In Seoul, nearly 200,000 households live in tiny basement flats, known as ‘Banjiha’. The massive deluge in the city has opened the eyes of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, who have decided to get rid of these basements flats.

Record-breaking Flood

With immediate effect, the South Korean capital will stop issuing permits to build ‘banjiha’ for future dwellings. Citizens were trapped in their ‘banjiha’ during the flood and 11 of them died. ‘Banjiha’ have cheap rent, but people living in them lost everything during the record-breaking floods. Seoul Metropolitan Government will be phasing out such dwellings to safeguard the citizen from further catastrophic floods in near future.

The road ahead is surely a very challenging task, because ‘banjiha’ constitute 5% of the total housing stock in Seoul, as per the South Korean’s official figures. However, the determined ‘will’ of the government will certainly be a welcome move to safeguard lives of its citizen. A disabled woman and a teenager were trapped in their basement apartment and ultimately died. This particular incident has caused a massive public outrage in Seoul and the whole nation. Koreans have blamed the government’s housing policies.

Time to Wake up from our Deep slumber

Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice had issued a statement, “We condemn the government’s negligence regarding those marginalized people in this housing. As rainfall becomes stronger and more frequent under the influence of climate change, Seoul must embark on a fundamental change of its approach to basement residents.”

Challenging Road ahead

No cities in the world are safe anymore as the world is experiencing catastrophic proportion of climatic upheaval. The cities need to adapt and transform at the fastest pace it can to safeguard itself from future onslaught of Climate Crisis. It is going to get much worse as each day is passing by. We surely have run out of ‘the time’ to safeguard our beautiful planet! Stay safe, stay blessed!

Johnny D, Editor-in-Chief

Image Courtesy: News Agencies

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