Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

W. Bowman Cutter

Reader 2

Char Miller

Rights Information

© 2011 Erin Childs


The tale of South Korea's Cheonggyecheon River is one to warm an urban environmentalist's heart. Cheonggyecheon runs through the center of Seoul, a bustling metropolis of ten million that has been the capital of Korea since the 14th century. The Japanese were the first to sacrice Cheonggyecheon on the altar of urbanization, turning the River into a sewage system during their 35 year occupation between 1910 and 1945. Already thusvdegraded, it was easy for later administrations to eventually completely cover the river with the Cheonggye Road and Cheonggye Elevated Highway between 1958 and 1976. Cheonggyecheon became an exemplar of the expendability of urban environments in the face of modernization and economic growth, particularly the need for transportation in a quickly developing city. In the early 1990s it was discovered that extensive repair would be necessary to maintain the Highway, and with heavy political leadership of Mayoral Candidate Myung-Bak Lee, now the president of South Korea, the decision was made to restore the river rather than repair the road (Park, 2006).


Senior thesis submitted in December 2011.