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Seoul Elevates Gardening to High Art
Art And Culture

Seoul Elevates Gardening to High Art

From stylish, manicured creations to small vegetable plots, gardens are taking to the rooftops of the South Korean capital Seoul -- bringing dashes of spontaneity and color to the skyline of one of the world’s most densely populated cities.
With help from the municipal government, otherwise largely drab buildings are being crowned with flower beds, allotments and trees, where the scent of fresh blossoms in the springtime can briefly mask the fumes from the traffic below, reports AFP.
The project has produced one of the largest rooftop gardens in Asia, Garden 5, which is spread across the top of four 10-storey buildings and linked by skywalks, with a total surface area equal to three football fields.
Inter-M Corp., a broadcasting and audio equipment maker housed in a grey, nondescript, seven-storey office building in northern Seoul, decided to convert their roof several years ago.
Completed in late 2013 at a cost of 110 million won ($100,000) - half provided by City Hall - the 450 square meter garden boasts azalea, lilies, maple trees, herbs and two small pavilions.
Company spokesman Bae Seung-San said staff used it to unwind, while potential customers were taken to the roof as part of a sales pitch.
The municipal financial support comes with a rider -- any garden must be properly maintained and opened for public use within five years of its completion.
Since the project began in 2002, the city government has spent more than 60 billion won ($57 million) helping to bankroll rooftop gardens, allotments or small ecological parks on more than 650 buildings around the city.
“We need more green, but don’t really have the budget to buy the land for urban parks,” said Bang Seong-Weon, a municipal official in charge of the Green Roof Construction program.
“If you green the rooftops, land prices cease to be an issue,” Bang said.

 

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