Seoul's skyline to reach new heights as gov't lifts floor limit
Seoul’s skyline is set to reach new heights as the city government on Thursday decided to lift the 35-story limit that has been uniformly applied to residential buildings for the past decade.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced a general urban planning draft for 2040 on Thursday.
The 35-floor cap on residential buildings in Seoul was put in place in 2014 under the rule of former Mayor Park Won-soon.
Current Mayor Oh Se-hoon said that these height regulations led to a uniform skyline along the Han River and decided to abolish the limit in the city's latest urban plan.
However, the removal of the height limit won’t come with an increase in the floor area ratio of buildings, the city government said, and only permits various heights of buildings if they stay within the specified regulations, such as density.
The specific number of floors allowed in certain areas will be determined by each district's deliberation committee to best fit each area's needs.
The city will also overhaul the previous zoning rules, which regulated land use and the height and floor area ratio of buildings within a specific zone, to prevent functions of urban spaces overlapping.
Currently, Seoul assigns land for specific usages such as residential, commercial, industrial and green area purposes — limiting the creation of urban areas which combine multiple functions such as work, leisure and housing.
The city instead decided to pursue the "Beyond Zoning" policy and abolish the distinction between its residential, commercial, industrial and green areas and change the paradigm of its urban planning to create a flexible urban space.
It plans to introduce a new spatial concept of a walkable living space equipped with various facilities and functions, such as workplaces and leisure-culture spots within a 30-minute walking radius.
The city will also push for a plan to gradually move the ground railways, that cover a total of 105.8 square kilometers (26,144 acres) of Seoul, underground, as they have been criticized for causing noise and shaking the ground.
The plan also includes the expansion of future transportation infrastructure. In particular, the city will test-operate an urban air mobility (UAM) service on the route from Gimpo Airport to Yongsan International Business District for its commercial launch scheduled for 2025. UAM terminals will also be set up in large development zones within the city such as in Yongsan, Samsung and Jamsil.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government will finalize the 2040 urban plan by the end of the year, after holding public hearings and consultations with related organizations such as the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
BY SEO JI-EUN [email@example.com]