On March 30, 2017 (Thursday) at 11am (local time), Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, who is on a tour to three European countries under the theme of Sustainable City, visited Vienna, Austria. He visited Karl Marx Hof, known as one of the best public rental housing projects, and sought ways to both qualitatively and quantitatively improve the rental housing policy of Seoul. Austria has the second highest percentage of public rental housing (26%) among OECD member nations after the Netherlands. (S. Korea: 6.4%, based on data of 2015)
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has provided over 100,000 public rental houses in the past five years. As a result, the SMG has successfully improved the inventory rate of public rental housing (the percentage of public rental houses among all residences), which is an indicator of residential stability of vulnerable groups, to 7.04% reaching close to the OECD average of 8%.
Since Park’s inauguration, the SMG has changed its quantitative housing supply policy to a customized housing policy considering different types of residents including young entrepreneurs, women, single-person households, senior citizens who live alone, and stage actors. At the same time, the SMG also seeks to improve the quality of public housing by installing more amenities.
Karl Marx Hof, known as the largest single residential building in the world, is a large-scale tenement complex constructed in 1930 by the Vienna city government. The premises hold 1,382 apartments with a population of around 5,500 and include electric/gas/water supply facilities, green areas, and playgrounds. In particular, amenities such as laundromats, kindergartens, hospitals, and post offices account for about 20% of the total area. It is evident that Vienna tried to improve the quality of life for residents by installing these various amenities.
Mayor Park said, “Karl Marx Hof shows what SMG wishes to accomplish through its rental housing policy, in the sense that the municipal premises greatly improved public rental housing. Benchmarking the premises, we are going to seek ways to both quantitatively and qualitatively improve the public rental housing of Seoul and build more rental housing complexes that people would want to live in.”
At 12pm (local time) on the same day, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon met with Vienna Mayor Michael Häupl at Vienna City Hall and had lunch together. They discussed ways to cooperate in areas of mutual interest such as public buildings, urban regeneration, culture, art, and economic democratization. In addition, they decided to sign a friendship agreement to accelerate their cooperation.
Park invited Häupl to the 1st Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017 to be held between September and November 2017 to share Vienna’s abundant experience in innovative housing and urban planning.
The first meeting between the mayors of Seoul and Vienna is expected to promote the cooperative relations between the two cities. At 8am (local time), Mayor Park had breakfast with Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and discussed mutual cooperation.