“What makes Seoul leaders successful, silent achievers?”
written by Wayne Brown
Back on the Peninsula…
This small Korean peninsula is home to two of the world’s dominant players, claiming the entire territory’s legitimate government.
North Korea, with a population of 25+ million and its capital Pyongyang, the largest city in the country (3 million residents). To the north and northwest, the government is bordered by China and by Russia.
South Korea, with 50+ million and its capital Seoul, largest in the country (approx. 10million residents). It is ranked as one of the world’s largest metropolitan cities.
Separating these two powers is a heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone.
Returning to Seoul after 2 years…
A couple of weeks back, I was in Seoul, participating in an HR workshop. The workshop focused on Learning developments and the transition towards digitalization and Change Leadership. It was a pleasant experience and return after an absence of almost two years.
As with the global economy, South Korea continues to grow, and with-in our industry comes new construction and expanding service.
Our industry is a changing…
Government legislative changes are placing considerable short-term pressures on the industry. The service base was typically supported by small subcontractor companies – the Mum and Pop businesses. The sector must now re-build an internal service operation with yearly milestones and completion towards the end of 2020-2021.
Add to this Korean cultural resistance to change plus strong unions, and it is quite a challenge finding workable solutions.
The Sky is getting closer…
Despite these challenges, the broader construction industry continues to head ever upward, with Skyscrapers dotted across the horizon.
Here the Lotte World Tower one of the highest in the world topping off at 555m.
80 buildings rising above 150m, five more under construction, and Seoul ranks as CTBUH’S #15 in the world.
Populations and megacities…
South Korea’s total population in 1955 was 21.5 million and has more than doubled, to 50 million, by 2010. It is considered one of the most ethnically homogeneous societies globally, with ethnic Koreans representing approximately 96% of the total population.
The Republic of Korea’s current population is 51,303,084 as of 2019, based on the latest United Nations estimates. South Korea’s population is equivalent to 0.67% of the total world population. South Korea ranks number 28 in the list of countries by population.
Seoul, officially known as the Seoul Special City, is the largest metropolis and South Korea’s capital. This megacity is the largest city proper in the developed world. The Seoul Capital Area is the second largest metropolitan globally, with more than 25.6 million people. Half of all the country’s residents are situated in this area.
Seoul, home to a traditional culture…
Palaces and the Arts…
Gyeongbokgung (Hangul: 경복궁; Hanja: 景福宮), was the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty. Built-in 1395, it is located in northern Seoul, South Korea. Another palace, the Changdeokgung Palace, was set up later, and became the favorite residence of later Joseon Dynasty Kings. This site is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There is no question that Seoul is home to some of the world’s great royal palaces. From the outside, these locations appear tranquil, with grand gardens and unique architecture. From here, the palace history, however, is anything other than tranquil! So if you’re interested in Asian power struggles, particularly around the Qing dynasty, then this story will fascinate you? Investigate and you may find the reasons behind the demise of the Korean royals?
Additional to the Palace Musuem, Seoul offers a wide selection of Museums providing something for almost everyone. The traditional theme at the National Museum of Korea, provides a huge selection of over 200,000 pieces. The display spanning ancient through to modern history. It’s worth the visit.
A personal favorite is the mother of pearl pieces which come in all shapes and sizes.
Street food and shopping…
For anyone that likes the adventure of trying new foods, then Seoul offers plenty for the palette. Streets vendors everywhere serving up hot, grilled varieties of Asian and local delicacies. Wanting to sit and eat? Then find yourself a Korean barbeque restaurant and try one of the locals’ favorite meals?
Planning to spend some time looking for a new outfit and you don’t have that typically slim, petite Asian figures? Or a pair of shoes, but your feet of western design? Prepare to spend plenty of time searching for something that will fit and meet your requirements. There’s a wide selection of famous brands on offer, but the range typically caters more towards the slim Korean figures.
Seoul nightlife in buckets…
And then there is the Seoul nightlife. Be it casinos, clubs, karaoke, restaurants, or even just strolling the brightly light streets, then Seoul truly offers an abundance. Check out areas such as Itaewon for the foreigners wanting English-speaking Koreans packing the bars and restaurants. Hongdae for a more local experience around the college district. And Gangnam Station and Apgujeong are additional options for more up-market adventure.
Getting a view from above the noise…
If you’re lucky enough to have a clear day or evening, visit the Lotte World Tower – Seoul Sky Observatory. The observatory on the 117th floor, with 360-degree views, and the scenery is quite breathtaking.
The elevator travels from basement one straight to level 117th. A word of warning as you will have to use the stairs between the 117th floor to the 120th floor. The entire observatory is spread over these floors, with each level offering different features.
For those wanting to expand on the elevating experience, then try this trio. We start at the base with the inclined elevator. The elevator ferries 20 passengers at a time up to the cable car station in just over 2 minutes.
Then to the 48 person cable cars, ferry passengers to the N Seoul Tower (telecommunications). Upgrading of the original cabins in 2008 and now offers a much more panoramic view.
The tower has 2×24 person elevators, rising 135m rises at a maximum of 9m/s to the observation deck.
For the die hard lifties out there…
Here’s a list of the 10 tallest buildings (planned, under construction and existing) – visit the CTBUH site for details.
|1||Hyundai Global Business Center||–||569 m|
|2||Lotte World Tower||2017||555 m|
|3||Parc1 Tower A||2020||338 m|
|4||Three International Finance Center||2012||284 m|
|5||Tower Palace Three, Tower G||2004||264 m|
|6||Parc1 Tower B||2020||261 m|
|7||Mokdong Hyperion Tower A||2003||256 m|
|8||KLI 63 Building||1985||250 m|
|9||FKI Tower||2013||245 m|
|10||Mokdong Hyperion Tower B||2003||239 m|
And so to wrap up…
My next article turns the spotlight on the east coast of Australia – Sydney, and Brisbane following a visit last week. Join me to learn about some exciting developments occurring in the land down under.
Until next time, stay safe and keep learning!