Overview of “Changes in Seoul Life in 2016”


In response to various economic difficulties faced by Seoul citizens, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will be offering public welfare benefits and programs in the year 2016 targeting certain demographics. For older residents on the verge of retirement, the city will be running the “50+ Campus” program, which will provide connections to job opportunities, mentoring opportunities, education/counseling programs and culture/health programs. The “50+ Campus” program will kick off in Seoul’s northwestern districts in April and expand to downtown districts in September. Through the program, citizens in their mid-50s will be provided with free mental health check-ups and consultations. The program marks the first time such services have been offered in Korea free of charge.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government will also be offering support services to single mothers through a newly-established advice hotline operated as part of the 120 Dasan Call Center. The hotline will provide one-stop services for mothers—from initial consultations to problem resolution provided by certified labor consultants. Also for mothers is the “Seoul Baby Health Care” program, a program in which trained professional nurses visit the homes of newborns to provide mother-baby health check-ups as well as childcare and breastfeeding information. In 2016, the program will be expanded to cover 18 districts.

For building owners, the government will be operating the “Seoul Long-Term Safe Shopping Arcade” program, which will offer up to KRW 30 million in remodeling fees for building owners who provide long-term rental space to small business owners, the backbone of Seoul’s economy. This program is aimed at encouraging small businesses by providing space without excessive rent increases.

In May, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will also begin a new housing support program in which the government purchases worn-out gosiwons and motel buildings and renovates them into residential spaces for single-person households. These renovated buildings will be made available at rent prices that are at least 50 percent cheaper than the going rate.

To address the city’s lack of parking, the government will be constructing eight public parking garages, which will go into operation sometime in 2016. These parking garages will be designed specifically with the convenience of Seoul citizens in mind.

In order to address these and other key issues, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will be making changes related to 45 programs in five main areas. Changes include both the addition of new policies/programs as well as changes that will go into effect in 2016 due to legal amendments made by the city and/or national governments. The Seoul Metropolitan Government will provide details regarding these changes in the form of an online booklet titled “Changes in Seoul Life in 2016.”

Seoul Metro to Enhance Manila’s Subway System Based on Its 42 Years of Expertise


Seoul Metro, the company that operates Seoul’s Subway Lines 1 through 4, announced that it had won a bid and signed a contract for an operation and maintenance consulting project for Manila’s Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), a project worth KRW 1.3 billion. The bid was placed by the Department of Transportation and Communications of the Philippines.

Seoul Metro is now tasked with increasing the efficiency of the operation and maintenance of the MRT-3 Line, which was opened in 1999 and designed to run at a maximum speed of 60 kilometers per hour. However, due to maintenance difficulties, it currently runs below 40 kilometers per hour. Therefore, The Philippines’ Department of Transportation and Communications launched this project to enhance the operational speed of the subway line by learning more advanced ways to operate and maintain the system. Another part of this project involves the manufacturing of new subway cars for the MRT-3 Line, and Seoul Metro will be responsible for supervising the manufacturing process.

Since first entering the overseas urban railway market in 2008, Seoul Metro has won bids for a seven-year project to design the tracks for Ho Chi Minh City’s Metro Line 1 in Vietnam and a project to improve the signals for the subway system in Bangladesh. Currently, the company is preparing to participate in the construction of Ho Chi Minh City Metro Line 5 and the airport railway project in Vietnam, allowing it to establish a solid foothold in the Southeast Asian urban railway market.

Fine particle forecast to include 3-day forecast from January 1


The Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced that it will be operating a 3-day forecast for fine (dust) particles beginning January 1. Originally introduced as a 2-day forecast (today’s Forecast + Tomorrow’s forecast) in 2005, the fine dust particle forecast aims at protecting the respiratory health of Seoul citizens.

The fine particle forecast is based on a four-part scale: “Good,” “Moderate,” “Unhealthy,” and “Very Unhealthy.” “Today’s forecast” is provided each day at 05:00 and 11:00, while “tomorrow’s forecast” is provided daily at 17:00 and 23:00. The “3-day Forecast,” which will predict the amount of fine particles in the air two days in advance, will be published on the Seoul Air Quality Information website every day at 17:00 and 23:00.

▶ Seoul Air Quality Information

IoT system for fire prevention and emergency services introduced in Bukchon


Is it possible for a house to detect a fire and call 119 by itself? It is in Seoul’s Bukchon district. Created through the cooperation of Seoul Metropolitan Government and private startup Merlin, the “119 Text Message Reporting Service” was launched on December 28 with the installation of an IoT-based fire prevention and emergency services system in eight businesses in Bukchon Hanok Village. This is the first publically provided IoT service in Korea. The eight buildings that have been equipped with the new IoT service are: five guesthouses (Arirang House, Manhoedang, Hueahn, Bukchon Maru, and Doo Guesthouse), one restaurant (Rossini), one financial organization (MG Community Credit Cooperatives), and one miscellaneous facility (Hanok Homestay Information Center).

This service involves the installation of beacons (close-range wireless communication devices) equipped with sensors that are capable of detecting and recording five types of environmental data (temperature, humidity, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and dust) in each building. Featuring real-time detection of indoor environmental conditions and big data analysis, the system automatically sends a text message to 119 (Korea’s emergency response services) if the indoor temperature reaches or exceeds 70 degrees Celsius (the temperature at which fire detectors are activated).

Including the functionality of existing technology, which consists of a smart sensor that detects temperature and humidity changes and the presence of smoke and activates an alarm in the event of a fire, this more sophisticated IoT service is also capable of contacting 119 on its own.

The emergency text message includes the building’s address, contact information of the building’s legal owner, and the indoor temperature detected, which is expected to make it possible for help to arrive more quickly. The owners of the eight buildings equipped with the IoT service will receive text messages twice a day (at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.) that include real-time information on the in-door environmental conditions of their buildings. If any of the detected environmental variables (temperature, dust, etc.) exceed the standard level, building owners will immediately receive a warning via text message. Environmental information can also be monitored in real-time using a mobile phone application.

Seoul Metropolitan Fire & Disaster Headquarters (director: Kwon Sunkyung) announced that through the introduction of this system, the first IoT-based automatic fire reporting service in Korea, it hopes to prevent any delays in reports of fires, such as when no one is in the buildings or the fires go unnoticed by the people who are there, thereby minimizing any losses of human life and property damage.

This service is part of the “Bukchon IoT Test Program” that Seoul Metropolitan Government is conducting in cooperation with several private companies. This program also includes services that apply IoT technology to address civil complaints filed by Bukchon residents due to increased instances of noise pollution, illegal parking, illegal garbage disposal, and infringement of privacy caused by the increase in the number of visitors to the area. As all preparations for these new services have now been completed, the program is expected to be launched in early 2016. If it is deemed widely applicable, based on the results of an analysis of its utilization by residents and tourists, the program will be turned in to a brand and introduced in other districts of Seoul.

Seoul provides blanket washing service for 2,197 residents in need

In 2015, Seoul Metropolitan City collected and washed the blankets of 2,197 residents (1,600 people with severe disabilities and 597 senior citizens who live alone) in an effort to ensure that residents who have difficulty moving can still have freshly laundered blankets. In total, the city washed a total of 6,033 blankets, averaging two to three blankets per household.

Called “Blanket Washing on Wheels,” this program was launched by Seoul Metropolitan Government for the purpose of improving the sanitation of the living conditions of people with severe disabilities and senior citizens living alone in Seoul. Under the program, trucks equipped with washing and drying machines are sent to welfare centers for people with disabilities, rental apartments, elderly home care facilities, and social welfare centers that require laundry services, where they collect and launder large items that need washing (e.g. blankets).

The trucks for the Blanket Washing on Wheels program are operated by the Seoul Nambu Welfare Center for the Disabled, the organization responsible for carrying out the program. With the help of volunteers, blankets are collected from the homes of senior citizens and people with disabilities, after which they are washed, dried, and returned to their owners.

In 2015, the city’s blanket washing service was used the most by welfare centers for people with disabilities, making up 46.5 percent (1,022) of all users, followed by residents of rental apartments at 27.5 percent (604), members of social welfare centers at 12.7 percent (278), residents of housing facilities for people with disabilities at 6.1 percent (133), members of senior welfare centers at 5.5 percent (120), and members of community service centers at 1.8 percent (40). (Total of 2,197 residents)

Truck and washers and dryers of Seoul’s Blanket Washing on Wheels program


Seoul to share water analysis technology with Mongolia


On December 23, 2015, Seoul Metropolitan Government signed an agreement with Mongolia International University to share its water quality analysis technology with the goal of allowing Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city, to improve the quality of its drinking water.

The Seoul Water Institute (former Seoul Waterworks Research Institute) signed an MOU with Mongolia International University in 2010 regarding the sharing of its water quality analysis technology and research cooperation, based upon which it has consistently worked closely with the university in the area of water quality analysis. The recently signed agreement, however, is a supplemented version of the MOU signed in 2010 that includes new sections on issues such as intellectual property rights.

The content of the new agreement includes: exchanges of technical personnel; short-term visits of related personnel; cooperation on joint projects and meetings (training, research programs, workshops, etc.); sharing of personnel, technical data, and other information related to water quality analysis and the related research program, which has been designed to improve the water quality, sanitary conditions, and quality of life in Mongolia.

Through this agreement, the city of Ulaanbaatar, which is encountering major challenges in improving its waterworks system and water quality management, will gain access to water quality analysis and water supply processing technologies to help it improve the quality of its drinking water. Technological support will be provided on a consistent basis through cooperation with Mongolia International University.

Seoul Metropolitan Government Supports “Long-term Stable Housing” by Providing 30% of Lease Deposits for 500 Housing Units


The Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced plans to continue to provide monetary support for lease deposits by granting interest-free loans for 500 units of long-term stable housing. After the initial 500, the city will expand its support to cover a total of 1,500 housing units in 2016. Under the new plan, which aims to reduce high residential costs for citizens without their own home, lessees will be provided 30% of their housing deposit by the government.

Thirty percent of the 500 units will be reserved for applicants from certain demographics— 20% of the 500 units will be reserved for newlyweds to encourage childbirth, and 10% will be reserved for households of three or more minors (including those still in utero at the time of application).

For eligible households, monetary support will be provided in the form of an interest-free loan equivalent to 30% of the leasing deposit up to KRW 45 million, for up to six years. Since its establishment in 2012, the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s “Long-term Stable Housing Program” has supported 5,100 houses (as of December 16, 2015). The program is run in cooperation with house owners, lessees, and the SH Corporation.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government hopes that the first 500 units of support will help lessees more easily find housing in the spring, during the peak moving season. The timing and scale of the next 500 units of support will be announced by the Seoul Metropolitan Government once market trends and rental price fluctuations have been fully analyzed.

Lease on a deposit basis Monthly rent with a security deposit
Eligible houses Housing area Less than 60 square meters
(households with four or more members: less than 85 square meters)
Security deposit Deposit of less than
KRW 220 million

(Households with four or more members: less than KRW 330 million)
① The sum of base deposit and deposit converted from lease on deposit basis
of less than KRW 220 million,
② Monthly rent of less than KRW 500,000
(Sum of deposits for a household with four or more members: less than KRW 330 million)
Support amount 30% of deposit
(up to KRW 45 million)
30% of base deposit
(up to KRW 45 million)
※ 50% of deposit will be provided if deposit is less than KRW 60 million

※ Deposit converted from lease on a deposit basis = Monthly rent x 12/rate of conversion into monthly rent (6%) [Article 7-2, Housing Leasing Protection Act]

Eligible houses include both those leased under the “lease on a deposit basis”, and a “monthly rent with a security deposit”. The deposit for lease (“security money for lease on a deposit basis” or “the sum of the base deposit for lease and deposit converted from lease on a deposit basis”) shall not exceed KRW 220 million for a household of three or less, and KRW 330 million for a household of four or more. In the case of a house leased under a monthly rent with a security deposit, the monthly rent may be up to KRW 500,000. If the deposit for the lease is less than KRW 60 million, support will be provided for the amount equivalent to 50% of the lease deposit. The area of eligible housing shall be less than 60 square meters for a household with three or less, and 85 square meters for a family of four or more.

Eligible households are those without their own home residing in Seoul at the time of notice. The average monthly income of the household must be less than 70% of the national average monthly income. The real estate owned by the applicant must be valued at less than KRW 126 million, and any automobiles must be valued at less than a total of KRW 24.89 million. As of 2014, 70% of the monthly average income of a four-member household of urban workers is KRW 3.66 million.

Number of Household Members Three or less Four Five or more
70% of the national average monthly income (as of 2014) KRW 3,314,220 KRW 3,657,250 KRW 3,892,010

Support will be provided for up to six years with the contract being renewed every two years, and the Seoul Metropolitan Government will support 30% of the rise of deposit for lease (rise of up to 10%) at the time of contract renewal.

A notice was posted on the website of the SH Corporation (www.i-sh.co.kr) on December 23 regarding the first 500 units of support, and applications were received from January 4 to 6, 2016. On January 13, the first round of applicants will be selected for document screening, and on February 25, final applicants will be announced. Those who have been selected must sign loan contracts by May 31.

Coffee Bay Wins Grand Prize at the Seoul Metropolitan Korea Franchise Energy Awards


The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Korea Franchise Association co-hosted the first-ever Seoul Metropolitan Korea Franchise Energy Award ceremony on December 23 at the Seosomun building of the SMG to recognize 49 franchise headquarters and franchise locations for their energy-saving techniques.

The ‘Seoul Metropolitan Korea Franchise Energy Award’ is part of efforts by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Korea Franchise Association to help overcome the energy crisis and spread awareness of its energy saving campaign among franchise headquarters and franchise locations. Newly established just this year, the award offers an incentive of KRW 97.8 million to franchise companies and owners [who have a history of energy saving] to help them accelerate energy saving practices.

In 2015, 27 franchise headquarters and 430 franchise locations were evaluated as they vied for the grand prize of the energy awards. Evaluations for franchise headquarters were based on management for efficiency energy use, while franchises were evaluated based on energy-saving performance and ideas.

Based on the results of the evaluation, the grand prize in the franchise headquarters division was awarded to Coffee Bay of Apple Tree Co., Ltd. Energy assessments found that Coffee Bay not only used coffee machines that consumed less electricity than typically found in coffee shops, but also used energy-saving LED lights both in signboards and in the interior. Five franchise owners of Coffee Bay were also recognized for their compliance with energy-saving initiatives from head office.

Noodle Tree Restaurant of Happy Bridge Cooperatives followed close behind Coffee Bay in the franchise headquarters division and received the award of excellence. Noodle Tree Restaurants are designed to allow staff to turn off lights in certain areas where the sunlight comes in, greatly reducing energy costs. Also at the restaurants, LED lights powered by solar energy are used outside, and water is warmed using the heat of the noodle-boiling pot as opposed to an electric water heater. In addition, the restaurant uses rainwater for cleaning as part of its energy-saving efforts.

Gimgane Gimbap of Gimgane was also recognized at the awards ceremony for its use of natural light, and Kkuldak Honey Chicken of Dae Dae FC was recognized for the summertime energy-saving notices it sent to all of its franchises.

The franchise locations division was subdivided into 3 smaller categories based on the level of energy use (①less than 5kW ②6-19kW ③over 20kW). Café Pascucci (Yeoksam branch) was awarded the grand prize in the 20kW category. Although the franchise location uses five air conditioners in the summer due to its large floor size, the branch was recognized for its energy-saving techniques of instructing customers to sit near air conditioners and operating different parts of its cooling systems/ice-making machines/water heaters based on the number of customers and the day of the week. The franchise location was also praised for its use of natural light, labeling of light switches, and cutting of standby power. To reach its energy-saving goals, shop owners, shop managers, and staff adopted the slogan “If I were the customer, if the equipment were mine, and if the shop were my house.”

Regardless of business sector, all franchise headquarters and franchise locations that were deemed “energy efficient” employed the following techniques: partial operation of air-conditioning, maintenance of proper indoor temperatures, periodic air-conditioner cleaning, cut off of standby power for electric appliances except for refrigerators running 24/7, replacement of lights with LED, and efficient use of natural lightning.

Seoul Children’s Grand Park Holds 2016 Animal Experience Programs


The Seoul Metropolitan Facilities Management Corporation (CEO Oh Sung-gyu, www.sisul.or.kr) announced on December 22 that Seoul Children’s Grand Park will be operating two animal learning programs— “Mystery of Mammals in the Sea” and “Ape’s Great Expedition”—in January over the public school winter holidays.

The programs, which target elementary-aged children, will be in operation from January 4 to 23, from Monday through Saturday, at the Tropical Animal Hall within the park.

‘Mystery of Mammals in the Sea’ is a half-day program that allows children to observe and learn about ocean mammals such as seals, sea lions, and more. The program is designed to stimulate the imagination of young participants by casting them as the “zookeepers” of the park as they go through the program.

‘Ape’s Great Expedition’, is a special half-day program that helps children learn about the characteristics of apes in celebration of the year 2016, the Year of the Ape. As part of the program, participants not only learn about the different kinds of primates, but also have a chance to prepare and feed some of the apes in the park.

Upon completion of either program, participants will receive a certificate of completion and free souvenirs. Participation fees are KRW 10,000 per person per program. Anyone interested may apply on the website of Seoul Children’s Grand Park (www.sisul.or.kr). Registration begins on December 23 at 10:00 a.m. and slots are granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Oh Sung-gyu, CEO of the Seoul Metropolitan Facilities Management Corporation commented on the programs saying, “Seoul Children’s Grand Park has continued to make attempts to provide children with new and enjoyable experiences such as the operation of the Hangeul Tayo Bus, the installment of Little Prince sculptures, the reopening Kids Auto Park, and other programs. In the future, the Seoul Metropolitan Facilities Management Corporation will continue to be dedicated to providing unique and valuable public services to the citizens of Seoul.”


Program Guide
-Mammals in the Sea-

Time Content Place
10:30-10:40 □ Program introduction Animal Study Classroom
【Intro to Marine Animals】

□ Why are there animals in the ocean?
□ What kinds of marine mammals live in Seoul Children’s Grand Park?
□ What do these animals eat?
【Marine Animals in Troubles】

□ Endangered and threatened marine species
□ Endangered and threatened marine species
【Meeting Marine Mammals】

□ Observe marine animals
– South American fur seal, spotted seal
Ocean Animal Hall
【Certificate of Completion Ceremony】

□ Closing of study and presentation of souvenirs
Ocean Animal Hall

※Contents and times are subject to change.

-Ape’s Great Expedition-

Time Content Place
14:00-14:10 □ Program introduction and scheduling Animal Study Classroom
【World of Apes】

□ Various species of apes
□ Life of an ape
□ Why aren’t there wild apes in Korea?
□ How do apes communicate with each other?
【Let’s Do it Together!】

□ Why are there animals in the ocean?
□ What kinds of marine mammals live in Seoul Children’s Grand Park?
□ What do these animals eat?
【Certificate of Completion Ceremony】

□ Closing of study and presentation of souvenirs

※Contents and times are subject to change.

Seoul Opens Sledding Slopes at Ttukseom and Yeouido Islands



Seoul (Hangang Project Headquarters) will be operating sledding slopes at Ttukseom and Yeouido Hangang Parks from December 25 (Fri) to February 14 (Sun) for the enjoyment of Seoul citizens. Due to higher than average temperatures in the beginning of the winter, the sledding slopes at Ttukseom and Yeouido Hangang Parks were open on a limited basis since December 19 (Sat), but have now been in full operation since December 25 (Fri). Last year, sledding slopes were available only at Ttukseom Hangang Park, but for the Winter 2015/2016 season, additional slopes are now in operation in the Yeouido Hangang Park.

Sledding slopes in the two parks are open from 9am to 5pm, seven days a week, but are closed daily from noon to 1pm for maintenance. Hours of operation are subject to change, particularly in the case of any inclement weather that poses a safety risk to the general public.

Given this year’s mild temperatures, slope operators have had difficulty producing artificial snow, and only the higher slopes were in operation starting from December 19 (Sat). Thanks to recent colder temperatures, in which it is easier to manufacture snow, both smaller and higher slopes are now in full operation (beginning on December 25 (Fri). Fees for using the slopes are KRW 6,000 per person for anyone over the age of 3.

Visitors to the sledding slopes are advised to wear comfortable, casual clothes to avoid the risk of injury or loss of property. Safety announcements will also be provided over the PA system to make visitors aware of the dangers of throwing snow, hypothermia, etc., and instructions will also be provided over the loudspeaker to avoid sledding collisions and over-crowdedness.

General admission to the sledding slopes is KRW 6,000 per person, but fees for additional rides and activities do apply. A fifty percentage discount off admission is available to the following: veterans; visitors with disabilities (levels 1 through 6) and their guardians (for visitors with disability levels 1 through 3); senior citizens (ages 65 and up); and visitors with a Dadungi cards, including listed family members. Children under the age of 3 (36 months) may enter free of charge, but proper documentation is required (medical insurance card, copy of resident registration, or other legal proof of age). General admission includes access to sledding slopes and folk game facilities.

This year, the sledding slopes also feature a variety of different rides—a Viking ship, mini train, spinning swings, a flying saucer, a spaceship, and more. Ride admission is KRW 3,000 per person per ride. A materials fee is also required for the following activities: ▲ smelt fishing (KRW 5,000) and ▲ Euro bungee (KRW 5,000).

Ttukseom Hangang Park is located near Ttukseom Station on Subway Line 7, and Yeouido Hangang Park is located near Yeouinaru Station on Subway Line 5 and National Assembly Station on Subway Line 9.

39 Schools to be Transformed into “Eco Schools” in 2016


The Seoul Metropolitan Government recently announced the “Eco School Project”, a project to be completed in 2016 that will affect a total of 39 schools including 24 elementary schools, 8 middle schools, and 7 high schools. Under the project, school rooftops will be made into gardens and unused school parking lots will be transformed into eco experience centers where students can grow food such as tomatoes and peppers.

According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the Eco School Project will be based largely on active participation by school students and faculty, from planning stages to construction and maintenance. In fact, plans for the project have already largely been completed thanks to continuous communication between the government and the Eco School Promotion Committee, made up of students, faculty, and parents from area schools.

Following the completion of project planning, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will continue to cooperate with the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education and other related government offices to assist schools in maintaining their own eco areas.

The Eco School Project aims to provide an eco-friendly environment for students and local residents by creating green zones and small gardens in underused and unused areas on school property. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has been developing and promoting this project in stages since April 2015.

Seoul Launches Tourism Mobile App, iTourSeoul+


The Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced the launch of iTourSeoul+, a mobile app dedicated to tourism in Seoul, through which tourists can access real-time information on transportation, accommodations, and performances based on their current location. The app includes a variety of features such as ‘Top 10 Tourist Attractions’ as well as information on festivals, events, and recommended travel courses.

Tourists can also use the app to find information on bus stops and real-time bus schedules (including bus arrival time) simply by typing in their current or desired location. This convenient feature is particularly useful for tourists who may be unfamiliar with how to use public transportation to travel around Seoul. Location services are also used by the app to provide users with nearby accommodation and performance venue information; each database is complete with a direct link for online reservations.

The iTourSeoul+ app uses “Augmented Reality (AR)” technology to connect on and offline information. App users who pick up the “Seoul Tourism Guidebook,” available for free at over 40 tourist information centers, can get additional information by using their smartphone and the iTourSeoul+ app to scan certain pages in the guidebook.

By activating the “AR” button on the menu in the app and scanning the map in the “Seoul Tourism Guidebook”, users can view a map of tourist attractions, restaurants, performances, and shopping districts right on the screen of their smartphone. Users need only to tap a location on the map for even more information about that particular location.

iTourSeoul+ is available in five languages—Korean, English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Japanese—and can be downloaded free of charge from all major app stores.

▶ For more information on iTourSeoul App: :