Rewilding Riverbeds

Rewilding Riverbeds

Rewilding Seoul


Teaching staff.
Jungyoon Kim, Yoon-Jin Park

Authors: Jonathon Koewler


Ecological destruction is nothing new to the history of urbanization. Cities have always removed wilds that were considered undesirable, unproductive, or dangerous. In Seoul and Boston, urban development came at the expense of their river ecologies. In each context, expansive landscapes of sandbars and mudflats were dredged and diked to enforce a more acceptable presentation of water. This project seeks to return these ecologies in the form of newly constructed wilds. Although they cannot return by simply removing the active measures against them, they can be reintroduced through landforming and engineering. They will not mimic their original states, rather they will become new landscapes of cultural and ecological presence. The growing impacts of climate change on these cities further complicates the motivation to ‘rewild’ these sites. To allow these forms to persist sustainably without constant intervention, their functions must be adapted to the more extreme contemporary conditions we face. Although the ecologies differ between Boston and Seoul, they share similar constraints to be overcome around water-control, sediment-morphology, and the maintenance of critical organisms. Shared training structures are meant to accomplish this spectrum of goals, and then to be edited and used appropriately in each city. The training structures, along with designs to the edges of the shores, are combined to formulate the appropriate balance of defense and natural degradation that keeps these ecologies at an optimal moderation of performance. These constructions also add a new component in these rewilded-conditions: the human perception and interaction with them as valued landscapes.

Department of Landscape Architecture / MLA
Academic year
United States