Those who knew the Cheonggyecheon before and after its revival -- including Los Angeles architect Christopher Pak, a member of [Antonio Villaraigosa]'s delegation who spent his childhood in Seoul -- say the stream offers a valuable lesson for Los Angeles.
Villaraigosa has pledged to remake the L.A. River as part of his effort to link the city through an "emerald necklace" of parks and other green space. Los Angeles officials are now studying the Cheonggyecheon and other urban waterways as they plot a future for the trash-strewn L.A. River, which has long endured failed aspirations of becoming a lush, inviting landmark.
Seoul city leaders were eager to show Villaraigosa their urban jewel during a presentation with colorful maps on the plaza overlooking the stream. Then they took him on a walking tour, his entourage following at a comfortable distance. The officials pointed out that the Han River, which winds like a snake through Seoul, feeds the Cheonggyecheon, once the water is purified.