Sangam-dong – A neighborhood built on top of garbage

Sangam-dong is the neighborhood that has risen from Garbage and transformed into the media capital and magnificent parks – all in the wake of the FIFA 2002 World Cup.

A large part of Sangam is Nanjido, a piece of land once a Han River Island. Hence the word ‘do,’ which means island in Korean. Until the early 1990s, this island was Seoul’s landfill or garbage dump. At some point, the landfill rose almost 100 meters, what might have been the world’s tallest waste dump site. Every time I drive by, I try to imagine what a sight it must have been. To some, a pain in the eyes. To others, a livelihood opportunity. Many Koreans lived from the trash they found on the steep hills, at the risk of their health.

Something had to be done: the environmental issues, the smell, the expanding city, and the FIFA World Cup. The Seoul government transformed the landfill into the parks we know today as ‘Sky Park’ and ‘Noeul Park’ (Among many other surrounding parks)—beautiful parks throughout all four seasons, with a view to all directions. An incineration plant between both parks provides heat to many residents, offices, and even the World Cup stadium. The transformation is done incredibly well, and probably most people don’t even notice that this mountain was a landfill.


You might have read by now that Sky Park is designated as the location to build the world’s tallest spokeless Ferris wheel by 2027. If this article isn’t convincing enough, you can keep this future ‘reason to visit’ in your pocket.

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