Saving Seoul

Standing ankle-deep in the frigid waters of Seoul's reborn Cheonggyecheon stream, a blustery March wind whipping through his suit, Mayor Lee Myung Bak could be forgiven for reconsidering this whole environmentalism thing. As a young employee at Hyundai Construction and Engineering in the 1960s, Lee helped pave over the once polluted stream, burying it under an elevated highway that would carry about 168,000 cars a day into the heart of the city. It was the kind of massive modern development that Lee later repeated throughout South Korea during his concrete-pouring tenure as CEO of Hyundai Construction and other Hyundai affiliates in...

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