Among the heap of documents piled on my desk in the Seoul Mayor’s Office, waiting for my perusal, is a file named “Major Schedule of Activities Carried out by Seoul Metropolitan Government and Press Release Plans.” The documents are the result of hard work performed by Seoul Metropolitan Government officials and yours truly.
Some of the documents concerning important programs remain unreleased to the mass media. One of them concerns the operation of the Public Development Center, which is in charge of land resources and public development.
In Seoul, land resources are limited. Once a development project is completed, its impact lasts for decades. Thus, it is important to implement development projects in good faith considering the overall harmony based on social consensus.
In the past, public projects were drawn up unilaterally based on the review of businesses assigned the relevant tasks in many cases. Such led to conflict between businesses, relevant institutions, and special interests. Thus, it resulted in a delay in the promotion of projects or cancellation of previously formulated plans due to a change in policy.
With regard to projects implemented by private developers, they were run based on a perfunctory procedure, resulting in excessive development that focused only on profitability but often disregarding public good.
Today, the Public Development Center will open a new chapter as the Seoul’s public developer and perform the following functions: establishment of land resources database and process of coping with diverse types of cases; communication with people to form social consensus; establishment of good-quality plans; collaboration with experts; establishment of development projects based on a realistic plan, and; communication between private and public sectors for the realization of good development programs, etc.
The Public Development Center will be in charge of comprehensive review concerning the development of the following important areas: a large-sized, Seoul City-owned empty land like the previous site of the Mapo Petroleum Storage Facility; COEX and Jamsil Sports Complex, where a large-sized space has been vacated following the relocation of public institutions, and; areas close to subway stations such as those close to Susaek and Seongbuk Stations, requiring discussion with other relevant institutions.
Even privately owned empty spaces will be recommended to go through the review of the Center. Dr. Lee Seong-chang , an authority in urban planning and architectural plans, will head the 21-employee, 6-team Center.
I expect the Center to help a lot in promoting the balanced development of Seoul in a way that is conducive to the enhancement of urban competitiveness and invigoration of the regional economy.