Historic Buildings and Proper Incentives

As a Korean-Canadian, I have spent first-half of my life, which is 15 years, in S.Korea. I have visited the country time to time up to today and have witnessed the changes and growth of the country, especially Seoul, the capitol city of S. Korea. Now it is one of the biggest and most dense cities in the world, and every time I go to Seoul, the environment changes so fast and rapidly. Sometimes, it is hard to recall a certain spot since pretty much everything has been replaced by fancy new buildings.

Some might argue that Seoul has come a long way from the past; however, for me, it is very sad and unfortunate to see that it is almost impossible to find old historic buildings in Seoul. It is truly difficult to distinguish cities by its outlooks compared to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, and Tokyo. No clear regulations or restrictions just made the kind of cities taste less and monotone. After reading this week’s portion, I realized that right incentives and regulations can not only preserve old buildings but also save resources and costs by using less materials and money thus make the entire process more sustainable.

A building development in Melrose Trail, Capitol Hill, which conserves old brick parts of the previous building.

A building development in Melrose Trail, Capitol Hill, which conserves old brick parts of the previous building.

Capitol Hill Pike-Pine conservation corridor to me is a great use of incentives in Seattle. In Pike-Pine corridors, if developers choose to keep some of the old structures as the base of new buildings,they get incentive of raising the overall building height. This especially fits well with Capitol Hill which has a lot of characters and history in their buildings. After this week’s reading,in my current project in studio, I decided to explore more about incentives and poicies which could be more efficient way to encourage sustainable development. As a landscape architecture student, maybe I was thinking too much inside the box by only thinking about how to design existing spaces while changing and tweaking incentives and policies can make more dramatic impact on built environment.


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