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City Initiatives


Town Community Support Project

Shadows of Rapid Growth – Intensified Conflict among People and Weakened Community

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.

Seoul’s Support to Build the Town Community

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.

How to Apply for the Town community Project

Foundation to Recover the Town Community: Assignment of Community Building Division, establishment of support ordinance, and publication of support plans

  • In January 2012, Seoul solidified the town community project and newly designated the Community Building Division under the Seoul Innovation Bureau. The Community Building Division has built a governance system wherein private experts and town activists participate to establish the direction and system of the project.
  • As a way of providing the legal basis for the project, Seoul jointly announced the Ordinance for Town Community Support in March 2012. In April, we held a seminar to listen to opinions from professors and field experts. In May, we held a conference to collect people’s opinions. At the same time, we are making the most out of SNS such as Facebook to communicate with people in real time.The Seoul Institute conducted the basic research for all areas in Seoul. Based on the research results, we announced the Basic Plan for Seoul’s Town Community in September 2012.
  • Moreover, in September 2012, considering people’s perspective and employing our long field experience, we opened nine Town Community Support Centers. When people prepare their own town plan and apply for support, we provide counseling and support through the town community support center. Specifically, to provide support tailored to each town community’s different needs, the town community support center visits the site for thorough analysis and counseling. Furthermore, Town Community Support Centers bridge the gap between private and public sectors and distribute good cases for benchmarking by other communities.

Start of change through villages

① Residents significantly increased in interest and participation.

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.

② New life began in villages.

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.)

  • 2012 Results: 35 projects, KRW59.7 billion
  • 2013 Results: 22 projects, KRW 22.2 billion

Best Examples of Town community

① Samgaksan Jaeminan Village

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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.

② Seongmisan Village

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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.”

③ Seokgwan Doosan Apartment, Seokgwan-dong

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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.

④ Seongdaegol Village

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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.

⑤ Samseon-dong “Jangsu Village”

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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.