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  • Seoul Announces “2020 Changing Life in Seoul”

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    Seoul will be publishing 2020 Changing Life in Seoul to offer a glimpse of the projects that will be launched in 2020, public facilities that will soon open, and new policies related to citizens’ lives.

    The 2020 Changing Life in Seoul will introduce 58 projects in 4 fields: ① 10 projects in the “Safe City,” ② 19 projects in the “Warm City,” ③ 18 projects in the “Dreaming City,” and ④ 11 projects in the “Breathing City.”

    The book was designed to be easily read as the key concept of each project was explained on the top of the page and then the details, such as directions and notices, were added in the format of a Q&A. “More Info” was also included at the bottom of the page so that anyone who has a question can inquire via phone, online, and social media.

    Safe City: Introduction of Citizen’s Safety Insurance, Operation of Green Circulating Bus, Lowering Speed Limit in Seoul, Expansion of Streets for Pedestrians

    Starting on January 1, 2020, Seoul is implementing the “Citizens’ Safety Insurance,” by which a citizen who suffers harm from an accident, such as a natural disaster, fire, and collapse, can receive up to KRW 10 million from the insurance company that signed a contract with Seoul (NongHyup Property & Casualty Insurance for 2020).

    Starting in December 2019, Seoul has lowered the speed limit of roads with bus-only lanes to 50 km/h (in case of main roads) to make the urban traffic environment safe for pedestrians and now the city will gradually apply the speed limit to all roads in 2020.

    Four “Green Circulating Buses” that will run connecting main green points along Hanyangdoseong, the Seoul City Wall, will be operated starting in January to resolve inconveniences of using vehicles and improve the convenience of using public transportation following the operation of the green traffic area (the restriction of running category 5 vehicles). People can now visit major tourist attractions, subway stations, and commercial areas in downtown Seoul more conveniently without vehicles.

    Additionally, the “Streets for Pedestrians” will be expanded to prioritize pedestrians over cars. Five roads in four main gates of Seoul (Sejong-daero, Eulji-ro, Toegye-ro, Chungmu-ro, and Changgyeonggung-ro) will be rearranged to be more pedestrian-friendly. The operation of the “Car-free Road” to provide citizens with various areas for relaxation will be greatly expanded and gradually, more than 30 diagonal (X-shaped) crosswalks per year will be installed for the convenience and safety of pedestrians.

    Warm City: Support for Close Welfare of Infertile Couples, Elementary School Students and Younger Children Care, the Severely Disabled and Deinstitutionalized Disabled, Women, 50+ Generation

    Seoul partially supports the costs of medical infertility treatment for infertile couples who must pay the whole costs by themselves because they have already used up the maximum number of times of the application of the national health insurance for the external fertilization (embryo transfer).

    The number of “Community Childcare Center” for better care for elementary school students after school will be increased from 45 as of December 2019 to 222 in 2020 throughout all autonomous districts. The fee will be lowered from less than KRW 100,000 to less than KRW 50,000.

    Starting in March, the caring hours of the daycare centers will be divided into basic care and extended care. For children in the extended care class, professional teachers will be allocated so that the children can receive stable care during the afternoon.

    The establishment of the “Care SOS Center,” the facility for those in need of housekeeping or nursing services after suffering a sudden disease or accident or those who require assistance in their daily life, such as going to the hospital together or changing fluorescent lights, will be expanded from the current five autonomous districts to 13 autonomous districts.

    In September 2020, the “Space Sallim,” a start-up hub for women, will launch in Dongjak-gu. Space Sallim is the first institution that supports the entrepreneurship of women, where women can create concepts or start their business. It offers start-up consultation, equipment support, part-time childcare or elementary student care service, and ICT education programs for women, and more.

    Plus, another 50 Plus Campus for the northern part of Seoul (Chang-dong, Dobong-gu) will open in October to support the systematic redesign of the lives of those aged between 50-64. The number of the 50 Plus Centers in each area will be increased from six to 10 in 2020.

    Dreaming City: Housing Support for Newlyweds, Investment in Youths through Youth Rental, Youth Allowance, Youth House, and Youth Savings Accounts

    Starting in 2020, Seoul will lend the deposit and partially support the interest costs of housing loans to newlyweds or soon-to-be-married couples who are facing a poor housing environment due to having difficulty in generating a large sum of money.

    The policies for ensuring that youth are given a fair and equal start in life will be fully implemented. The number of beneficiaries of the Youth Allowance will be increased to 30,000 starting in January. Any youth who is qualified, that is, who is between 19-34 years old, living in Seoul, and graduated from college or university within the past two years, whose household earns income less than 150% of the median income can receive KRW 500,000 per month for a period of six months.

    The proportion of Youth Housing near Subway Stations of which the rental is lower than half of the market price in the surrounding areas will be increased from the current 20% to 40-70%. Among the tenants of the private rental houses (regular houses) out of the Youth Housing near Subway Stations, the youths and newlyweds whose income and property are less than a certain level can also get the support of an interest-free housing loan.

    Starting in February, the Youth Savings Accounts project will be launched to support the deposit money for housing leases and education fees of underemployed youths. The number of beneficiaries of the Youth Allowance provided by Seoul will be increased from 7,000 to 30,000 starting in March.

    Additionally, 5,000 youths who are deemed as owners of single-person households, aged between 19-39, living in Seoul, whose income is lower than 120% of the median income, can receive KRW 200,000 per month for monthly rental costs for up to 10 months.

    The “Seoul Love Voucher,” a mobile local currency of Seoul, will be issued and sold starting in January 2020. Associated with “Zero Pay,” the one-stop payment platform, the voucher can be used at the affiliated stores of Zero Pay in each autonomous district. A person can buy vouchers of up to KRW 1 million. Users of the vouchers can benefit from a 7% discount all year round and a 10% special discount during the early launching period and national holidays like Lunar New Year’s holidays.

    Breathing City: Bicycle Lane along Cheonggyecheon-ro, Seasonal Measures for the particulate matter Issue (Increase of Fees for Using Municipal Parking Lots, Establishment of Eco Mileage Special Points, etc)

    In the new year, riding a bike non-stop from Cheonggyecheon Stream past Jungnangcheon Stream to Hangang River will be possible as a circulating bicycle lane will be established on the two-way 5.5-km section between Cheonggye Plaza and Gosanjagyo Bridge. The bike lane will be open in October.

    Starting in January, among the areas with high generation of particulate matter, the areas where the facilities used by demographics susceptible to particulate matter, such as children, the elderly, and pregnant women, are concentrated will be designated as the “particulate matter control area (PM-free area)” with intensive control.

    According to the seasonal measures for the PM issue that will be operated from winter to early spring, for four months when the high concentration of particulate matter is generated, the year-round restriction of the operation of emission gas category 5 vehicles will be applied throughout Seoul in December following the revision of the Special Act on Particulate Matter Reduction and Management.

    From March, the municipal parking lots throughout Seoul will apply a 50-percent extra charge to emission gas category 5 vehicles and the municipal parking lots in the green traffic areas will apply 25-percent in extra charges for all vehicles around the nation. The second-day-no-driving system will be established for vehicles of administrative institutions and public facilities except for Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays. Starting in April, the installation of eco-friendly household boilers certified by the Ministry of Environment will become mandatory. Those who install the eco-friendly category 1 boilers can receive grants.

    The household that saved over 20% of energy during the PM high-concentration period will receive special points that amount to KRW 10,000 (10,000 in mileage).

    Starting in July, in detached house areas and commercial areas (apartment complexes not applicable), waste plastic bags, the material that is discarded most among the recyclable materials, will be allowed to be separately thrown away on Thursday. That is, on Thursdays, the discard of other recyclable waste is not allowed.

    Starting on January 15 (Wed.), 2020 Changing Life in Seoul will be available for everyone on the website of Seoul E-Book (http://ebook.seoul.go.kr) and Seoul Information Communication Plaza (http://opengov.seoul.go.kr), as well as the Seoul in your Palm (http://mediahub.seoul.go.kr), the representative portal for communication of Seoul. To catch a glimpse of the 58 projects, please read the issue of January 2020 (no. 208) of Seoul Love, a monthly magazine published by Seoul, or its official website (http://love.seoul.go.kr).