Korea has continued to grow fast. This led to uncontrolled urbanization, excessive anonymity, and collapse of the community. Seoul’s moving rate is around 20%, which is high around the world. This indirectly shows how weak the local community is. Development-oriented city policies intensified conflict among people and eroded the space-based community. Lesser community space weakened bonds among people and eroded the happiness and quality of life of the city residents. To address the uncontrolled urbanization, deteriorating quality of life caused by intense competition, collapse of the community, and accelerating human alienation and other social problems, Seoul saw the need for communities for sustainable development and people’s happiness and started the town community project, which encourages residents to build their own community by themselves.
In the town community project, residents will make proposals, establish and implement plans, and take follow-up measures. Seoul provides training, consulting, and counseling to enable residents to find their common interests and build their own town community. Residents can make proposals all year round. Anyone with good cause for all and will to realize his/her idea can apply for the Town community project.
Through the Town community project, residents can come together to raise and take care of their children, discuss how to improve their lives, create jobs, and hold festivals.
Of 541 village community support projects for 2012, 87.3% are also continuing to be implemented in 2013. The number of village community projects registered for 2013 doubled to 2,233 compared with 2012, and of them, 68% were projects initiated by groups of residents not by village communities, thereby laying groundwork for the realization of village communities established by residents.
A growing number of full-time housewives became villages’ workers (Dongjak-gu parents’ community’s pursuit for refilling and dreaming). Through village broadcasters, neighbors have become friends (Jongno-gu’s village media Changsin-dong Radio, etc.). Closed apartments became the channels of residents’ communication (Gangbuk-gu apartment community Godeok Sangnok Apartments, etc.). The functional organization found sustainable alternative solutions through the village community (Saemaeul Movement Geumcheon Chapter’s joint childcare, etc.)
This village covers Ui-dong, Insu-dong, and Suyu 3-dong in Gangbuk-gu. In 1998, residents started cooperative child rearing, which expanded to the village community project participated in by 600 residents. Their activities include “Jaeminan Café” for various programs, “Village Study Room” for talent donation and sharing, “Jaeminan Band” for residents in their 30s ~ 40s, and “Town Theater Uidong” for performances by residents, and for residents.
This village covers Seongsan-dong, Yeonnam-dong, Seogyo-dong, and Mangwon-dong in Mapo-gu. In 1994, 30 parents bought a house to open the cooperative childcare center. Currently, 1,000 members in their 30s ~ 40s have created a family-centered community. Their activities include cooperative child rearing, cooperative support, town theater, Seongmisan School, and other education/culture/welfare/child-rearing communities. There are also 20 town businesses including “Small Tree Café.”
Seokgwan Doosan Apartment in Seokgwan-dong consists of 25 buildings with 1,998 households. Residents employ various energy-saving efforts to cut down apartment management costs. For instance, they installed LED lights in the basement parking lot to save KRW18 million in electric charges every month, including energy-saving facilities. They also run a green market and hold an energy saving class. Many people visit Seokgwan Doosan Apartment to learn how to save energy.
This village covers Sangdong 3, 4-dong in Dongjak-gu. Civic group “Hope Village” and residents in Sangdong-3 and 4 dongs raised funds to construct “Seongdaegol Children’s Library,” a private library, in October 2010 and build the town community. Their activities include various small group activities in the library, Seongdaegol Energy Saving wherein electricity consumption is displayed in graph form to encourage energy saving, and good shop certificate where energy saving is recommended for the local shops. Nowadays, their energy-saving efforts are drawing a lot of attention.This town covers Sangdong 3, 4-dong in Dongjak-gu. Civic group “Hope Town” and residents in Sangdong-3 and 4 dongs raised funds to construct “Seongdaegol Children’s Library,” a private library, in October 2010 and build the town community. Their activities include various small group activities in the library, Seongdaegol Energy Saving wherein electricity consumption is displayed in graph form to encourage energy saving, and good shop certificate where energy saving is recommended for the local shops. Nowadays, their energy-saving efforts are drawing a lot of attention.
In Samseon-dong, Seongbuk-gu are 166 old houses with the 1960s ~ 1970s look. This area was designated for development in 2004. Due to various conditions, however, large-scale development is not plausible. In 2008, local activities included organizing the group for the alternative development of Jangsu Village and initiating efforts to improve their lives. Village carpenters remodel and repair old houses. Their activities include wall painting, plot cultivation for growing vegetables, woodworks class, and more.