A large transformation is underway for Seomyeon, Busan’s central and largest downtown area as the Busanjin-gu Office has allocated a substantial budget, approximately 26.9 billion won, to partition Seomyeon into four distinct districts, creating themed streets tailored to each generation’s preferences.
The ‘Busanjin-gu Seomyeon-gu Theme Street Creation Project by Generation’ was unveiled on the 19th, with the hopes of creating generation-specific streets by 2026.
Busanjin-gu Office aims to customize and specialize each street within Seomyeon, with a unique emphasis on generational characteristics.
The four designated sections are Seomyeon Culture Road, Seomyeon 1st Street, Youth Street, and Drinking Street.
Notably, the latter, known as Manchwi-gil in Korean, is popular among young adults, featuring distinct bars and izakayas.
The goal is to not only reorganize the city center but also ensure that Seomyeon attracts visitors from all age groups.
‘Seomyeon Culture Road’ corresponds to the Yeonggwangdo Island area, known for its restaurants and cafes, including the Yeonggwang Bookstore. While frequented by middle-aged patrons, the area has been perceived as confusing due to scattered road facilities and symbols. The district office plans to initiate a cleanup, install smog cooling systems, and address homelessness concerns. Following maintenance, the street will host diverse cultural events like flea markets and book concerts.
‘Seomyeon 1st Street,’ centered around Bokgaecheon, is envisioned as a multigenerational festival space. The district office plans to amalgamate existing festivals and introduce new events such as water gun festivals and beer festivals. The street will transform into a night spectacle, themed with lights, aiming to become a family-friendly destination. Drawing inspiration from Kobe, Japan, the district office aims to create a vibrant festival atmosphere.
‘Youth Street’ and ‘Drinking Street,’ adjacent to Jeonpo-dong, will focus on content tailored for the 2030 generation. Plans include incorporating elements like wall graffiti and 3D hologram art, potentially turning the streets into a national attraction with effective social media promotion. The district office is contemplating designating a section of Jungang-daero, from Seomyeon Intersection to Beomil-dong, as a ‘Media Facade Special Zone,’ exploring the installation of media facades or lighting on specific building exteriors.
Despite its historical standing as Busan’s city center, Seomyeon has faced economic challenges, with increasing diversification of attractions in areas like Gwangalli, Yeongdo, and Jeonpo-dong. The vacancy rate of mid to large-sized commercial buildings in Seomyeon has risen, prompting the district office to intervene.
However, the success of the project remains uncertain, as challenges such as the emergence of new commercial districts, rising rents, and the need for enhanced connectivity with Seomyeon persist. Addressing these issues will be crucial for the revitalization of Seomyeon as a thriving urban hub.