In 2002, Korea and Japan welcomed the world as joint hosts of the World Cup football tournament. Soccer stadiums were erected all across Korea. Seoul’s World Cup venue was placed at the city’s far western end in a place that many people probably wouldn’t have selected just a few years earlier.
That’s because World Cup Stadium is located next to the Nanjido Landfill, a massive disposal site that operated until 1993. Like any metropolis, Seoul produces millions of tons of garbage, and Nanjido was the nation’s largest uncontrolled landfill. But what may sound like an inauspicious place was transformed into a pretty spectacular one when nature was encouraged to reclaim the land.