Enter at your own risk – disaster theme park unveiled

A theme park aimed at putting people in harm’s way so they can cope in the event of a disaster has been proposed for Korea.

Royal College of Art graduate Soon-min Hong has designed the project in which instead of rides, the attractions include opportunities to get caught up in a whirlpool or evacuate a burning building.

The Risk Theme Park – unveiled this week at the opening of the London school’s end of year show – is an architectural proposal intended to increase the public’s appreciation of risk-taking jobs like firefighting.

Hong believes that people are no longer prepared to take daily risks that might prepare them for dangerous situations, which has led to emergency services being taken for granted.

“We live in an age obsessed with personal safety,” explained Hong. “This creates a ‘risk deficit’ in society, forcing others to take on that risk on behalf of the public. Typically, these are members of the emergency services, notably the fire services who regularly place their lives in jeopardy to serve the public interest.

“My question is how can an architectural proposal increase the public’s appreciation for risk-taking and promote it as a value?”

The theme park is proposed for Daegu, South Korea – the city where, in 2003, an arson attack on the underground rail claimed the lives of 120 civilians.

Hong said the city’s firefighters are undervalued, badly paid and poorly equipped.

“Traditional adventure playgrounds encourage children to take risks in play, because it is beneficial for the child’s development, yet as we grow older, this value is dismissed through education.

“I think, through taking a risk in relation to the duties of firefighters, the public can realise how hard their duties are, and how valuable their efforts and sacrifices are,” he added.

The theme park would be constructed on top of an existing fire station and police station. There would be nine main levels, all assigned to a different type of risk.