In his May 12 speech at the Global Alternative Investment Insights 2015 Conference in Seoul, South Korea, Rob Speyer praised Seoul city planners for their commitment to environmental sustainability efforts that have enhanced livability for residents, citing the city’s Cheonggyecheon Stream restoration project.
“Technology is terrific, but technology without livability is just science fiction,” Speyer said. “The future is not about machines, its about us — and cleaning our environment, making cities more livable is also going to make them more human.”
Speyer commended Seoul’s government for its focus on restoring the Cheonggyecheon Stream area. He acknowledged that while the project had “political, economic, cultural” challenges, city planners “persevered” and “came up with a solution that is now a template across Korea.”
The Cheonggyecheon Stream project dramatically transformed Seoul’s central business district by removing a 10-lane highway, creating a new park and green space and restoring a stream that had been decimated by pollution. The newly restored stream and park opened to the public in October 2005.
“Used to be that people living in that neighborhood had twice the incidents of respiratory problems than people anywhere else in the city,” Speyer said. “Now, they can breathe again. Pollution has been reduced 35 percent, property values are up, tourism is up. This project has created a true, virtuous cycle for Seoul.”
Watch a clip of Speyer’s speech below:
See more at Rob Speyer’s YouTube Channel.