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Seoul Innovation Park (서울 혁신 파크)

Development Type: Adaptive Reuse Development

Type Of Developer: Public Sector

Start Year: 2012

Address: 684, Tongil-ro, Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea (03371)


Contributor: audex


Location Description
The site is located at one corner of the Jinheung-ro intersection, where Bulgwang Station is located. It is one of the core areas of Eunpyeong-gu due to its large area and location. Jinheung-ro Intersection is a four-lane roadway that connects Nokbeon and Yeonsinnae in the north-south direction and Jongno-gu in the east-west direction. In the direction of connecting to Jongno-gu, Bukhansan Mountain blocks and the Gugi Tunnel connects them. The tunnel and vehicle-oriented roads create an environment that is unfavorable to pedestrians. The station's surrounding and intersection facades are composed of retail, but residential areas surround them. Contrast of traditional market and NC department stores, and Contrast of row housing alleys and apartment complexes, makes the surrounding sites look unorganized and feel like development is underway.

Case Report


The Seoul Metropolitan Government introduces 20 new urban attractions recreated by urban regeneration through the project "Handsome Seoul 20”(잘생겼다 서울 20). Each attraction, which includes a variety of themes including history, culture, economy, city, architecture, etc., includes a whole new space, but there are also cases that preserve urban value and building itself under the method of adaptive reuse. Seoul Innovation Park (서울 혁신 파크) is one of the adaptive reuse projects that creates new value-creating spaces using the land and facilities left behind after the relocation of government agencies. In 2010, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) decided to relocate to Cheongju, leaving 100,000 m2 of land and 32 buildings in Nokbeon-dong, Eunpyeong-gu. The Seoul Metropolitan Government decided to recycle land and buildings to form a platform where social innovators from various fields can gather in one space to communicate and cooperate. There are various social problems in the city. These social problems are sometimes captured and solved by the government, sometimes by businesses and citizens. Seoul Innovation Park postulates the main participant of solving social problems as citizens and calls them 'social innovators'. Seoul Innovation Park, a cluster based on social innovation support activity that allows anyone with ideas for a beneficial society to create and spread innovation, supports their innovative social experiments and provides a place for exchanges with citizens to share their new social values. 32 existing buildings and open green spaces of various sizes and characteristics are not demolished but provide new spaces for various social activities through remodeling. The new space provide house for intermediate support groups, various civic groups, and young innovative entrepreneurs. Through their communication and collaboration, the space of Seoul Innovation Park will be redefined and will continue to develop with citizens.

Development Info.

Development Scale: District

Total Development Cost: 2015 12,875M won (Structural Stability Evaluation for exist building & Primary Remodeling) 2016 37,588M won (Primary Remodeling & Secondary Remodeling) 2017 32,895M won (Secondary Remodeling & Complex Culture Space for children) 2018~ 50,601M won (Secondary Remodeling & Outside Space & present condition measurement Total 133,959M won (According to Planning of Seoul Innovation Park in 2014)

Total Land Area: 109,691 m^2 (including 40,000m^2 of green area)

Total Development Area: Total floor area of existing 32 buildings: 51,344 m^2

Area Type: Suburban Area - Retail Area

Start Date: 2012/06/20

Opening Date: 2015/04/01

Planning Approval: “서울혁신파크 조성 기반 마련(2014)” (Seoul Innovation Park Development Foundation Preparation) 2013/12/1

Lead Developer: Seoul Metropolitan Government

Consultants: "Seoul Innovation Planning Center (서울혁신기획관) The Seoul Institute (서울연구원) Junglim architecture (정림건축)"


Economic Context

The commercial area near Bulgwang Station is densely populated with underdeveloped commercial buildings and some high-rise commercial buildings. The density is too high for pedestrians to spend during enjoying walking and relaxing. Seoul Innovation Park's pedestrian-friendly and open spaced stores can energize consumers. Also, Social innovators at Seoul Innovation Park, which works to construct a social economy, can find ways to attach new value to the old and old surrounding commercial districts. Because their goal is to move for a better society and to co-exist with the community as part of that goal.

Social Context

As society becomes more complex, complex and diverse social problems that are difficult to solve in the existing way are increasing. Social issues such as social polarization, global warming, resource depletion, and acceleration of aging are constantly being raised, but government-led policies are facing limitations in terms of recognition and sensitivity. Moving away from the traditional government-centered problem-solving methods, civil society-led social innovation will contribute to solving social problems and developing local communities at the same time.

Environmental Context

Out of 100,000 square meters of land, 40,000 square meters of green land borders the foot of Bukhansan Mountain. For people of apartment complexes in the middle of Bukhansan Mountain, it is difficult to use the mountain as nature park except for some hiking trails in spite of the advantages of being close by. Green areas consisting of flat land within the site naturally lead to the site of Bukhansan Mountain. It can be a natural trail for citizens and will provide easily accessible urban green areas.

Historical Context

Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), located on the site until their relocation, is a government agency that works to support all kind of activities to cure human diseases since 1963. The improvement of medical standards in Republic of Korea is one of the biggest innovations in modern times, and KCDC led medical innovation. At that site, social innovators gathered to cure urban and social diseases under the support of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Modern medical innovations have improved people's physical living standards, and new social innovations at Seoul Innovation Park will improve mental and social living standards.

The Plan

Pre-planning Efforts

“서울혁신파크 조성 추진 계획”(Seoul Innovation Park Development implementation Plan) “서울혁신파크 공간조성 마스터플랜 수립 용역”(Seoul Innovation Park Space Development Master Plan Establishment contract) “서울혁신파크 운영 전략 수립 연구 용역”(Seoul Innovation Park Research Contract for Establishing operation strategies)

Vision Statement

ISTORY is vision statement acronym of Seoul Innovation Park. It means Innovation + Story. “I” stands for Innovation Park. “Innovation park different from the existing parks” “S” stands for Sustainable. “Seoul Innovation Park Creates a Sustainable Future” “T” stands for Together. “Social innovation platform where innovators communicate and collaborate together” “O” stands for Open. “Free experimental space for social innovation open to citizens” “R” stands for Resolve. “Foundations and organizations for resolving social problems” “Y” stands for with You. “We need your participation” (서울혁신센터, 2019. 서울혁신파크 가이드북. pp.6-7.)

Goals and Objectives

-The backbone of creating an ecosystem of social innovation. -The Venue for collaboration and communication among various social innovation entities -Leading Models for Innovation Clusters (서울혁신기획관, 2014. 서울혁신파크 조성 계획(안). pp. 3.)

Issues and Problems

The main issue of the plan is to consider ways to create a stronger social innovation foundation so that anyone can create, spread, and experience innovation. Among the various social issues, the issues of energy, space, and resources are representative targets of the city government. -Experiment with innovation Revitalizing the creation of a 'space platform' that allows step-by-step experiments with business models for innovative ideas -Co-prosperity and collaboration Creating an open office space where various innovative entities gather to share and cooperate with each other. Creating synergy through multidisciplinary intervention -Activating civic engagement Hosting and attracting various programs that have great symbolism of innovation and allow many citizens to participate -Energy Transition City Implementation of energy loss reduction measures based on the use of old buildings. Experimenting with a new business model using renewable energy sources. Acting as an energy network hub through information sharing with region -Activating space sharing Operation of space-mediated experimental projects to spread sharing culture Space expansion and network services through sharing with outside of the park -FAB city project Aiming to shift from resource-consuming city to self-productive city led by citizens Sharing skills, knowledge and experience to create sustainable urban models

Benchmark Projects

“Office of Social Innovation and Civil Participation” of USA is Public-private partnership support groups to solve social problems. “NESTA” of UK is an institution that acts as a think tank for civil society on issues across British society. Seoul Innovation Park benchmarks them in terms of creating a citizen-oriented platform for collective collaboration to effectively solve social problems.

Public Engagement Strategy

The Seoul Metropolitan Government is recruiting social innovators to work for social innovation in the infrastructure of Seoul Innovation Park. Under the recruiting project "전대미문 프로젝트(Unprecedented Project)", the government supports social innovators in various fields to experiment and modeling social innovation. They can use Seoul Innovation Park's infrastructure at low rents and get the opportunity to showcase their social activities and achievements. Innovators' social innovation experiments are provided as a complex cultural event for citizens to enjoy and participate in.

Financing Strategy

Seoul Innovation Park is the Seoul Metropolitan Government-led project that was responsible for most of the budget. The operation of Seoul Innovation Park is commissioned by the private sector. The budget for the management and operation of the facility is provided by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and the entrusted private enterprise uses the budget to maintain the facility and support the tenant organization. According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government's financial statement, it has spent about 7 billion won annually since opening in 2015.

Existing Community and Residents

The project offers new possibilities for the local community. Innovative consumption space leads the exchange and spread of social innovation among young people with various convenience facilities such as new types of markets, cafes, and restaurants. Revitalization of the local economy is also expected by creating jobs through attracting guests, such as exhibitions, conventions and accommodation facilities. It can be a cultural space for citizens, such as children and their families, equipped with parks and experience facilities that provide new content.

Phasing Strategy

Seoul Innovation Park is a complex consisting of several reusable buildings. At the beginning of the project, major buildings were remodeled to form the backbone of Seoul Innovation Park and then the park opened. Small buildings have been developed step by step. Flexible space composition plans are underway so that users' experiences and demands can be quickly applied. Seoul Innovation Park is still working on a new development plan.

The Master Plan

The project is basically an adaptive reuse method that involves remodeling existing sites and buildings. The spatial composition has three main themes : Innovation Creation Space, Citizen Coexistence Space, Whole-Generation Innovation Space. Innovation Creation Space was planned for long-term use through small remodeling by utilizing the characteristics of existing buildings. It is a changeable space where creative and innovative experiments can be carried out according to the opinions and demands of social innovators. Citizen Coexistence Space provides space for spreading innovation value and a back-end functional program for it (Accommodation, Commercial Facilities, Park). The space, which will be met by citizens and innovators, is a lively and open space with no walls that aims for a pedestrian and citizen-friendly space. Whole-Generation Innovation Space is a space for children and the elderly. It is operated in conjunction with children's complex cultural facilities through a small-unit space plan centered on trails that save existing plants and topography. There is also a program that can create opportunities for senior citizens to participate in society.

Land Uses and Programs

The sites and buildings where the KCDC existed were classified into areas from A-1 to A-5 depending on purpose of use. The A-1 and A-2 areas located at intersection corner of Jinheung-ro consisted of programs absorbing floating populations due to good accessibility from the main road. Accommodation, exhibition and sales programs consisting of private businesses are the main programs in the A-1 and A-2 areas. The A-3 area, the majority of the site, is a space to support social innovation. Office space for groups moving into the park's facilities and supporting intermediate support groups is the main programs of the project. These spaces are not just office spaces, but innovative spaces that value collaboration and communication, and provide various forms of space for creative and innovative experiments: maker's Hall, Factory, Food Court, Farm, etc. The A-4 Area has Seoul Metropolitan Archives, which records knowledge and history of Seoul City. The A-5 area, which consists of green areas, will be a "healing forest" to form an urban green area linked to Bukhansan Mountain. The vacant lots where no buildings are built on the site have park spaces for citizens.

Timeline or Milestones

2010.12.1 Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), relocating to Cheongju 2012.6.20 Seoul Metropolitan Government, announcing site development direction to solve social problems in innovative ways. 2013.5.8 Development plan materialization as Seoul Innovation Park 2013.12 Planning Approval, “서울혁신파크 조성 기반 마련(2014)” (Seoul Innovation Park Development Foundation Preparation) 2014.3 Intermediate support organizations moving into the park 2014.5.14 “서울혁신파크 설치 및 운영에 관한 조례 제정” (Enactment of ordinance about Seoul Innovation Park Installation and Operation) 2014.7.2 Seoul Innovation Park Development Plan Established (서울혁신파크 조성계획 수립) 2015.01.28 Seoul Innovation Park 1st private entrustment company selected 2015.04.01 Seoul Innovation Park & Seoul Innovation Center Opened Recruitment of 1st occupancy organizations 2016. Completed remodeling and opening of small and medium-sized buildings 2017. Seoul Innovation Park Block No.1 (Main Buildings Remodeling) construction launched. 2018. Block No.1 Opened Launching rooftop common space project Seoul Innovation Park selected as FAB City(self-sufficient & sustainable city) experimental site 2019. Seoul Metropolitan Achieve Opened Creation of children's complex cultural facilities launched Energy Solution Project launched with LH, Seoul Energy Corporation

Current Status

Seoul Innovation Park has been in operation since its opening in 2015 and has been undergoing new developments at the same time as its operation. A plan has been announced to host University of Seoul's Eun-pyeong Campus in Seoul Innovation Park by 2025. The Seoul Institute, an urban research platform, is also planning to relocate to the building in the innovation park. Related institutions are additionally being developed to maximize the innovation hub function of Seoul Innovation Park.

Lessons Learned

What is the most important take away from this case?

The site left behind by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was a large site capable of commercial large-scale development. However, the Seoul Metropolitan Government used the site as an opportunity for civil society to develop rather than using it for commercial purposes. The interesting thing about the project was that it pursued various values at once, such as supporting civic groups, providing civic space, and revitalizing the local economy through a platform that supports social activities. It will be interesting to see if the new form of public-private governance assuming that citizens are the ones who solve social problems will positively work or not.

Why is this case relevant today and for whom?

Traditional "social innovation" was too politically centered, and the scale seemed to be something huge for the general public to participate, making it difficult to induce participation. The policies formed with the Seoul Innovation Park shifted the main stage of social innovation from institutional politics to solving daily life challenges. Seoul Innovation Park, which supports active civil democracy in which citizens who face large and small problems in the community act to solve problems themselves, is suitable for the present, a hyper-connected, communication-oriented society.

Which strategy was proved to be successful?

Instead of demolishing all existing sites and implementing complete redevelopment, I think it was an appropriate strategy to adopt an adaptive reuse strategy through remodeling. If full redevelopment were implemented, progress would have been much slower than the current project. The Seoul Metropolitan Government feared that economic and social losses would occur due to the lack of large land in the center of Eunpyeong-gu during the redevelopment period. I think the strategy of constructing Seoul Innovation Park step by step through remodeling and phased development could have prevented such an urban vacuum. The site was quickly opened to the public, and the urban context, which had been blocked by the walls of existing government facilities, became more flexible and pedestrian-friendly.

In your opinion, what could have improved this project?

I think this project is attractive if all the programs intended by the policy are ideally carried out. But from the first time I heard the main agenda of the project "Social Innovation" I thought it was too abstract. Organizations located in the Seoul Innovation Park include many ideological movements that cannot be quantitatively valued. Examples include vegetarian activists, human rights activists, and gender equality activists. They strive for problems that are alienated from society, but not all citizens sympathize with them, and I think it is difficult for citizens to feel innovators' efforts to make some new social value. There will be many citizens who do not agree that the city's huge budget will be spent on them. Therefore, Seoul Innovation Park needs effective promotion and park facility management so that communication programs between ordinary citizens and social innovators can proceed more smoothly. So that even citizens who disagree with a particular opinion can think of Seoul Innovation Park as valuable venue for discussion.

Any other comments?

According to the survey, about 200 billion won has been spent so far to create and operate the Seoul Innovation Park. As a result, 250 organizations and 1,000 social innovators reside in Seoul Innovation Park to continue experimenting with social innovation. Seoul Innovation Park promotes successful experimental cases through media. However, it was hard to find quantitative assessments by groups. Of course, it is true that the value of social movements cannot be assessed by quantitative factors alone. However, as it is a financial support policy in which citizens' taxes are used, the social enterprises or organizations they operate should have a self-reliant financial system or produce reasonable results as financial support after a certain amount of support. It is also important for the city government to maintain reasonable and legitimate standards for "social innovation" because it is ultimately the Seoul Metropolitan Government to select an organization to move into the park. It is necessary to think about whether the effects on ordinary citizens are sufficient other than direct participants in social innovation . The park has not yet developed accommodation and commercial facilities that existed in the existing plans. Someone say that there is no effect on revitalizing the local economy as expected from existing plans. The Seoul Innovation Park, which spent about 200 billion won, attracted 400,000 citizens over the five years since its opening. I think that is a disappointing figure compared to the budget used. It seems necessary to observe critically for the time being whether social positive effects through social innovation actually occur or not.


OFFLINE Resources and References

"김은지, 2017, ""'혁신적 시민성'의 의미형성과 제도화-: '희망제작소'와 '서울혁신파크'를 중심으로."" 국내석사학위논문 서울대학교 대학원. 서울혁신기획관, 2014. 서울혁신파크 조성 계획(안). pp. 3-7. , 서울혁신기획관, 2017. 서울혁신파크 조성 및 운영현황 보고. pp.1-9. 서울혁신센터, 2019. 서울혁신파크 가이드북. pp.6-7. , 은평구, 2015. 서울혁신파크 지구단위계획구역 지정 및 지구단위계획 결정(안). pp.2-15. , 한국실내디자인학회, 2016. [SPECIAL ISSUE 2] 서울혁신파크 코워킹 스페이스. pp.36-41."


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Contributor audex


AUDEX is an acknowledgement that we need to start building on our own knowledge and experiences that applies to Asian cities and, perhaps, we can steer the global urbanization in the right direction. We believe in a collective intelligence. Powered by the internet and the network of professionals and experts in Asia, we propose to start by making sharing your experience and knowledge easier.