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  • Seoul Plaza Turns into a Venue for Offline Discussions of Online-Suggested Policies

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    From September 20-21, 2019, Seoul Plaza will turn into a grand-scale venue for an offline discussion of policies suggested by citizens online. Seoul will be hosting 2019 Together Seoul Policy Fair in Seoul Plaza under the theme, “Democratic Seoul, Whenever and Wherever.” It will be a large-scale discussion festival in which regular citizens will be able to participate. Celebrating its 8th anniversary this year, the event was first introduced based on the idea of Almedalen Week, a unique political dialogue forum held in Sweden.

    Seoul renovated the fair this year by utilizing the online democratic platform, Democracy Seoul (democracy.seoul.go.kr). Until last year, the policies were suggested by citizens on-site through handwritten propositions. From this year, five discussion sections will be operated focusing on the topics that received more comments or likes among those registered on the Democracy Seoul platform. Each section will offer seats for about 100 participants.

    The five topics are ▴ Becoming a Policymaker for Seoul, ▴ A Debate on Seasonal Measures for the Particulate Matter Problem, ▴ 2019 City Governance Share, ▴ A Discussion on Community and Democracy, and ▴ Seoul Citizens’ Deliberation of the Budget.

    Becoming a Policymaker for Seoul: Children and adolescents can spend a meaningful time participating in an on-site discussion on the topic of the “right to play.” Developed suggestions will be uploaded on Democracy Seoul, the platform of citizens’ opinions.

    A Debate on Seasonal Measures for the Particulate Matter Problem: Citizens will participate in discussion of the environmental field, the sector in which citizens have actively proposed their opinions on Democracy Seoul, particularly on measures to reduce particulate matter. This section is to listen to citizens’ opinions before introducing seasonal measures for the particulate matter problem in December and to form a social consensus on Seoul’s countermeasures.

    2019 City Governance Share: Citizens will debate a variety of issues, including ▴the building of a trustworthy safety net among learning places outside the school, ▴ how to preserve and utilize Seoul’s cultural properties and future heritages, ▴ the operation of noisy libraries for slow learners, ▴ the vitalization project for playgrounds following the 2019 city governance, ▴ the fostering of a public-private cooperation culture for the management of sustainable urban forests, and ▴ the construction of the “local tailor-made early intervention system” for the healthy development of infants according to their ages. The results of the discussion will be proposed on Democracy Seoul to connect the offline debate to the online democratic platform.

    A Discussion on Community and Democracy: Together with an expert in the areas of community and village, citizens will produce ideas for new policies through a process of discussion and debate on Seoul’s community policies, Seoul-type support for residents’ activities, and how to solve social issues in a community.

    Seoul Citizens’ Deliberation of the Budget: In this section, the “Citizens’ Deliberation of the Budget” system, which was launched by the city of Seoul this year, will be introduced. Citizens will participate in a lively discussion on how to encourage the participation of citizens in the deliberation process and to develop policies. The results of the pilot operation of the system will be shared as well.

    Based on the opinions and ideas produced in these sections, Seoul will host the Post Policy Fair in December 2019. The fair will become a venue to review the reports of related departments on how the discussed and suggested views of the citizens have been applied to the policies of Seoul and to hear the opinions of the citizens once again.