Cultural Activities of Seollal (Korean Lunar New Year) You Can Enjoy in Seoul
This information will introduce the cultural activities that visitors and citizens of Seoul can enjoy during the holiday of Seollal, Korean Lunar New Year’s holiday.
There will be special operations for the visitors who want to make special memories at Hangang River during the holiday. After watching a romantic acoustic guitar performance on board, they can fly kites and experience the “Winter Story Cruise” that deserves to be enjoyed.
When visiting Hangang Park during the Korean New Year’ s holiday, anyone can enjoy the traditional experiences and games for free. In the 11 areas of Hangang Park, visitors can enjoy various traditional games including Yutnori, Neolttwigi, etc.
|Hangang Cruise Ship|
|Play Neolttwigi||Play Tuho|
From January 27th to January 30th, the “2017 Seollal Feast at Unhyeongung Palace” will be held in the Unhyeongung Palace, aiming to greet New Year’s day, Seollal which, is one of the most special holidays for Korean people, and to pray for the well-being of all the citizens throughout the year.
- “2017 Seollal Feast at Unhyeongung Palace “
- ❍ Period: 2017 Jan. 27th (Fri) – Jan. 30th (Mon) (4 days)
- ❍ Time : 11AM – 5PM
- ❍ Place : Around Unhyeongung Palace
- ❍ Main Program
‣ New Year’s performance of gukak, Korean classical music
‣ Write a wish letter for New Year, Make the New Year’s Talisman
‣ Experience traditional folk games such as Yutnori and Jaegichagi play & experience traditional costumes
‣ Share Tteokguk, Korean traditional rice-cake soup
- ❍ Admission: Free admission, separate fee for traditional costume experience
- ❍ Inquiry: Website of Unhyeongung Palace www.unhyeongung.or.kr (02-766-9090)
|▲ Write a Wish Letter for New Year||▲ Write a Wish Letter for New Year|
|▲ Make the New Year’s Talisman||▲ Play Yutnori|
Seoul Aims to Attract 17 Million Foreign Tourists This Year
The number of foreign tourists who visited Seoul in 2016 exceeded 13.5 million. It is the largest ever, increased by 18.8% from the 11.42 million in 2014, and 30.3% from the 10.41 million in 2015. Based on these achievements, the Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to attract 17 million tourists to visit Seoul from abroad in 2017 and, by doing so, secure 606,000 jobs in the related industries.
Seoul, which is a major city visited by 78.7% of the total number of tourists visiting Korea, has set the top five priority projects in 2017: 1) promote the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and attract visitors to Seoul; 2) carry out tailor-made marketing for each target market; 3) derive fair tourism models; 4) strengthen tourism infrastructure to accommodate 20 million tourists; and 5) establish the Seoul Tourism Promotion Foundation.
First, Seoul is leading the boom of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, a huge global event. The host city of Olympic game is Pyeongchang, but the SMG plans to attract tourists visiting Pyeongchang to Seoul by promoting the attractions of Seoul.
Starting from the opening ceremony of the G-1 countdown clock tower at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games held on February 8th, 2017 in Seoul Square, a mini-venue will be installed and winter sports events and related Korean Wave concerts will be promoted. The city also plans to launch a “special tourist pass” (3-day pass, 5-day pass) in October 2017, linking major tourist facilities in Seoul and Pyeongchang, including the National Palace, the N Seoul tower, the Pyeongchang Sheep Ranch and the Olympic Games. During the Winter Olympics, there will also be a 20% discount event for sightseeing pass (currently so called “Discover Seoul Pass”), which allows visitors to Seoul to visit 16 major tourist facilities in Seoul.
Second, the SMG will carry out various tourism marketing activities for major overseas strategic markets and emerging markets. To this end, it will invest a total of 16.2 billion won in overseas tourism marketing including on-line and off-line marketing.
As for Chinese tourists, which account for 46.8% of the tourists visiting Seoul, Seoul will concentrate its promotion on Chinese individual tourists called ‘Sanker’ (59.1% of all Chinese tourists). Seoul will increase the proportion of tourism marketing targeting Chinese individual tourists. In addition, in cooperation with the Japanese travel associations and large travel agencies, Seoul will develop travel products for visiting new tourist attractions such as ‘Seoullo 7017’ and ‘Seoul City Wall’ in order to continuously attract Japanese tourists with high revisitation rate and plans to promote “Fam Tour” products linking Seoul and Pyeongchang. In addition, Seoul will expand the scope of tourism marketing activities to the Middle East, Europe, and America in order to improve the market structure concentrated in China and Japan.
Third, “Seoul International Fair & Sustainable Tourism Forum” was held jointly with UNWTO in September 2016 . As the residential areas become tourist attractions, the city will prevent the “Touristification (tourism plus gentrification)” phenomenon where local residents suffer damage and are forced to leave to other regions, and plans to create a model of fair tourism in Seoul by creating a virtuous circle structure in which the profits from the increase of tourists return to the residents.
In addition, the city will lay the foundation for 20 million-tourist cities. Also, the “Seoul Tourism Promotion Foundation” will be launched. Further, it will strengthen policy efforts such as providing barrier-free tourist information and developing tourism products in order to guarantee the universal right to enjoy tourism experiences for people with less opportunity to have such experiences, like people with disabilities.
Seoul Provides a Record-high Budget for Job Creation
The Seoul Metropolitan Government will contribute a record-high 1 trillion won, the largest amount ever contributed by a municipal government of Seoul, with the goal of creating more than 320,000 jobs.
In order to address job-related problems threatening citizens’ livelihood, such as the youth unemployment rate soaring to 10.3% and the number of unemployed youths exceeding 100,000, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced the “2017 Seoul Comprehensive Job Plan” on Jan. 18th (Wed.). The Plan contains blueprints for expanding jobs specialized by sector as well as resolving the pervasive issue of youth unemployment.
Creation of a total of 323,116 jobs, an increase of 40,000 jobs compared to last year
This year, Seoul Metropolitan Government will provide 124,000 direct jobs and 199,000 indirect support jobs, a total of 323,116 jobs. The city will concentrate its efforts on creating and providing urban jobs, allocating a budget of approximately one trillion won. ‘Direct Jobs’ refers to jobs in which the employee is directly employed by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and its’ related investment agencies, such as New Deal jobs, public employment, assistants for people with disabilities, and others. ‘Indirectly Supported Jobs’ refers to jobs that are indirectly supported by the SMG through employment subsidies, entrepreneurship support, vocational training, job placement, and other supportive measures.
◆ Current State of Job Provision by Sector
|Target||Number of Jobs||Major Project|
|Youths||60,218||· New Deal Job (5,500 jobs)
· Youth Artist (1,780 jobs)
· Physical Education Leader (432 jobs)
· Small-giant Enterprise Recruitment Support
· Start-up Support (2,500 jobs)
· Traditional Market Youth CEO (230 jobs)
|Women||61,268||· Nursery School Assistant Teacher (6,200 jobs)
· Child Care Helper (2,600 jobs)
· Mother and Newborn Care Helper (800 jobs)
· National Daycare Center Childcare Teacher
· Child Traffic Safety Instructor (305 jobs)
|The Middle Aged Adults||38,378||· Social Contribution Job (1,585 jobs)
· Park Green Area Management (1,257 jobs)
· Cultural Asset Conservationist (138 jobs)
|Senior Citizens||62,734||· Social Activity Support Job (55,921 jobs)
· Traffic Order Agent (340 jobs)
· School Sheriff (1,188 jobs)
|Low-income individuals||19,335||· Public Employment (11,000 jobs)
· Self-help Homeless Job (2,065 jobs)
|Individuals with disabilities||5,772||· Producer of Office Supplies (2,710 jobs)
· Public Administration Assistant (1,732 jobs)
|Others||75,411||· Outworn Waterworks Manager (959 jobs)
· 60,000 Rental Housing Construction Workers
· Citizen Lifelong Education Lecturer (783 jobs)
· Firefighting Administration Town Construction Workers
|Total||323,116 jobs created|
“Youth Employment Plus Center” for Providing Comprehensive Youth Employment Services to open in February, 2017
In addition, the “Youth Employment Plus Center”, a facility providing a comprehensive and systematic solution for youth unemployment, will be opened in the center of the city in February.
The “Youth Employment Plus Center” is a control tower that provides comprehensive services related to youth employment and supervises youth employment support organizations, such as Job Cafés, all over Seoul. It serves as a hub for solving youth unemployment issues by managing youth employment support organizations throughout the city, providing comprehensive job information, nurturing professional counselors, offering close employment consultation, operating specialized programs, and providing free rental study rooms. The Youth Employment Plus Center occupies 1,109㎡ (335 pyeong) on the 1st floor of the Seoul Regional Ministry of Employment and Labor building in Janggyo-dong, Jung-gu and is open until 10 pm, 365 days a year.
Expansion of Services Including Job Cafés and Free Suit Rental Services for the Youth
In addition, employment support services, which potentially have a direct impact on young people, are being greatly expanded. First, the ‘Seoul’s Job Café’ will be expanded to 100 locations this year, which is an expansion of the current 41 locations established after the implementation of the first center in May of last year. The ‘Seoul’s Job Café’ will introduce a membership management system and provide close management services covering ‘Employment Diagnosis → Strengthening Abilities→ Matching Support → Employment.’ The ‘Job Wing Service’, which provides free rental services of suits for interviews, will be expanded the number of available service target from 4,000 people last year to 10,000 people this year, and the available age will be extended from 18 years old to a youth in their graduating year of high school.
For more details regarding jobs provided by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and more employment-related information, please contact the Seoul Job Portal (job.seoul.go.kr), the Seoul Jobs Plus Center (1588-9142), and the Youth Employment Plus Center (02-731-9511). The information also can be searched at kiosks in Job cafes.
TECHNO MART GANGBYEON STATION
Techno Mart is a 10-story building that contains all the technology in the world, from second-hand electronics to brand new, state of the art technology. At Techno Mart, you can find anything from computers and games, to offices supplies, home appliances and cameras. There is a movie theater on the 10th floor and a fun arcade where you can play games while you wait. There are restaurants on the 9th floor, and an outdoor garden with a great view. On the first floor, there is a fashion mall where people can come to shop for stylish clothing.
How to get there:
Gangbyeon Station, exit 1 or 2
Traffic Measures Implemented for the Lunar New Year Holiday
The Seoul Metropolitan Government will implement the “Special Traffic Measures for the Lunar New Year holiday” so that citizens can safely and comfortably travel to their hometowns for the Lunar New Year holiday, which is a national holiday. Seoul will expand the operation of public transportation and distribute traffic volume through the urban highway traffic forecasting service. In addition, the city will make every effort to improve communication and safety management in the city.
First of all, Seoul decided to extend the subway and bus operation time by 2 hours from Saturday night, January 28th to Sunday 2am, January 29th, 2017, during which the highest numbers of passengers use the transportation, reflecting the traffic patterns shown during the Lunar New Year holidays for the last three years.
The operation of subway lines No.1 to 9 are being extended until 2am (from existing 12am to 2am) based on the arrival to the terminal station, so passengers should check the operation time in advance because the schedule for the last train would be different according to the station and the destination.
The city bus operation will be also extended to 2am. A total of 133 bus services passing by five train stations, including Seoul Station, Yongsan Station, Yeongdeungpo Station, Cheongnyangni Station and Suseo Station where SRT is open, as well as four bus terminals, including Seoul Express Bus Terminal, Dongseoul Bus Terminal, Nambu Bus Terminal and Sangbong Bus Terminal, will extend their operation. In addition, 70 buses for nine lines of owl buses and 2,400 taxis for late-night transportation will operate throughout the holiday season.
In addition, Seoul has begun special inspection of public transportation facilities to ensure safe operation from January 11th, 2017. During the holiday season, special safety management for areas vulnerable to traffic accidents and traffic and drinking controls at major points in the city center will be implemented as well.
For information on the special traffic measures during the Lunar New Year holidays, such as the times for last services of public transportation, visit Seoul Transport Operation and Information Service (http://topis.seoul.go.kr).
Schedules for Last Subway Trains
◆ Express Bus Terminal Station (Line 3)
○ Bound for Ogeum Station 01:18 am, Suseo Station 01:45 am
○ Bound for Daehwa Station 00:40 am, Gupabal Station 01:26 am, Apgujeong Station 01:54 am
◆ Express Bus Terminal Station (Line 7 Express Bus Terminal Station)
○ Bound for Bupyeong-gu Office Station 01:04 am, Onsu Station 01:33 am, Sinpung Station 01:55 am, Naebang Station 02:16 am
○ Bound for Jangam Station 00:51 am, Dobongsan Station 01:16 am, Konkuk Univ. Station 01:38 am, Cheongdam Station 02:02 am
◆ Express Bus Terminal Station (Line 9 Express Bus Terminal Station)
○ Bound for Gaehwa Station 01:15 am, Dangsan Station 01:35 am
○ Bound for Sports Complex Station 01:33 am, Sinnonhyeon Station 01:53 am
◆ Dongseoul Bus Terminal (Line 2 Gangbyeon Station)
○ Inner Circle Line: Bound for Seongsu Station 00:32 am, Euljiro 1(il) ga Station 00:54 am, Hongik Univ. Station 01:16 am, Seoul Nat’l Univ. Station 01:38 am, Samseong Station 02:00 am
○ Outer Circle Line: Bound for Samseong Station 00:56 am, Sindorim Station 01:18 am, Hongik Univ. Station 01:40 am, Seongsu Station 02:02 am
◆ Nambu Bus Terminal Station (Line 3)
○ Bound for Ogeum Station 01:22 am, Suseo Station 01:49 am
○ Bound for Daehwa Station 00:35 am, Gupabal Station 01:21 am, Apgujeong Station 01:49 am
◆ Sangbong Bus Terminal (Line 7 Sangbong Station)
○ Bound for Bupyeong-gu Office Station 00:38 am, Onsu Station 01:07 am, Sinpung Station 01:29 am, Naebang Station 01:50 am
○ Bound for Jangam Station 01:17 am, Dobongsan Station 01:42 am
◆ Seoul Station (Line 1)
○ Bound for Seodongtan Station 10:59 pm, Byeongjeom Station 11:36 pm, Incheon Station 00:27 am
○ Bound for Soyosan Station 00:09 am, Kwangwoon Univ. Station 00:50 am, Dongmyo Station 01:48 am
◆ Seoul Station (Line 4)
○ Bound for Oido Station 11:44 pm, Ansan Station 11:22 pm, Geumjeong Station 00:37 am, Sadang Station 01:44 am
○ Bound for Danggogae Station 01:23 am, Hansung Univ. Station 01:46 am
◆ Cheongnyangni Station (Line 1, National Railroad)
○ Bound for Seodongtan Station 10:41 pm, Byeongjeom Station 11:18 pm, Incheon Station 00:09 am, Seoul Station 01:42 am
○ Bound for Soyosan Station 00:27 am, Kwangwoon Univ. Station 01:09 am
◆ Suseo Station (Line 3)
○ Bound for Daehwa Station 00:19 am, Gupabal Station 01:05 am, Apgujeong Station 01:33 am
○ Bound for Ogeum Station 01:39 am
◆ Gimpo Int’l Airport Station (Line 9)
○ Bound for Gaehwa 02:00 am
○ Bound for Sports Complex Station 00:49 am, Sinnonhyeon 01:09 am, Saetgang 01:29 am, Gayang 01:49am
◆ Gimpo Int’l Airport Station (Line 5)
○ Bound for Banghwa Station 02:02 am
○ Bound for Macheon Station 00:24 am, Sangildong Station 00:46 am, Gunja Station 01:07 am, Aeogae Station 01:33 am
All School Restrooms in Seoul to be Improved by 2020
After the project during 2014~2016 by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education to improve the state of 440 restrooms across elementary, middle and high schools, which had poor standards of cleanliness, the student satisfaction regarding the school restrooms reached 97%, which is remarkably high. It means the satisfaction regarding what used to be the most unpleasant and unsatisfying space, the school restrooms, changed drastically among more than six of ten students.
The School Restroom Improvement Project is conducted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education. By 2017, a total of 106.2 billion KRW will be put into the project by the two organizations along with several autonomous districts and private companies. In particular, after installing teeth brushing sinks where many students can brush their teeth at once in 101 schools last year for the first time, the rate of teeth brushing, which was almost the lowest in the nation, nearly doubled (36.6% to 60.1%) compared to the previous year.
Based on this accomplishment, the Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to complete the first step of the three-year project to ensure all students’ sound rights for learning by thoroughly improving dirty and inconvenient school restrooms by 2020.
The Image of Gildong Elementary School’s Restroom (before (left)/after (right) the improvement)
It plans to focus on the improvement of restrooms aiming to accomplish the “Zero inconvenient school restrooms” in 2017. First of all, it will make 245 schools across elementary, middle and high schools whose portion of western toilets is less than 60% equip western-style toilets, meaning the portion of western-style toilets will reach over 80%. It aims to remove the inconvenience caused by oriental style toilets, which is because many students are much more accustomed to using western-style toilets than oriental ones.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government also plans to improve the 82 school restrooms where over 15 students have to use a toilet on average so that the students there will not need to wait to use their school toilets. The data from the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education in 2010 says the proper student number per toilet should be 11. However, as many as 39 students have to use a toilet in some schools, which is really serious. In addition, based on the results of complete enumeration survey until late February about how many schools have more students than toilets, a customized improvement plan will be conducted.
Specifically, after installing teeth brushing sinks where many students can brush their teeth at once in 101 schools last year for the first time, the rate of teeth brushing, which was almost the lowest in the nation, nearly doubled (36.6% to 60.1%) compared to that of the previous year. In contrast, the rate of students who don’t brush their teeth drastically decreased from 63.4% to 39.9%.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government planned to improve the restrooms of 675 schools, a half of the 1,300 elementary, middle and high schools in Seoul, during the first step of the school restroom improvement project (from 2015 to 2017, and the pilot project which occurred in 2014). However, it increased the target number of schools and will complete the improvement of 800 schools’ restrooms.
Through the second step of the project from 2018 to 2020, it plans to investigate the demands for restrooms from students and parents, and to collect opinions from the related agencies, therefore it will completely improve all the old and unclean school restrooms in Seoul.
School authorities reported that school violence decreased and user satisfaction increased throughout the previous three-year school restroom improvement project with the start of the pilot project in 2014.
I·SEOUL·U Friends 2nd Recruitment
I·SEOUL·U Friends is a group that promotes the I·SEOUL·U brand, which was created by Seoul citizens. They devise and execute ideas for various projects for the city of Seoul, which should be relevant, relatable and beneficial to its citizens.
Just like last year, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is again recruiting ‘I•SEOUL•U Friends and encourage everyone interested to participate.
- □ Recruitment Targets : Recruitment Targets ※ No limitations on nationality, age, or gender
- □ Recruitment Period : February 2nd, 2017 (Thu) – February 16th, 2017(Thu)
- □ Activity Period : March 2nd, 2017 (Thu) – December, 2017 ※ Activities will be held once a week during the intensive activity period (March – September) and once every two weeks from July to August.
- □ Recruitment Number : 100 people ※ About 20-30 people by sector
- □ Recruitment Method :
- ○ Submit the application form to the E-mail “firstname.lastname@example.org” after filling it out.
- □ Recruitment Sector : Choose one of the following four fields ※ Refers to the content about the 1st ‘I•SEOUL•U Friends’ activity in the attachment file
- ○ Planning Team for Citizen Participation Campaign
– Plan and execute citizen participation campaigns aiming to promote the Seoul brand
- ○ (New) Supporters for City Administration
– Plan and execute the promotion aiming to help Seoul citizens relate to the city administration
- ○ Production Team for Seoul Brand Content
– Produce and expand content using the Seoul brand such as videos, card news, design projects, and others to promote Seoul
- ○ (New) Global Supporters ※ Only foreigners can apply
– Plan promotions and events about the city’s administration and Seoul brand using global online communities and SNS
– Reconstruct and spread the videos, newsletters and designs created by I·SEOUL·U Friends to expansive areas in each language (English, Chinese, Japanese, etc.)
- ○ Planning Team for Citizen Participation Campaign
- □ Incentives : The team displaying the highest level of excellence will be awarded a certificate of award and the participants will receive the Activity Certificate plus be granted volunteer working hours, etc.
- □ Result announcement : February 28th, 2017 (Tue)
- ○ Announcement will be made on the Seoul Metropolitan Government website along with the Seoul Brand website, Individual text messages will be sent
- □ Inquiries : City Branding Division (☎2133-6189, email@example.com)
Activities of 1st I·SEOUL·U Friends
□ Planning Team for Citizen Participation Campaign
|Promotion of Seoul Trails||Hidden Camera Event for Good Deeds||Hand Painting by Citizens’ Participation||Event for Encouraging Subway Engineers|
□ Discovery & Publicity Team for the Beauty of Seoul
|Production of Seoul Guidebook||Event to Experience Seosulla-gil||Event to Rent bean Bags in Hangang Park||Translation & Production of Multilingual Guidebook About Seoul Attractions|
□ Promotion Team for the Seoul Brand
|Promotion Team for the Seoul Brand||Writing Messages Arousing Sympathy on Cup holders||Designing Streetlights in Crime-Ridden Districts|
□ Production Team for Seoul Brand Contents
|Designing I•SEOUL•U Friends Outdoor Uniform||Establishment and Operation of I•SEOUL•U Friends Facebook||Production of Coloring Postcards Featuring Images of Seoul Attractions||Designing Handkerchiefs as Gifts|
“Parenthesis Lights” Shining at Hangang Park
At night, a two meter-height parenthesis shaped lights shine at both ends of the crosswalk on the Bicycle Path of Banpo IC, Hangang Park. When pedestrians cross the street at a crosswalk and suddenly a bike approaches, the light automatically turns on and makes an alarming sound to ensure the security of the pedestrians. The “Comma light,” shaped like a comma and installed 50 meters and 20 meters before a crosswalk, also flickers when pedestrians cross the street at a crosswalk and warns bikes to reduce their speed in advance.
Through the public project, “Design Governance,” by which citizens discover social problems for themselves and solve the problem through design, the Seoul Metropolitan Government could obtain decent design results related to the five areas of welfare, economy, security, environment & sanitation as well as health. As many as eighty citizens and ten experts participated in it.
The specific projects of the five areas are as follows:
① Welfare area: service design to solve the clothing problems of children with cerebral palsy
② Economy area: communication design to settle conflicts between neighbors
③ Security area: design to campaign for safe bike riding in Hangang Park at night
④ Environment & sanitation area: culture design to create an enjoyable and clean Hangang Park
⑤ Health area: service design to prevent second-hand smoking
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has always and will continuously collect citizens’ suggestions through its website, and this year it plans to select themes and conduct related projects on three occasions.
Energy Generated by Citizens
[Seoul’s solar power plants]
- A trip through downtown Seoul powered by solar energy!
- *Solar-powered bus stops, wired/wireless solar chargers, solar-powered garbage cans that compress trash, solar power generators at roadside shops
- Energy-independent Seoul! Building a “solar city”
- *Installation of solar panels on the rooftops of public buildings
- Solar power generators created in cooperation with local residents
- *Solar panel on the rooftop of Dobong Culture & Information Library
- *Mini solar power generator installed on an apartment veranda
- Generating solar energy at home and at school
- *Solar power generators installed on the rooftops of 304 public schools in Seoul
- *Support provided to cover cost of installation of solar power generators at multi-unit dwellings
The metropolis of Seoul accounts for one-tenth of Korea’s total energy consumption. However, the city’s electricity self-sufficiency rate is a mere five percent. How can this supply-demand imbalance be addressed in a metropolis that has no room for the installation of a massive power plant? How can such a city produce more electricity and increase its electricity self-sufficiency rate? Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has found the answer to both these questions in solar energy.
A trip through downtown Seoul powered by solar energy!
Imagine what it would be like if we could use solar energy to charge our mobile phones, process garbage, and even repair shoes. All of these things are now a reality in Seoul.
|Solar-powered bus stop||Wired/wireless solar charger for mobile phones|
The bus stop in front of the Sejong Center in Gwanghwamun may look no different from an ordinary bus stop, but closer inspection reveals that the roof is equipped with a solar power generator.
The electricity produced by this generator is used to power the bus stop monitoring system and information terminal that shows bus arrival times. It can also be used to charge mobile phones. The mobile phone charger is located between the bus stop’s two benches, allowing citizens to watch videos or listen to music while they wait without worrying about battery life. The mobile phone charger is particularly useful to the many foreign tourists that visit the Gwanghwamun area. Charging their mobile phones at this bus stop ensures that they are always able to check the bus routes and find major tourist attractions nearby.
Also powered by solar energy are new garbage cans that feature an internal compressor mechanism which compresses the trash in the can when it reaches a certain point. As a result, these garbage cans can hold six to eight times more trash than regular garbage cans.
In addition, roadside shops throughout Seoul have been equipped with solar power generators, allowing them to save approximately 10 percent in electricity costs.
Energy-independent Seoul! Building a “solar city”
Solar power generators can now be found all throughout Seoul—and it all began with SMG’s creation of the Seoul Sustainable Energy Action Plan. With the goal of becoming energy-independent, the city is transforming itself into a “solar city” through the citywide use of solar batteries and installation of solar power generators.
This effort to build a “solar city” started with the use of unoccupied spaces (e.g. rooftops of public buildings). Solar panels were installed on the rooftops of various types of public buildings, including district offices, Mokdong Stadium, The University of Seoul, and Arisu Water Purification Centers. Between 2006 and June 2016, 659 solar power generation facilities were installed on top of public buildings. In 2015 alone, such facilities were installed in 138 locations, featuring a total capacity of 5,302 kilowatts.
|Solar panels at the Gangbuk Arisu Water Purification Centery||Solar panels installed on the walls of Dobong Office|
Since July 2014, the Gangbuk Arisu Water Purification Center has been operating the largest solar power generation facility in Seoul. The 18,720 solar modules of the facility span an area of approximately 96,000 square meters—13 times larger than the average soccer stadium. The Gangbuk Center produces an annual average of 6,500 megawatt-hours of electricity, enough to power 2,180 four-person households for one year.
Solar power generators created in cooperation with local residents
Seoul residents are actively participating in the effort to make Seoul an energy-independent city. For example, the residents of some districts have installed solar panels themselves. The best example of this is the solar panel on the rooftop of Dobong Culture & Information Library. The residents of Dobong-gu established the Dobong Citizens’ Solar Generator Social Cooperative and worked together to raise enough funds to build a 20-kilowatt solar panel. This is incredibly meaningful, as it is the first solar power generator in Korea installed using private funds. In addition, the coop’s proceeds are used to support the welfare of socially vulnerable groups (e.g. energy poor).
With interest in solar power growing among local residents, more and more solar power generators are being installed at private homes, such as on rooftops and over or above windows, where they produce electricity for the household. Starting with three households in 2004, the number of households with their own solar power generator has increased to 5,745 over 13 years, as of June 2016.
In particular, the number of solar-powered homes has increased to 4,563 since SMG launched the One Less Nuclear Power Plant project in 2012, and remains on the rise.
|Solar panel installed on the rooftop of Dobong Culture & Information Library||Mini solar power generator on the veranda of an apartment|
To further increase the number of solar power generators, Seoul launched the trial operation of mini solar power generators (small enough to be installed on an apartment veranda) in 2013. Prior to that, solar power generators (panels) could only be installed on the rooftops of single-household homes, as they required a substantial amount of space. Furthermore, as solar panels cannot be moved after installation, it was impossible to install them on apartment buildings. The mini solar power generator, however, overcomes these disadvantages; its small size and simplicity allows it to be easily installed on the veranda of an apartment. Depending on the amount of electricity used by the household, the mini solar power generator reduces electricity bills by KRW 60,000 to 210,000 annually. As of June 2016, they have been installed by 7,176 households.
Generating solar energy at home and at school
With their wide rooftops, schools are one of the best places to install solar power generators. So far, solar panels have been installed at 304 schools in Seoul.
If there were solar panels on the rooftops of all 1,400 public schools in Seoul, they would generate a total of 134 megawatts of electricity annually. Another step the city is taking is to offer funding to encourage the installation of mini solar panels in the communal areas of apartments and other types of multi-unit dwellings.
|Solar panel at Samgaksan High School||Solar panel on the rooftop of a school building|
The buildings that are eligible to receive such support are multi-unit dwellings in Seoul that use an average of 400 kilowatt-hours of electricity or less per household. The larger the amount of electricity used, the shorter the payback period. Also, as the city provides KRW 500,000 per kilowatt to cover installation fees, anyone who wishes to install a mini solar power generator can do so at virtually no initial cost.
In addition, those who donate their remaining funds to the Asia Climate Change Fund or the Korean government’s solar energy rental project will receive a full refund for any out-of-pocket expenses. Through such funding measures, 880 apartments in Dongjak-gu installed 102.6-kilowatt mini solar power generators in their elevators and hallways in July 2015 alone.
Thanks to its mini solar power generator, the apartment featured in this photo reduced its annual communal electricity costs by KRW 530,000. By 2023, it is expected to reduce its electricity costs by KRW 3.28 million per month.
|Solar panels on the roof of an apartment building||Seoul wins Green Energy award at 2014 City Climate Leadership Awards|
On September 22, 2014, at New York’s Manhattan Center, Seoul’s diverse efforts to become an energy-independent city were official recognized. At the 2014 City Climate Leadership Awards, co-hosted by Siemens and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Seoul was honored with the Green Energy award in recognition of its remarkable efforts to promote the use of solar energy. Seoul’s goal for the future is the simultaneous achievement of energy reduction and energy production. To achieve this goal, the city will continue to expand its support for the installation of solar panels in small, unused spaces throughout the city and engage in further efforts to establish itself as a leading energy-independent city in the international community.
Future generations actively take part in climate change response
[Promise of Seoul]
- Seoul Metropolitan Government reduces greenhouse gases through its program “One Less Nuclear Power Plant”
- Seoul’s promise for responding to climate change
- *Seoul’s 11 promises
- *Seoul Metropolitan Government conducts adaptation training on climate change
- Keeping the “Promise of Seoul” together
- Mayor Park Won Soon shares Seoul’s climate change accomplishments in Paris with global community
The earth is growing hotter at a faster pace than ever before. In recent years, due to natural disasters caused by unusual weather phenomena (e.g. intense heat, flooding, drought, etc.), countless lives have been lost, and extensive property damage has occurred. Unusual weather phenomena are caused mainly by human-caused climate change. The most effective way to curb climate change is to reduce greenhouse gases, one of the main causes of global warming. Since relaxation policies alone are an inadequate response to climate change, politicians and citizens alike are now focusing their efforts on reducing the effects of climate change and discussing ways to turn environmental friendliness into an opportunity for people across the world.
Seoul Metropolitan Government reduces greenhouse gases through its program “One Less Nuclear Power Plant”
Overcoming climate change is a huge undertaking that must be tackled at a national level, but when it comes to actual execution in everyday life, the role of cities is critical. Major cities all over the world are responding to climate change by emphasizing the importance of creating low-carbon cities in which development-based policies are abandoned in favor of environmental values and energy conservation. Likewise, through its “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” policy, Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) is focusing on reducing the volume of greenhouse gases the city produces—becoming a real-life example of the potential of sustainable urban development.
|One Less Nuclear Power Plant||10 Major Projects of the “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” Policy|
Seoul’s “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” began as a way to compensate for regions with low energy self-sufficiency rates and to protect the environment amidst ever-increasing levels of energy consumption. It is a citywide energy policy that seeks to engage in energy conservation efforts together with Seoul residents and expand the use of eco-friendly energy sources (e.g. solar power) to create the same amount of energy produced by a single nuclear power plant. Seoul’s energy policy, which aims to produce and conserve clean energy to enhance energy efficiency, ultimately aspires to benefit Seoul residents as well as residents of other areas through energy sharing. The policy is lauded as one in which energy “saves citizens and is saved by them.”
Seoul’s promise for responding to climate change
The ICLEI World Congress was held in April 2015 after the city of Seoul had already launched its policies aimed at addressing environmental changes. At the congress, representatives from Seoul urged those from other major cities around the world to join in efforts to respond to climate change. A presentation was made on “Seoul’s promise of response to climate change” to share with the global community Seoul’s vision of climate change response and the strong desire of its citizens to make the city’s vision a reality.
|“Promise of Seoul” launching ceremony||Parade with mayors of global cities|
The citizens of Seoul have been heavily involved in the “Promise of Seoul” even from the program’s beginning stages. The Citizens’ Green Seoul Committee (Seoul’s most representative governing body composed of civic groups, industry experts, and bureaucrats), the Citizens’ Committee for One Less Nuclear Power Plant, and the Promise of Seoul Execution Committee banded together to highlight the importance of writing up a vision and action plan for reducing greenhouse gases for a more concrete implementation of the program. A write-up committee was subsequently created, composed of members from each of the aforementioned committees and experts from The Seoul Institute, who represent a variety of fields and have extensive experience conducting research related to the major policies of Seoul.
Furthermore, in order to ensure that the program was effectually implemented, the government established an administrative body responsible for each of the city’s “11 Promises” (see Seoul’s 11 promises). Seoul citizens have been involved in each planning and implementation stage of the policy by regularly reporting the progress of each stage and collecting public opinions online and offline to be later included in official reports. Opinions and feedback about the program were collected through the SMG website and major portal sites. These same platforms were also used by civic groups and schools to make suggestions for the official Promises to be kept by the city in terms of energy conservation and make pledges for the reduction of greenhouse gases.
Seoul’s 11 promises
SMG, along with the citizens and companies of Seoul, has pledged to keep the following 11 promises as part of its response to climate change.
1. Reduce Seoul greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by 2030 for the realization of a low-carbon, energy-efficient city.
2. Achieve energy welfare by sharing energy with socially vulnerable groups, who are also the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
3. Engage in comprehensive management of the causes of greenhouse gases and air pollution to transform Seoul into a model city in terms of climate change response.
4. Establish Seoul as a city that is highly resistant to climate change.
5. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasingly reusing, reducing, and recycling food waste.
6. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing water waste and collecting/utilizing rainwater.
7. Create “ecological cities” in which a wide variety of life forms coexist in increased adaptability to climate change.
8. Revitalize urban farming through a more collective lifestyle.
9. Create a healthier city by adopting preventative measures to minimize health risks (e.g. risks of heat strokes, infectious diseases, etc.) and increasing the city’s climate capabilities for climate change response.
10. Create a safer city by enhancing the city’s ability to prevent and respond to natural disasters.
11. Take a leading role in domestic/international cooperative efforts and establish an execution system for response to climate change.
|Seoul hosts the “Ten Thousand-Member Meeting for Response to Climate Change”||Ten Thousand-Member Meeting: Seoul’s promise for response to climate change|
The most decisive factor in whether or not the city as a whole will be able to keep its 11 promises is how well Seoul citizens themselves will be able to carry out the city’s promises in their everyday lives. Early education is particularly instrumental in enabling Seoul citizens to timely and effectively respond to climate change with minimal effort. SMG is now providing education on climate change measures in public schools. These climate education programs focus on measures needed to adapt to climate change and emphasize the magnitude of climate change that results from global warming.
Those interested in receiving climate education (elementary, middle, or high schools, and groups of 20 or more) should apply at the Environmental Affairs Bureau at the nearest district office. An instructor who is able to best meet the needs of the particular group will be sent to conduct classes onsite. Climate education includes an introduction to the latest issues related to climate change (e.g. outcomes of the COP21’s Paris Agreement), causes of and responses to climate change, response measures for abnormal weather caused by climate change, and ways to reduce carbon dioxide levels in daily life.
In order to provide additional training and hands-on experiences related to climate change, beginning from earlier this year, SMG has been operating a PR/experience booth on climate change and an affiliated hands-on educational program at the Seoul Energy Dream Center.
Keeping the “Promise of Seoul” together
The “Promise of Seoul” is more than just words on a paper. Realizing the need for the same civic groups that participated in the write-up of the promises to take a leading role in their implementation, the Seoul city government established the “Promise of Seoul Citizen Action Committee” for the launch of the “1 ton LESS of carbon dioxide per person” program. Through this and other efforts, over 8,000 individuals from 25 districts, citizen action groups, SMG, and the Citizens’ Green Seoul Committee are participating in efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and create a Green Seoul environment led by the citizens of Seoul.
The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education is working particularly hard to increase participation by students—the leaders of the future—in climate change programs. Various environmental education programs are also being conducted (e.g. programs that focus on the prevention of global warming), which has led to increased brainstorming of energy conservation measures that can be implemented in everyday life. A total of 1,064 individuals from 1,299 schools are currently participating in educational programs provided by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.
However, more efforts are needed in order for Seoul citizens to completely adopt the “Promises of Seoul” on a daily basis. Many have already expressed concerns that Seoul’s goals for climate change response cannot be achieved solely through the efforts of SMG alone.
|Climate change adaptation training
(Kuryong Elementary School)
|Seoul Energy Dream Center|
Mayor Park Won Soon shares Seoul’s climate change accomplishments in Paris with the global community
SMG’s efforts for climate change response were particularly evident at the “Action Day” event hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015. At the event, Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon gave a presentation on the changes resulting from Seoul’s climate change policies and shared the city’s expertise on the creation and execution of such policies. The presentation emphasized that Seoul companies and over 1.17 million citizens were actively participating in policies and that these efforts had already resulted in a reduction of 2 million TOE six months prior to the city’s goal (December 2004) for said reduction. The presentation also introduced the “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” policy as a success case that led to a 5.63 million ton reduction of greenhouse gases and introduced other citizen-participatory climate policy visions and accomplishments. A major event in which cities, companies, and civic groups share exemplary responses to climate change, Action Day was participated in by over 1,300 individuals in 2015, including Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, Michael Bloomberg.
Mayor Park Won Soon also participated in the ICLEI’s first “General Assembly of Leading Global Cities for Sustainable Public Purchasing,” an event at which the city of Seoul was elected as the network’s chair city. Seoul will continue to serve as the chair city until December 2017.
The successful execution of the many plans and programs of the “Promise of Seoul” for the reduction of greenhouse gases depends heavily on the participation of Seoul citizens and private corporations. Even as it continues to encourage citizen participation, SMG is also focusing on building cooperative relationships with each of its 25 districts as well as with the Gyeonggi-do, Incheon Metropolitan, and federal governments. Together with these governing bodies and the citizens of Seoul, SMG continues to forge a cooperative network between various cities in Northeast Asia and the global community to promote a cleaner, brighter future.