The river has been a source of food since prehistory. They are often a rich source of fish and other edible aquatic life and are a major source of freshwater. The river also provides an easy means of disposing wastewater and other waste. For this reason, human settlement often flourishing in the riverbank area for the convenience of water resources, which led the river to be polluted and became a place associated with an unsanitary condition.

During the industrial revolution, some rivers are heavily polluted from factories, overpopulation, and lack of sanitation. These rivers were then covered with concrete to hide the deteriorating condition of the river and seen as the success of industrialization and modernization of the urban environment.

Nowadays, these concrete piped have become a grey space of concrete jungle, which usually used to provide service network for the city, such as road, clean water, sewers, or others. One of the attempts to revitalize this grey space was made by several cities by reverse the process of the piped stream and open the river stream again, called daylighting. Daylighting could bring ecological, economic, and/or socio-cultural wellbeing to the city and its inhabitants, e.g., Restoration of the Cheonggyecheon River in Seoul.

Another example of revitalizing piped stream water is the Ecoducto Linear Park in Mexico City, which aims to show that piped rivers can be reintegrated into the urban water cycle. The linear park runs the length of 1,600 linear meters giving life to new flora, gardens, and fauna. In addition, the project incorporates sludge beds, biodigesters, and water treatment systems, which make it not only an aesthetic element for the city but also a water purifier that gives life to its surroundings.

Back to Lexicon

Cheonggyecheon restoration project traffic evaluation

Sources: “ Case Study: Cheonggyecheon; Seoul, Korea.” Global Designing Cities Initiative. Accessed May 2, 2021.
  1. Daylighting (Streams). Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, April 5, 2021.
  2. Apaloosa Estudio de Arquitectura y Diseño, Simetría Estudio de Arquitectura, and Giancarlo Reyes Olguin. Linear Park Ecoducto: Water as a Constructive Material. urbanNext, October 4, 2019.
  3. River. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, May 1, 2021.
  4. Pollution during the Industrial Revolution. Foundations of Western Culture. Accessed May 2, 2021.
  5. Cheonggyecheon. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, March 21, 2021.