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Mayor's Hope Journal

  • Current Popularity of Small Apartments Required Insight into the Future
    [Mayor Park Won Soon’s Administrative Journal 29]

  • Mayor's Hope Journal SMG 1475

    Today I came home early and watched the 9 o’clock news on TV, where I heard that medium and large-sized apartments remain on the market for a much longer period of time than other types of apartment, causing a headache for society in general.

    Senior citizens in particular are disadvantaged by this situation because they own 40~50 pyeong apartments which were once very popular, but which they now want to sell in order to move into smaller houses so as to supplement their living expenses and support their children’s wedding.

    Korea’s family structure has changed drastically over the years. For instance, 24 percent of households in Seoul are now single-person households, while almost half of Seoul’s residents belong to two-person households. As the trend continues, bigger apartments are naturally becoming a problem.

    In fact, the same goes for construction companies facing economic crisis. Some construction firms are on the verge of bankruptcy because of the many unsold newly-built apartment buildings. SH Corporation, run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, is also saddled with some 600 unsold large-sized apartments in Eunpyeong New Town. It’s very frustrating.

    However, the demographic changes did not occur overnight but have been progressing for quite some time now. If scholars and administrators had monitored and analyzed the statistical changes and trends more earnestly, the misfortune might have been averted. That’s why statistics are important – not just for businessmen but for administrators, too, as keen insight into the future is also important to them.

    When reconstruction unions from Garak-dong and Gaepo-dong asked Seoul Metropolitan Government to issue reconstruction permits, Seoul required that around 30 percent of the reconstructed buildings should be small-sized apartments due to the reasons cited above. It is the Seoul Mayor’s absolute responsibility to acquire insights into the future regarding the properties and lives of Seoul’s citizens, and to reflect those insights when formulating policies.

    Predicting and preparing for the future is the duty of people living in the 21st century. I call it a preventive administration or a predictive administration. Our mistakes and errors will place a huge burden not only on this generation but also on our descendants. Think about it! What can we do with these large-sized apartments when one or two-member households are prevalent? We can neither demolish nor share them. It’s a very thorny issue.