Seoul City to Hold Public Design Contest for Arisu Drinking Fountains


The Seoul Metropolitan Government will be holding a public design competition to select a design for Arisu (water from the Hangang River) drinking fountains to be installed in city parks. The contest will run for a month starting from December 7, 2015 to January 5, 2016.

All eligible submissions must meet the following criteria: ▲ designs should symbolize Seoul and the piped water supply of the city; ▲ designs must meet the requirements of functionality and convenience of use; and ▲ designs must be original and of high artistic quality.

For more contest details, please visit The winning design and honorable mentions will be selected by mid-January, and top designers will be awarded a prize.

Once the winner is selected, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will use the winning design to fabricate drinking fountains and install them in children’s playgrounds and parks around the city.

Seoul City to Install Dog Park at Boramae


The Seoul Metropolitan Government will be opening a “puppy playground”, where dogs can run around in an enclosed area without a leash, in Boramae Park by April 2016. The dog park at Boramae will be the third of its kind in Seoul in addition to those already in operation at the Children’s Grand Park in Neung-dong and the World Cup Park in Sangam-dong.
According to polls conducted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, a majority of local residents—82.8% in a poll conducted in 2013 and 77.3% in a poll conducted in 2015—were in favor of the construction of the dog park.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government finalized construction plans for the park in November 2015. The facility in Boramae Park will be comprised of dog recreational facilities, dog drinking fountains and benches, surveillance cameras, and convenience facilities for dog owners.

The facility will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am until 8:00 pm in March and April and September through November, and from 10:00 am until 9:00 pm May through August. It will be closed December through February.

Only dogs with a dog license may enter the facility. Dogs must be accompanied by their owners, and minors (13 years of age or less) must be accompanied by an adult. Any dog that is unhealthy or exhibits aggressive behavior will be prohibited from entering the dog park.

Seoul Metropolitan Government to repair boilers at 10,000 low-income households


From November 1 until the end of March next year, Seoul Metropolitan Government will inspect and make repairs to the boilers of 10,000 households in partnership with “Love Boiler Sharing,” a private sector civic service organization, and Kiturami Boiler, a boiler manufacturer.

In addition to inspecting, cleaning, and repairing boilers, the city will replace old boilers and take measures to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting during the winter for elderly citizens living alone, single-parent households, and other low-income families.

The goal of this special winter boiler inspection and repair service is to ensure that low-income families are able to enjoy a pleasant winter in the warmth of their own homes. Any low-income households in need of boiler inspection or repairs may submit applications at their respective community centers.

In addition, a total of 60 boilers, comprised of 30 boilers donated by the private sector as part of the “Love Boiler Sharing” campaign and 30 more provided by Kiturami Boiler, valued at KRW 30 million in total, will be installed in the homes of citizens in need. Love Boiler Sharing is a volunteer-based civic service organization made up of 19 technical advisors and 120 members, who inspect, repair, and replace boilers and take measures to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting during the winter.

Seoul Metropolitan Government using big data to identify risk of starting businesses in 1,008 neighborhood business areas of Seoul


Using big data, Seoul Metropolitan Government will analyze the performance of small businesses located in a number of neighborhood business areas in Seoul and display the results on a map to serve as a reference for small business entrepreneurs interested in starting a business in those neighborhoods. Through the city’s pilot project, “Our Village Store Business Trend Analysis Service (,” citizens will be provided easy access to a wide range of information the city’s neighborhood business areas, allowing them to review the risk of starting a new business in a certain area at the click of a button.

To this end, the city designated a total of 1,008 neighborhood business areas, including backstreet areas where large distribution facilities are not present, as the “Seoul-type Local Commercial Zone” and analyzed 200 billion big data items generated by businesses of 43 types, such as Chinese restaurants and convenience stores, in those locations.

Also, the city government analyzed 200 billion big data items in 32 areas of 10 sectors, including administrative data, such as licenses and permits issued by public institutions, and transportation card data, as well as private sector data, such as retail sales and housing rental costs, all of which were provided by Shinhan Card, BC Card, and the Korea Appraisal Board.

The 43 types of small businesses in Seoul’s neighborhood business areas can be categorized more generally into three categories: restaurants (10), service businesses (22), and wholesale and retail businesses (11). Most new businesses or existing small businesses are represented by these three categories, as shown by the 2013 Map of Small Businesses of Seoul by Category published by Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Credit Guarantee Foundation.

Three types of services will be offered through the project: ① Business Area Traffic Light Service (for new prospective entrepreneurs); ② Custom-tailored Business Area Portal Service (for prospective entrepreneurs); and ③ My Store Marketing Service (for existing businesses).

First, the “Business Area Traffic Light Service” will indicate that status of a certain neighborhood business area, including the levels of risk involved in starting new businesses, indicated in four colors (blue for caution, yellow for doubt, orange for risky, red for highly risky) and based on quarterly data; the rate of business closure; the rate of closure of businesses three years after opening; the average time before business closure; and variations in the number of stores.

Second, the “Custom-tailored Business Area Portal Service” enables prospective entrepreneurs to access a wide variety of information, such as the number of stores, average sales per store, average daily visitors, new business survival rate, and market saturation index for each of the 1,008 neighborhood business areas.

Third, the “My Store Marketing Service” enables users to select a specific business area (with a radius of 100 to 1,000 meters) on a map, including areas not contained within the 1,008 neighborhood business areas, and obtain specific information on that area, including sex and age of visitors, specific times and places most frequented by visitors, presence of venues for mass gatherings, and the number of households in apartment housing complexes. In addition, analysis reports will be sent to business owners by mail on a regular basis to help them understand how their neighborhoods are changing. Moreover, social networking services, blogs, and keyword searches related to small neighborhood businesses will be analyzed by theme so that business owners will be able to keep up with the latest trends and consumer preferences on a real time basis.

Seoul Metropolitan Government will launch the “Our Village Store Business Trend Analysis” service on December 1, 2015, and anyone interested may register on the Seoul Metropolitan Government website, which provides free access to the service.

Seoul and London forge friendly-city ties


Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has recently forged closer inter-city ties with London, the city known as a global center of diverse sectors, including art, economy, finance, fashion, medical services, tourism, and transportation.

Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon and London Mayor Boris Johnson signed an agreement to expand and strengthen the relationship between their two cities at Paris City Hall on the morning of December 4, when Mayor Park was in Paris to attend the UNFCCC-related Climate Action Day event.

Under the agreement, the two cities will exchange their expertise and information on exemplary cases in numerous sectors, including climate and the environment; invigoration of the local economy; culture, art, and tourism; smart cities; e-government; urban regeneration; sustainable development; and social reform. In particular, based on the framework adopted by international organizations, such as the C40, the two cities will exchange information on new technologies and exemplary cases pertaining to climate change and the environment and dispatch their officials to forums, training sessions, and international meetings hosted by each other’s cities. They will also exchange information on the investment policies they have adopted and encourage domestic businesses to invest in both cities.

Seoul and London have maintained collaborative exchanges for some time, but this is the first such official agreement made between them. SMG officials expect that the agreement will be an opportunity for Seoul to promote its relatively new status as a global city and share the expertise and experience it has accumulated in the course of its efforts to solve urban problems during its rapid development.

The SMG has forged sister-city ties with 23 cities in foreign countries, including San Francisco, Washington DC, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, and Beijing, and friendly-city ties with 28 cities, including Berlin, Amsterdam, and Shanghai.

Commenting on the agreement, Mayor Park Won Soon said: “It is hoped that our mutual ties will go a long way toward finding better solutions to the diverse problems that both our capital cities are facing by learning from each other’s accumulated expertise and experience. Especially, as London is a global financial center and home to the headquarters of numerous multinationals, we need to cooperate with the city much more closely.”

Seoul selected as top MICE city by Business Traveler for fourth consecutive year


Seoul Metropolitan City has been selected as the best MICE city of 2015 by Business Traveler and Global Traveler magazines, top authorities in the business travel sector, thanks to the city government’s strong promotion of tourism and the MICE industry as sources of new growth for Seoul.

Specifically, Seoul was selected as the “Best International Business Meetings Destination” for its fourth consecutive year since 2012 at the 2015 Best in Business Travel Awards, held annually by the U.S. edition of Business Traveler. This puts Seoul firmly among the ranks of the world’s top MICE cities.


▶ Recipients of the Best International Business Meetings Destination award

Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Cities Dallas(U.S.) Honolulu(U.S.) Honolulu(U.S.) Las Vegas(U.S.) Seoul Seoul Seoul Seoul

In addition, in the 12th annual Global Traveler Tested Reader Survey Awards, hosted by Global Traveler, Seoul was selected as the “Best MICE City” for the second time since 2013, beating Singapore, last year’s winner.


▶ Recipients of the Best MICE City Award

Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Cities Bangkok Istanbul Bangkok Barcelona Abu Dabi Seoul Singapore Seoul

Furthermore, Seoul was listed among the top five convention cities for five consecutive years, from 2010 to 2014, in the ranking of international conference cities announced every June by the Union of International Associations (UIA). In 2014, Seoul hosted a total of 310 international conferences.

The 2015 Best in Business Travel Awards ceremony will be held in Los Angeles in January 2016, and the 12th Global Traveler Awards will be in Los Angeles as well, on December 8, 2015.

Francis Gallagher, the publisher of Global Traveler, visited Seoul last month to interview Mayor Park Won Soon and said, “The award once again demonstrates that the readers of Global Traveler clearly recognize Seoul as one of the most attractive MICE cities, and I look forward to seeing the continued progress of Seoul Metropolitan City going forward.”

Government employees worldwide come to Korea to learn how to ensure public construction transparency


In 2009, Korea became a member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, distinguishing itself as the only nation that has gone from being an ODA recipient to an ODA donor. Recently, Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), as one of the UN-member ODA donors, hosted an international workshop in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN agency for developing countries.

The SMG and UNDP co-hosted the “International Workshop for Public Construction Transparency: Sharing Korea’s Clean Construction System and Initiatives around the World” for three days, from December 2 to December 4, at the new Seoul City Hall.

The workshop brought together a total of 120 people, including 70 overseas participants, comprising senior government representatives, members of civic organizations from some 20 developing countries, and professionals of prominent international networks, such as CoST (Construction Sector Transparency Initiative), the OCP (Open Contracting Partnership), and private sector networks related to international transparency, as well as 50 individuals from domestic organizations.

Introduced at the workshop were the SMG’s information disclosure policy and anti-corruption measures for the construction industry, including One-PMIS, a system for the efficient sharing of overall information regarding construction; “Construction Info,” a system that informs citizens of major construction projects that are being carried out; and the “Immediate e-Payment System,” which solves the problem of late payment of wages by subcontractors.

Also, the Anti-corruption and Civil Rights Commission and the Public Procurement Service introduced Korea’s anti-corruption policy and public procurement service policies, highlighting Korea’s clean, transparent, and accountable administration, while CoST and the OCP shared the anti-corruption and transparency promotion activities of various countries around the world.

In addition, government officials and specialists with civic organizations from the Philippines, Thailand, Ukraine, Uganda, Zambia, Mexico, Honduras, and Arab nations presented the practices and experiences of each of their respective nations.

Through the workshop, the SMG promoted its policies worldwide and helped developing nations in their efforts to benchmark and apply its policies to their own construction industries.

Anne Marie Sloth Carlsen, director of the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre, said: “Endemic corruption in public infrastructure projects continues to damage the development potential of many, many countries. Therefore, we need more solutions like Seoul’s Clean Construction System all around the world to ensure that taxpayers’ investments in infrastructure actually lead to development dividends for all citizens.”

In his keynote speech, Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon said: “By disclosing all information of public institutions, including information on public construction projects, which citizens have the right to know, we will be able to build a fair and just society and contribute to the international community by spreading our transparent, clean, and accountable construction administration system to developing nations.”

Seoul Metropolitan Government and Korea Development Bank to build skating rink in Yeouido Park


Korea Development Bank (KDB), Kiwoom Securities, Seoul Green Trust, Seoul Walk, and Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) have all worked together to build a 3,300-square-meter skating rink at the center of Yeouido Park. The rink is scheduled to open on December 22.

Of the total area, the ice rink will occupy 2,100 square meters (70m x 30m), making it just a little larger than the Seoul Square Skating Rink (2,038 square meters).

Additional facilities on the remaining 1,200 square meters include a ticketing office, ice skate rental station, washrooms, rest area, and booths promoting social economy enterprises and offering a variety of products to visitors.

KDB and Kiwoom Securities have provided financial support for the construction of the skating rink, while Seoul Green Trust and Seoul Walk will assist with the installation and operation of the skating rink and various supplementary facilities.

The Seoul Business Agency and Seoul Social Economy Center will promote outstanding social economy firms at the skating rink by operating promotional booths, and the SMG will be responsible for project planning and general administration.

The skating rink will be set up in Yeouido Park’s Culture Square and will be open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. for a total of 55 days, from December 22 to February 14, 2016.

Visitors will be charged for every hour and a half of use (admission: KRW 1,000; ice skates and helmet rental: KRW 1,000), and day tickets (KRW 3,000; rental: KRW 1,000) and seasonal tickets (KRW 20,000, including rental charges) will be available.

The SMG signed a business cooperation agreement regarding the establishment of the skating rink with KDB, Kiwoom Securities, Seoul Green Trust, and Seoul Walk on December 3 at 3:00 p.m. at Seoul City Hall.

The skating rink project was proposed last July by Hong Kyttack, chairman of KDB, a state-owned bank with its head office in Yeouido, as a new way of contributing to the local community, and was accepted by Mayor Park Won Soon with the participation of institutions and civic organizations interested in the project. As the skating rink will be situated at the center of Yeouido, an area filled with the offices of countless businesses, office workers and businesspeople will be able to wind down after work by enjoying some skating and then engaging in cultural and leisure activities at Yeouido Park or the nearby IFC Mall.

Seoul Station Overpass to Be Closed from Midnight on December 13


Seoul Metropolitan Government has begun preliminary work on the Seoul Station Overpass Project, including the improvement of the transportation system around Seoul Station and management of the construction site. The city has also requested Seoul citizens to use the designated detours and public transportation starting on December 13, 2015, and has already deployed nearly 700 officials to conduct thorough construction site management and provide guidance were necessary.

The city completed the installation of surveillance cameras with the aim of cracking down on the illegal parking and stopping that have been causing major traffic congestion in front of Seoul Station, and installed speed bumps to relieve congestion caused by conflicts between taxis and general vehicles in front of Seoul Station.

Subway Lines 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6, which pass through and around Seoul Station, will run more frequently—42 trips during rush hours every day for a week starting on December 14, the first weekday after the closing of the overpass. The city has six reserve cars in preparation for the sharp increase in the number of passengers that is expected, and is planning to monitor the situation closely and increase the number of cars on an as-needed basis.

Meanwhile, Seoul Metropolitan Government will focus on promoting the designated detour routes and guiding traffic onsite so as to minimize any confusion that may arise from the closing of the Seoul Station Overpass. Starting at midnight on December 13, the city will provide helpful information on the Seoul Transport Operation and Information Service website ( and set up variable message signs along the roads to guide drivers to the detour routes.

Subway Line 9 Issues “Cash Receipt for Single-Use Transit Card” for Personal Income Tax Returns


Starting in December, all subway lines, from Line 1 through Line 9, will issue cash receipts for the purchase of single-use transit cards so that users may receive income tax deductions. Seoul Metropolitan Government began issuing cash receipts for single-use transit cards for Subway Lines 1 through 8 back in January this year, and has just expanded it to Line 9 this December.

Starting with the very first train on Line 9 on December 1 (Tues), users will be able to receive their first cash receipts. Between January and October this year, cash receipts for a total of KRW 870 million (720,000 receipts) in subway fares were issued for single-use transit cards.

(As of October 2015, Units: thousands of receipts, KRW 100 million)

Category Single-use Transit Card Cash Receipt
Number of Cards Issued Cost of Cards Issued Number of Receipts Issued Cost of Receipts Issued Percentage
Seoul Metro 15,158 186.5 546 6.7 3.6%
Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation 7,344 87.1 178 2.0 2.3%
Total 22,502 273.6 724 8.7 3.2%

※ Cost of Single-Use Transit Cards Issued: Total cost of single-use transit cards issued, not including the KRW 500 deposit

Cash receipts for single-use transit cards include only the “cost of single-use transit cards issued,” excluding the deposit, which is reimbursed to the customer upon returning the single-use transit card. For instance, even though a passenger pays KRW 1,150 plus a KRW 500 deposit for a subway ride, the cash receipt will be for only KRW 1,150.

Cash receipts for single-use transit cards are issued automatically to those who request a receipt upon purchase. If you would like to receive income tax deductions for the expense of taking the subway, make sure to keep all of your receipts and enter the transaction information on the receipt on the National Tax Service Cash Receipt website ( When registering as a user to list cash receipts for income tax deductions, you need to have the information on the receipt, such as the seller’s corporate registration number, amount of money spent, approval number, and the transaction date.

Seoul Announces “Winter Emergency Rescue Measures” to Protect Vulnerable People


Seoul Metropolitan Government established the “Winter Emergency Rescue Measures” as a means of preparing for possible disasters with the aim of protecting vulnerable people from natural disasters in winter, such as cold waves, heavy snowfalls, as well various winter-related accidents. These measures will remain in force until February next year.

On December 1 (Tues), the Seoul Metropolitan Fire and Disaster Headquarters announced that they will help disaster-vulnerable groups enjoy a safe winter by conducting six specific tasks: ▴ operation of the “Seoul Emergency Rescue Control Service” to ensure rapid responses to winter-related disasters; ▴ operation of the “24 Hour Emergency Situation System,” tasked with receiving disaster reports and offering medical consultations; ▴ expansion of safety measures and welfare services for cold-wave damage and disaster-vulnerable groups; ▴ operation of a multi-tier emergency rescue dispatch system to help ensure citizens’ safety; ▴ preemptive elimination of risk factors, such as icicles and ice on the roads, and; ▴ rapid response and rescue operations in preparation for winter mountain climbing accidents.

▶ Operation of the “Seoul Emergency Rescue Control Service” and the “24-Hour Emergency Situation System” for Disaster Reports and Medical Consultations

As a means of addressing the risk of cold waves, heavy snowfalls, strong winds, and blackouts in the winter, the Seoul Metropolitan Fire and Disaster Headquarters will operate a “situation management service” that will respond to changes in the status of the special weather report (issues specific advisory and warning levels). In case of emergency (special weather report levels 1, 2, and 3), the “emergency rescue control service” will be mobilized at potential crisis sites. Moreover, a 24-hour emergency situation system for receiving disaster reports and providing medical consultations will also be operated.

▶ Expansion of Safety and Welfare Services for Cold-wave Damage and Disaster-vulnerable Groups

Seoul Metropolitan Government will also take steps to protect various vulnerable groups, such as elderly people with severe disabilities living alone, the homeless, and residents of tenement housing, in order to help them enjoy a warm winter uninterrupted by crises.

When the special weather report issues cold spell warnings, members of the 119 Safety Squad (116 squads) and volunteer firefighters (1,326 firefighters) will personally pay visits to 663 elderly people with severe disabilities who are living alone and 91 disabled people residing in independent living housing (55 households) at least once a day until the cold spell warning is lifted.

▶ Strengthened Citizen Safety through the Operation of “Multi-Tier Emergency Rescue Dispatch System”

The city will also operate the “multi-tier emergency rescue dispatch system” so as to ensure prompt responses to accidents that may occur during blackouts, such elevator malfunctions, water supply issues, gas supply problems, and blocked emergency drainage systems.

Moreover, in preparation for the increased number of falls on icy roads, the “multiple emergency patient transfer system” will be in operation. Normally, Seoul’s patient transfer system comprises 149 ambulances. However, during times of emergency weather warnings, 116 fire engines and 22 patrol cars will be deployed to assist in the transfer of injured citizens. Furthermore, the city government has already finished stocking up on emergency medical equipment, such as splints and bandages.

▶ Preemptive Elimination of Risk Factors, Such as Icicles and Ice on the Roads

In the event of cold wave or heavy snowfall advisories or warnings, Seoul’s 119 Special Rescue Service and 119 rescue teams from 23 fire stations in Seoul will mobilize in an effort to eliminate risk factors, such as icicles and ice on the roads.

In addition, 23 fire stations will be designated to manage 145 areas (total of 77.6 km) that are known to be vulnerable to damage from heavy snowfall and remove snow from the roads. Volunteer firefighters at each fire station will be in charge of removing snow from the entrances of the subway stations within their respective jurisdictions.

▶ Rapid Response and Rescue Operations in Preparation for Winter Mountain Climbing Accidents

Also, three mountain rescue squads of Seoul’s 119 Special Rescue Service will prepare for accidents and emergency situations, such as trapped climbers, injuries from falling, and disappearances of hikers, in the major mountain parks of Seoul.

First, in hopes of preventing accidents, the Seoul 119 Special Rescue Service plans to work with the Korea National Park Service at Bukhansan Mountain to conduct a campaign promoting safe mountain climbing and offer first aid training courses. In addition, posters and banners warning climbers about the risk of falling on icy mountain paths will be posted at the entrances to major mountain parks. Moreover, inspections of dangerous areas in the mountains will be carried out in preparation for emergency rescue operations involving mountain climbers trapped by or lost in heavy snowfalls.

Finally, the Seoul 119 Special Rescue Service will begin training to execute mountain ice wall rescue operations so as to promptly respond to accidents occurring in extreme weather conditions, such as heavy snowfalls and freezing rain. If an accident does occur, the special rescue service will respond promptly, investigate the site, and rescue the victims by mobilizing air search and rescue resources as well as rescue dogs and drones.

Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon attends World Mayors Summit on Climate Change in Paris


Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon attended the World Mayors Summit on Climate Change and the Climate Action Day event, which were held in Paris over a period of three nights and five days. The UNFCCC COP 21 (November 30 to December 11, 2015) was held to establish the New Climate Regime, which will apply to all countries in 2020 and thereafter, and reach a consensus on a new climate convention.

This time, Mayor Park served as the chair of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), in which over 1,200 cities and local governments from all over the world took part, and successfully led everyone in attendance to a consensus on the new climate system, which was the main goal of this year’s meeting.

The World Mayors Summit on Climate Change was held in Paris on December 4 to discuss the roles of cities in the reduction of greenhouse gases following the launch of the new climate system and how cities will implement the system. The Summit was attended by over 800 people, including notable figures such as Mayor Park Won Soon, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, Mr. Michael Bloomberg, who served as the UN General Secretary’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, and the mayors of Chicago, Berlin, and Sydney.

Mayor Park took part in the opening session, held under the theme “City Solutions,” as a panelist, in addition to serving as co-chair emeritus. Delivering the keynote speech at the opening ceremony was French President François Hollande.

Following the opening session, the Paris City Hall Declaration, the major achievement of the Summit, was adopted by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, Mr. Michael Bloomberg, and all other mayors present at the meeting.

At the the UNFCCC-related Climate Action Day event held on December 5 in Paris’s Le Bourget (Blue Zone), with over 1,300 people in attendance, including representatives of local governments, businesses, and civic societies and press media, Mayor Park gave a speech on the achievements made by Seoul, a leading city in climate change-related matters.

On December 6, Mayor Park presided over the meetings of the ICLEI Board of Directors and Global Executive Committee and adopted the ICLEI declaration, urging national governments to recognize the role of cities and local governments in climate change-related matters and establish long-term, specific objectives for climate mitigation and adaptation. The declaration was officially presented at an ancillary event of the ICLEI-led UNFCCC on December 7.

Before starting his official schedule in Paris, Mayor Park stopped at the Republic Square to pay homage to the victims of the terrorist attacks that occurred in the city on November 13.