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  • Seoul’s New Vision for 2030: ‘A Happy City Based on Communication and Consideration’

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    On September 26, 2013, the city government announced the city’s new vision for 2030 – a happy city based on communication and consideration. The vision, which was devised by a large group of citizens at a two-day marathon session, will govern all the city administration’s policies and action plans for almost two decades up until 2030.

    Some major global cities have expressed their own visions in simple, easy-to-remember phrases like ‘Green, Greater’ of New York City and ‘Sustainable World-City’ of London. Seoul City felt the need to produce its long-term vision and express it in a persuasive phrase, a rock-solid guiding principle that will act as a compass for the city’s journey into the future.

    ‘Communication and Consideration’ will be the highest values for the municipal administration of Seoul. Indeed, these values will play the central role in the city’s pursuit of its long-term goals of upgrading the quality of life of its citizens, boosting the city’s global competitiveness, building its uniqueness in the global community, and securing sustainability as a major global city.

    The city government has reiterated that making Seoul ‘a happy city for its citizens’ by 2030 is its ultimate goal and asserted that the surest way of fulfilling that vision is communication and consideration.

    The 2030 Seoul vision is contained in “The 2030 Seoul Plan” – the basic long-term urban development plan of Seoul – worked out through comprehensive reviews by ordinary citizens and experts from all walks of life over a considerable period of time and announced on September 26, 2013.

    As the most authoritative document of the city of Seoul, the 2030 Seoul Plan will govern not only the infrastructure development plan of the city but also the key policies and action plans of the municipal government for every aspect of its citizens’ lives and wellbeing for the twenty years to come.

    The 2030 plan is distinctive in several ways: citizens have been deeply involved in the preparation of the plan; strategies focus on key issues that have a direct impact on citizens’ daily life; five independent life zones will be created within the city limits through detailed practical action plans; and annual reports on its progress will be compiled and published each year. Compared to past plans, the long-term plan reflects citizens’ interests more closely and includes far more efficient approaches to the realization of its goals.

    In a nutshell, the 2030 Plan is the first citizen-initiated long-term urban development plan ever introduced in Korea. Citizens from a great variety of backgrounds have taken part in the plan from start to finish, reviewing every detail with a down to earth approach.

    Another prominent feature of the 2030 plan is that it is not a space-oriented urban development plan; rather, it is structured around key issues directly relevant to citizens’ daily lives.

    The 2030 Seoul Plan presents measures for realizing the city’s long-term vision, namely, a happy city for citizens based on communication and consideration, focusing on the achievement of ‘five major key issues.’ In terms of the city’s spatial development, it also involves significant reforms of traditional approaches. Meanwhile, the plan strikes a balance between macro issues, i.e. the city’s enhancement of its global competitiveness and the reduction of development imbalances between districts, and micro issues which more directly influence citizens’ lives such as citizens’ welfare, culture and transportation.

    The five key issues were finally chosen by ‘the Citizen Initiative Group in the Seoul Plan’ through numerous meetings and intensive discussions. Seventeen goals and fifty-eight action strategies were also selected by the group to fulfill the five key issues.

    The first key issue is the realization of ‘a human-centered city without discrimination.’ The progress will be measured using five indices including ‘the rate of guarantee of the minimum income standard’ and ‘the rate of experience of lifelong education.’

    The second key issue is the fulfillment of ‘a global city of shared growth, full employment and vitality.’ Progress will be measured through three quantified indices including ‘the employment rate’ and ‘the rate of creative population.’

    The third key issue is the creation of ‘a happy cultural city that cherishes its history.’ The three indices to be used to measure progress include ‘degree of satisfaction with the cultural environment’ and ‘the number of culture-based facilities.’

    The fourth core issue concerns the establishment of ‘a safe city full of life.’ Three quantified indices including ‘the rate of areas alienated from park services’ and ‘changes in the number of disaster victims’ will measure progress in the area.

    The fifth core issue is the realization of ‘a city of communities guaranteeing stable housing and convenient transportation.’ The progress will be measured with three indices including ‘the rate of public housing’ and ‘the index of the jobs-housing balance.’

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