A visit to Tesla Motors

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I paid a visit to Tesla Motors yesterday, took a look around the factories and even test-drove a vehicle.

I now understand that the automobile industry has a completely new concept. Not only do we now have electric cars with better mileage but also these come with completely new designs and a complete complement of the latest electronic devices. They are entirely different from existing cars.

It’s the beginning of the 5th industrial revolution. I was inspired and motivated during my visit.




Seoul Association of Social Workers’ Climbing Competition

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A few days ago, social workers in Seoul got together for their annual climbing competition. I also went to say hello and congratulate them, and Executive Secretary Kwak Gyeong-in took pictures and uploaded them.

I would very much like to thank all the social workers in Seoul. All our citizens can be happy when you are happy. We will do our best to support you.




Sharing City Seoul

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Sharing City Seoul—we are already receiving high acclaim from around the world and have recently received an award from METROPOLIS, a leading international association of cities and metropolitan regions.

Yesterday, a discussion panel on sharing cities was held at the international conference hosted by CC Korea. The number of sharing-based social corporations and organizations is growing. So stay tuned to learn more about sharing companies!




A Talk with Mayor Kadir Topbaş of Istanbul

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Today, I met with Mayor Kadir Topbaş of Istanbul, who is currently visiting Korea, and discussed exchanges between our two cities, including next year’s event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the friendship between our cities.

At this meeting with Mayor Kadir Topbaş, we also discussed establishing 2015, the 10th anniversary of the friendship between our cities, as the starting year for exchanges and cooperation between Seoul and Istanbul.

With the promise to launch a practical exchange program for the enjoyment of the citizens of both Seoul and Istanbul, I hope that this will be a new turning point for cooperation and exchanges between our two cities. And we will also be holding the “Istanbul in Seoul 2014” event to give Seoul citizens the chance to enjoy the Istanbul culture.

People can enjoy the essence of the culture of Istanbul, Turkey, which was the cradle of ancient civilization, at “Istanbul in Seoul 2014: Starting a New Journey.” The festival will be cohosted by Seoul and Istanbul, and will be held at Theater Yong, National Museum of Korea. It’s free of charge and open to all, from 7:30pm to 9:00pm on the 14th. Come one, come all!




The 1st Seoul Organ Donation Day Ceremony

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At the ceremony for the 1st Seoul Organ Donation Day today, we appointed actors Choi Il-Hwa (second row, left) and Lee Jeong-yong (second row, right), as well as Lee’s sons, Mid-eum and Ma-eum, as honorary ambassadors.

I donated one of my organs a few years ago. Sharing our body with others after death is a lofty act that connects us all, don’t you think?




Ancestral Rites with North Korean Refugees

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Holidays are full of sorrow for those who cannot return to their hometowns.

Along with those North Korean refugees living in Seoul, we held ancestral rites in a joint memorial service and paid our respects to our ancestors in North Korea. As the officiant, I recited a prayer during the ritual and prayed for the unification of the Korean Peninsula.

Next year marks the 70th anniversary of the division. Our sorrow and pain have been going on for too long.




What are these beautiful bojagi?

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What do you think these beautiful bojagi, or wrapping cloths, are for?

Today, the Seoul Metropolitan Government Employees’ Union was launched, and Mr. Lee Hong-gi was inaugurated as its chair. Instead of a fancy inauguration ceremony, a donation event was held. They wrapped various daily necessities in these bojagi and donated them to social welfare facilities to be delivered to needy neighbors, such as the elderly living alone.

If we think a little outside the box, then our society will become a happier place. Would like to pass along my appreciation to the executives and members of the Seoul Metropolitan Government Employee’s Union.




Seoul City Hall Open House

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Looks fun, doesn’t it? Children were especially interested in it.

Two days ago, many of our citizens visited the mayor’s office on the occasion of the Seoul City Hall Open House. So I took them on a tour of my office. Here, the efforts for my dream and vision of making Seoul into a global city are bearing fruit! Yes, even ten hours is a short time, and though they only gave me twenty minutes, we still had a great time!

On this day, the Seoul Metropolitan Government opened up the whole city hall, including the mayor’s office, the new city hall, and the old city hall to every citizen, except for those few places under security maintenance. A while ago, I’d seen an event called “Open House New York,” and I wanted to do it in Seoul too. So through this event, we are opening up places, such as foreign embassies, for our citizens to visit and enjoy!




Urban Agriculture in Seoul

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Last night, we had an overnight discussion, at Dobong Forestville, about urban agriculture in Seoul. Cities with a higher quality of life have more advanced urban agriculture, as you can see from Vancouver and Berlin. In 2012, Seoul also announced its goal to become an “Urban Agriculture Capital City” and made a number of achievements.

Yet, we still have a long way to go. Last night, for over two hours, we discussed a number of issues, including ways to expand vegetable gardens in the city, vegetable gardens on rooftops and schools, compost grounds and rotational farming techniques, food waste disposal, governance, support for urban agricultural organizations, cooperation with the international community, etc.

After all talking about all that, we finally went to bed, and I’ve just woken up.

My body feels a bit heavy, but I feel great and refreshed!




“Aspirin Center”

I went to the Aspirin Center yesterday. Standing where the Northern Branch of Seoul District Court once was, the Aspirin Center is a special business incubation center where 15 start-up companies are preparing to launch “next-generation problem-solving” businesses that aim to resolve pending issues, including problems related to energy and the environment.

After encouraging the workers at the start-up companies there, I attended a policy debate session on the construction of the “Changdong-Sanggye business start-up district”. The goal of the project is to create a large-scale business start-up district in this area, which will soon be a railway transportation hub, and foster the area to become a “knowledge hub” of Asia.

Over 300 people came to participate in today’s policy debate session, including experts in start-up businesses and chairpersons of business incubation centers at universities in the northeastern part of Seoul, such as Kyunghee University and Kwangwoon University. We will continue our discussions to create a new future for Seoul’s Gangbuk area, with a population of 3.2 million, and the nearby areas of Gyeonggi Province!

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“Ordinance and Enforcement Regulations Regarding the Public Housing Supply in Seoul”

The deliberation period regarding Seoul’s public housing supply will be shortened by more than six months.

Also, Seoul Metropolitan Government will establish Basic Plans for the public housing supply every four years, and the supply of guaranteed long-term housing will be legalized. The city government enacted the “Ordinance and Enforcement Rules Regarding the Construction and Supply of Public Housing, Etc.” and made a preliminary announcement of the new legislation on July 31.

Until now, matters related to the public housing supply had only been dealt with in regulations and guidelines. Seoul is the first city in the nation to raise it to the level of an ordinance. In my first term as mayor, we increased the supply of public housing by 80,000 units, and you may remember that I made a promise to supply an additional 80,000 units during my second term. The enactment of this ordinance is the first step toward creating the framework necessary to honor my pledge.

Also, we took note of the fact that the residents of studio apartments are mainly college students and people who have just started their careers. In consideration of this, we have reduced the average number of cars per housing unit from 0.6 (0.5 cars for units under 30m2) to 0.3 (0.25 cars for units under 30m2) for one-room housing units that SH Corporation will purchase.

The ordinance also contains provisions regarding increasing floor areas by 20% for units in urban districts, and in other areas as well, for leases of 10 years or more at the time of construction.

Innovation will continue in Seoul. You can count on us!




“True Power is Service”

“True power is service.” These are the words of Pope Francis. These are also the words of conviction that I do my best to live by.

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