#Seoul unveils city’s first highway-turned-park

Modeled after New York’s iconic High Line, Seoul’s soon-to-open elevated park will bring visual and spatial respite to busy city life, with a stretch of greenery, cafes and street markets, the city government said Tuesday.

Opening part of the “Seoullo 7017” on Tuesday, ahead of the official opening in May, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon on Tuesday described the urban sky park as a place where “nature and humans can live side by side.”

“(The launch of Seoullo 7017) will not only restore the overpass, but become a catalyst for the revival and regeneration of neighboring regions through the high number of visitors,” Seoul Mayor Park said.

The pedestrian-friendly park will stretch for about a kilometer and link seven surrounding areas including Seoul Station and Namdaemun Market to 12 pedestrian walkways.

Touted as a rival to New York’s High Line Park, the city government said it will feature over 24,085 plants representing 228 species of trees, shrubs and flowers found in and outside Korea.

Complementing the plants will be cafes, street markets, flower shops and performance stages, the city said.

Officials said the park will provide not only a stretch of greenery, but also a botanical education, allowing citizens to have a closer look at the labeled plants arranged in alphabetical order.

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The project began four years ago to make use of an old overpass that once served as a major road connecting western and central Seoul. Public calls for its removal had mounted after a safety assessment classified the outdated overpass as dangerous in 2006.

The “70” in the name Seoullo 7017 refers to the year 1970 when the Seoul Station flyover was constructed, while 17 is a reference to the number of walkways connected to it and the year 2017 when its construction is to be completed.

Putting safety as a top priority, about 40 percent of the 59 billion won ($52 million) of construction cost was put into securing the earthquake-proof structure, the city said.

“The elevated urban park was constructed to stand up to a magnitude 6.5 earthquake, and to allow over 50,000 people to walk on the park at once,” said Seoul City official Kim Kwon-ki.

A total of 29 surveillance cameras will be installed around the park to enhance security for citizens, he added.

The official opening of the Seoullo 7017 is slated for May 20. The lighting ceremony and the celebration chorus will begin at 7 p.m.

A variety of events involving citizen participation will take place at Seoullo 7017 and continue until June 18, the city said.

This article appeared on The Korea Herald newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post

Berlin’s airport debacle: Five years late and counting

You think you have a travel story from hell? Try this one: The inaugural flight from Berlin’s new international airport is almost five years late, and no one can say when it might take off.

The airport’s planned launch in June 2012 was scrapped a month before its unveiling because of fire safety issues, and it’s since been pushed back three times. With costs piling up at €13 million ($14 million) a month, the operating company in March saw the departure of its third chief in four years. The black eye for Germany’s exalted engineering prowess threatens to undermine a tourism boom in Berlin, and there’s talk of scrapping a plan to shutter Tegel, one of the city’s existing airports. “This airport should have been a world-class showpiece for Germany,” says Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, which has long sought to introduce service to Berlin. “It’s an embarrassment.”

The bill for Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt—most people call it BER—has more than doubled, to some €5 billion, since construction began in 2006. And the delayed opening has wounded local restaurants as well as airlines Air Berlin Plc and Deutsche Lufthansa AG, which had expected to expand routes from the capital. Instead, Germany’s biggest city has fewer overseas flights than Düsseldorf (with less than a quarter of Berlin’s population).

The list of construction defects reads like a bad joke: Automatic doors lacked electricity, escalators were too short, and a smoke-extraction system was so complex, yet ineffective, it was dubbed “the Monster,” according to daily tabloid Bild. To keep the air flowing and limit mold growth, empty trains run to an empty station in the basement of BER’s glass-clad terminal. Upstairs there’s everything an airport needs—except passengers.

Once BER opens, it may already be too small. It was designed to accommodate 27 million passengers annually—ample for the 18 million arrivals in Berlin in 2006. But last year, Tegel and the city’s other functioning airport, Schönefeld, handled 33 million passengers. And BER will have 118 check-in counters, about 80 fewer than the combined number at Tegel and Schönefeld. “Resolving the capacity problem of BER will take another several years,” says Simon Morris, vice president at aviation adviser ICF International.

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Bangkok – New mall ‘SHOW DC’ opens with durian room and shower for tourists

Another new shopping mall, SHOW DC, recently opened their doors near RCA. They hope to serve as the city’s tourist hub by offering basic facilities that all travelers need — such as a shower.

Located 30 minutes from Suvarnabhumi, SHOW DC will soon offer shuttle buses from the airport, Petchaburi MRT station and other attractions in the city. With its goal to become “Bangkok Tourist Terminal,” it offers a shower room, a courier service counter, a prayer room, a tourist police center, travel agents counters and a tourist information center with multi-language assistants.

Meanwhile, to please Thai travelers, its “K-District” on the first floor boasts the world’s biggest Koreatown with all things Korean such as street fashion, cosmetics, lifestyle products, groceries, cafes and restaurants owned by K-Pop artists. This is an attempt to give customers that they are shopping in one of Seoul’s shopping destinations like Myeong Dong.

For the first time in Thailand, Lotte Duty Free will also open at the mall, occupying two whole floors.

In the Thai Market, you will be able to find the best products from all regions of the country. There’s even a room for you to buy and eat durian so you don’t have to worry about the smell bothering other shoppers.

The mall is located on a 14-rai parcel (68,800 sq.m.) on Jaturatid Road, Huai Khwang. While some features have not opened yet, the mall will have its soft opening on Jan. 22.

Source: Coconuts.co