[LETTER TO THE EDITOR]Stop development by EwhaAs I step up the stairs of the third gate of the Ewha Womans University subway station, a war begins: Old ladies try to pass handbills advertising their stores, advertising signs are crammed on the narrow foot path and songs blare from different stores.
This is not all. As I turn left, I can see a construction site for a fashion mall named “Yes APM” (“Yes” stands for Yonsei, Ewha, Sogang universities). As I look forward, I can see another shopping mall, “Fabee,” beside the main gate of Ewha appearing as part of the campus.
In addition, another shopping mall, “Migliore,” is also under construction on a site where the Sinchon railway station used to be. Who could ever tell that this is a street in front of a university?
This environment ― overwhelmed by commercialization and rampant construction ― should not co-exist with Ewha. Ewha students have the right to a more academic and educational environment.
First, Seoul should enact a strict law to protect the educational environment from commercialization.
According to an article in the Ewha Weekly, Seoul officials presented a plan for better organizing the environment around Ewha. Officials said it would solve the problems of narrow sidewalks and illegal parking.
However, the present situation around Ewha is somewhat different, as construction has started on the three big shopping malls. However good the plan is, it will not be realized unless it is implemented.
The other way to create a more settled and academic educational environment is to give money to Ewha to buy more land around the campus and prevent it from being developed.
Since 2000, Ewha has taken several steps to reduce commercialization in the area, including submitting a petition to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea to stop the designation of the street in front of Ewha as “Beauty Street” along with making speeches, holding demonstrations and a petition campaign.
But, despite these efforts, there seems to be no slowdown in the commercialization around Ewha. There is only one easy solution left: Ewha must raise money and buy the sites where the malls are located.
But Ewha will need donations from the public or the government to do this development plan. I urge both the Seoul Metropolitan Government and anyone with an interest in the issue to act now.
by Han Young-joo
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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