International Symposium on Urban Regeneration
Date July 16, 2014 Venue, Sejong Hall, Sejong Center for the Performing Arts
Good morning. I am Park Won Soon, mayor of Seoul Metropolitan City. I am truly pleased to see you here at the International Symposium on Urban Regeneration for the creative urban regeneration of Seoul.
Urban regeneration is just like a human life cycle, going through birth, growth, development, aging and rebirth. On this account, the regeneration of urban areas has now become an increasingly important issue in western countries, which have already undergone industrialization and urbanization.
For the past 4 or 5 decades, Seoul, which also experienced rapid urbanization, has been in need of urgent urban renewal, owing to changes in demographics and industrial structures, economic recessions, and poor living environments. In order to actively promote this urban project, we need a paradigm shift that goes beyond the existing renewal system.
We need to put our neighbors, humanity, and life first, helping those who have been previously overlooked during the rapid industrialization and urbanization of our city. We need to foster a comprehensive urban redevelopment scheme that covers a wide range of areas from the economy, the social culture, and safety, rather than simply focusing on the complete demolition or physical large-scale repair work. The top-down approach led by officials should be replaced by a bottom-up strategy emphasizing the significance of local residents and cooperation between the public and private sectors.
The SMG endeavors to redevelop the city from a different perspective to make a happy and energetic society. We will create a village where people can actively communicate with neighbors. We will also create a welcoming welfare city, where one single person is never alienated. I hope today, this conference can set us on the right direction in our urban policies. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of those who are attending this meaningful conference to support our endeavor to open our path to a new future. I wish you tremendous success and prosperity in everything you do. Thank you very much.