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  • Seoul Metropolitan Government Town Community Project: A Year’s Worth of Performance

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    Seoul Metropolitan Government held on July 16 a session for the presentation of activities carried out for the Town Community Project and a panel discussion on the occasion of the first anniversary of the project, with over 200 people attending including Mayor Park Won-soon, experts, and ordinary people.

    Part 1 of the session (Talk Concert) included a talk session on seven village communities, exhibit, and performance to encourage those interested in the easy-to-participate-in, interesting activities.

    □ Rainbow Moms, an amateur stage play team consisting of housewives in Gangbuk-gu, is a case of housewives sharing childcare experiences together by developing them into community activities. The team visits one childcare facility after another to hold a stage play (currently Grandma’s Mirror) using props they made by themselves.

    □ Changsin-dong Radio Deom: Changsin-dong is a neighborhood full of small-scale sewing factories. Deom is a village radio broadcast launched by a few villagers considering such characteristics of the village. Articulate middle-aged women are featured in the radio broadcast, entertaining villagers as they talk about common subjects. Note that these women strive for self-actualization and to do something for others, taking time out of their daily lives while most housewives engage in housework and raising children.

    □ Town Carpenter, a village business in Seongbuk-gu, is operating a workshop to repair dilapidated houses. The activities it carries out help create jobs for senior citizens. It also operates a village café in an effort to foster a friendly atmosphere among villagers. The chairs made by them at the event will be donated to welfare facilities.

    □ Yechangil is a group of young people in their 20s who carry out diverse activities, such as village school, cultural performances, and village festivals, in cooperation with store owners, artists, and other villagers. At the event, the members performed a stage play designed to make many people think about the meaning of community life.

    □ Book Reading Villagers is a village café operated by volunteering housewives. The members also carry out diverse activities, such as village lectures and festivals. They talked about how to operate the book café while enjoying refreshments.

    □ Ippen Haus in Sinjeong-dong, Yangcheon-gu is a group of villagers who hold a regular meeting to discuss how to live better in the neighborhood, including disputes over noises from neighbors in apartments. Recently, they distributed PET bottle flower pots made by children to villagers, which was lauded as an activity designed to foster friendship among villagers.

    □ Sogeumgil (Salt Way) in Yeomni-dong is a case that drastically improved the atmosphere of crime-prone back alleys through a crime prevention project. Six houses are designated as Salt Way Watchers (identified with easily noticeable yellow gates and equipped with emergency bells and Internet protocol cameras). In addition, a group of volunteers make rounds to ensure safety in the back alleys at night.

    In Part 2 (Citizens’ Panel Discussion), experts and activists discussed how to develop the ongoing Town Community Project. Seoul City started the ongoing Town Community Project in 2012 in an effort to rebuild friendship among villagers. For 2013, the city will provide 22.2 billion won for 22 related programs.