Beyond Big Plans – Urban Planning Symposium in Seoul with ETH Zürich

Beyond Big Plans (BBP) Symposium an official ISOCARP (International Society of City and Regional Planners) conference hosted by the City of Seoul , was held on March 11-15. The Embassy of Switzerland in Republic of Korea, together with the Dutch Embassy and many others supported this conference.

The BBP Project was designed by three young Korean urban planners with links to ETH Zürich as a catalyst for higher quality deliberation on the future of planning, alternative routes, and possible actors in Seoul, South Korea. BBP is also working with local and global urban experts.


The first day, 11th, included a short tour of Seoul and opening reception in the evening at the Embassy of Switzerland. Ambassador, Jörg Al. Reding hosted this reception. Special guest was Prof Kees Christiaanse of ETH Zürich. Alumni of both ETH Zürich and EPFL were invited.


The BBP Conference hosted three different sessions about different topics of: reinventing “unrealized plans” in the middle of Seoul, Sewoon Regeneration, and learning from other cities’ examples. Seoul City Mayor Mr. Park Won Soon gave a warm welcoming speech to start off the official day of the conference. The discussions and speeches were lead by various architecture professionals and academics from South Korea and also from Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, and so on, for diverse input to the forum.

There were four Swiss representatives at this conference:

  • Kees CHRISTIAANSE, Professor of Architecture at ETHZ
  • Charlotte MALTERRE-BARTHES, Doctoral Researcher at ETHZ
  • Christian SALEWSKI, Senior Assistant Urban Designer at ETHZ
  • Naomi HANAKATA, ETHZ Future Cities Lab, Singapore (exhibitor for Tokyo)



On the 13th and 14th,  BBP expert workshop was held taking “Sewoon Arcade” as a case site. The workshop included questions regarding reinventing developmental model in the fact of new conditions of a hyper-growth area, and how to empower social and economic actors, who have been neglected in the supply-oriented developmental process.


The final day of the symposium concluded with final presentations and review. There were seven different themes for the presentations as follows:

  • Constructive Development Process
  • Design for Local Entrepreneurship
  • Regeneration through Palimpsest
  • Development Financing with People
  • Strong Vision & Flexible Strategy
  • Urban Development for the Many
  • Happy Place-making