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Would You Visit A Theme Park That Wants To Crush, Burn, And Drown You?

Surprisingly, the ultimate disaster porn amusement park is conceived all in the pursuit of better public safety.

You’d be hard pressed to get even the most daring thrill seekers to enter a collapsing building or a burning tunnel, but for fire fighters around the world, it’s just part of the job. To teach his fellow South Koreans to be more appreciative of the rescue workers who risk their lives every day, architect Soon-min Hong has dreamed up the Risk Theme Park, an amusement park concept filled with burning buildings, crashing monorails, and collapsing platforms–all while teaching people how to survive if they ever find themselves in that situation for real.

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As envisioned by Hong, the Risk Theme Park would stand in the middle of the South Korean city of Daegu, above an existing fire station, police station, and senior citizen center. Resembling a megastructure with a largely uncovered facade, the park would have nine attractions. Entering the park, visitors would first pass through a remembrance garden for fallen firefighters, before being asked to leap from a high platform onto a large air mat. From there, park goers would traverse a seemingly unstable platform to pass by a seemingly burning building, then jump on a raft to experience large waves, whirlpools, and the risk of drowning.


Next, visitors would haul themselves up and down ropes to simulate evacuating a high rise building, then enter a concrete building to experience what it’s like to be trapped in a burning building for themselves (think Backdraft: the Ride here). Finally, Hong wants to place park goers into a simulated monorail disaster, then drop them onto the simulacrum of a South Korean mountain to show visitors all the things that can go wrong while hiking.

“We live in a society that is obsessed with personal safety, but as a result, people are no longer prepared to take risks on a daily basis which might prepare them for dangerous situations,” Hong says. “This creates a risk deficit in society, forcing others to take on that risk on behalf of the public.” But because so few of us experience risk anymore, we don’t appreciate those who put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis.


This is particularly true, Hong says, in his native South Korea, where firefighters are paid low wages and are badly equipped for their jobs. There’s just no appreciation for what they do. To deal with the problem, South Korea is currently proposing seven centers to educate the public about the nation’s emergency services, in which emergency scenarios are simulated for the public in a completely safe environment. Hong’s Risk Theme Park is a proposal for just one of those centers, rendered in a beautiful ukiyo-e woodblock style that looks like the artist Hokusai dabbled with disaster porn.

Hong says that his Risk Theme Park would be constructed to be as safe as possible, although the very nature of the park means that injuries could happen: you can’t learn about risk unless it’s possible to get hurt. Of course, the fact that people could get hurt at his park is why Hong says he thinks it’s unlikely it’ll ever get built, but he hopes that the Risk Theme Park will at least influence the design of one of the public centers built in South Korea by 2021.

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