We Need New Surroundings
We Need New Surroundings
  • An Lee Jung-un
  • 승인 2007.04.06 17:43
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In the past, it is important for many people to make practical and strong buildings. So all external appearances of buildings which are located in the city are unshapely and simple. Also, people feel confused because of signboards and placards which hang on walls carelessly. This situation includes university campuses.

Korean university campuses are not appealing to people because there are no buildings or spaces that catch a person’s eye. Now universities are making attempts to design university campuses anew.

Movement of Green Campuses

One way to design anew is the movement for green campuses. This movement's goal is to think environmental. In other words, it aims to harmonize the environment with people in order for people to feel comfortable in a beautiful yet practical setting.  Projects for green campuses are to remove or reduce roads in and around campuses. Kookmin University and Yonsei University enforce strong regulations on automobile traffic.

If universities in Korea permit cars on campus without regulations, students are in danger of accidents. There are many cars on Sookmyung Women’s University campus.  Sookmyungians always avoid these cars.  Universities that remove roads make it easier, safer and more enjoyable for students. Konkuk University also plans to separate cars and pedestrians. They will design the campus with pedestrians as the central figures. Another project is underground campuses.

This is to make lecture rooms and convenient facilities at ground level surrounded by green tracts of land.  Kookmin University, Ewha Womans University and Sogang University have implemented such a plan. Already Korea University has made an underground campus in 2002.  Lastly, we can mix construction and development with the environment. For example, we can plant trees on rooftops, plant ivy on walls and use brick rather than cement.

Clean Campus Campaign

The University News Network is the driving force of this campaign.  This campaign is similar to green campus. It aims to make university surroundings friendlier for students. These surroundings include environmental and information technology. Universities aim to improve placards on and around campus. We can see many of placards on university campuses. Students attach placards to notice boards, walls and they hang them between trees.

It shows information of university instead of placards.

This situation is more serious at the beginning of a term because students need to inform their club’s information to freshmen students. It diminishes the beauty of campus. In contrast with universities in Korea, foreign universities prohibit students from attaching placards. For example, Columbia University permits placards which inform of special events, but they must be removed after three or four days.

Universities in Korea have presented a solution to solve this problem. The solution is using multimedia instead of placards. For instance, Chung?Ang University and Hanyang University concluded a 'clean campus campaign agreement.' Through this agreement, universities are given internet kiosks, Plasma Display Panels (PDP’s) and Light Emitting Diodes (LED’s). Students can inform students through these products and university campuses don't need to fight with placards.

Bad Surroundings of University Town

There are many stores in university towns. We always see many of the stores while going to university. There are many signboards and these stores’ external appearances are not clean. A store’s space very small because university town's land prices are high, therefore owners decorate their stores to catch people's attention without thinking of public designs. These external appearances and a lack of quality design create problems with image. 

Moreover, many unversities are undergoing development with a lack of space for students such as book stores, reading rooms and academies.  Actually, Yonsei University’s town market has the most liquor stores relative to its area.  Formerly, students could buy drugs very easily at the Hongik University town market.  There are many motels around Seoul National University town. 

Also SMU’s town market has many beauty shops and dress shops.  There are only two book stores and they are very small. Big shopping malls will be built near university town markets.  Already, some places have been developed.  For example, Yes apM is located in Ewha university town, Eggyellow is located in Seoul University town and Star city that includes E?mart and Lotte Department Store are located in Konkuk University town. 

These environments are distractions for students who wish to study. In addition, it promotes a university culture for pleasures.  Students can go to these places and spend valuable time that could be otherwise spent studying. Foreign countries prohibit people form developing commercial stores in these areas.  However, Korea doesn’t regulate this so university town markets are inundated with liquor stores, beauty shops and dress shops.

Need of Government Power

Public designs are very important at this time because people want to live in a good environment.  So city needs a good environment and university needs it too.  Recently, staff who work at university campuses understand this and they make an effort to change the environment for students. 

However, owners in university towns don’t have the same interests.  Actually, store owners are unwilling to change the environment easily because the stores are their means of making a living.  If one owner changes his store’s type and appearance to fit public designs, this store will be under pressure from other stores to decorate with brilliant signboards and placards. 

So, the government needs to make a bill about public designs to enforce a good environment in university towns.  For example, foreign countries prohibit people from developing commercial stores in university towns.? Japan’s government regulates spaces that can be used to hang signboards.  Like this, Korea also needs a bill that will create a good environment for students.


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