SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, December 22, 2020 — The Seoul Metropolitan Government will open the first Universal Design Center by a local government, specializing in discrimination-free design welfare for all. The center, located in the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, will involve the participation of experts in the fields of architectural, urban, and spatial design.
The city, which has been developing its “Universal Design” concept for the past decade, aims to set up a comprehensive design for the public sector that will address the needs of all citizens, regardless of age, gender, disability, or nationality.
All facilities scheduled for construction or renovation by the city will be required to adopt these Universal Designs starting next year. The center is ready to offer consultations on the best ways to apply the designs and better improve structures. The city plans to implement the experience and manuals gleaned from the center and apply them to other similar projects.
The city plans to kick off a specialist advisory group and a citizen participation group to reflect suggestions from experts and residents hailing from a wide range of demographics and sectors. It will also launch promotional activities and educational campaigns to induce and encourage public awareness of Universal Design.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government will also seek active participation from state-run corporations, such as Seoul Housing & Communities Corp. (SH) and the Seoul Public Agency for Social Service, as well as numerous private companies, aiming to undertake collaborative projects involving the public and private sectors as well as industry and academia.
The city aims to establish its Universal Design that accommodates the whole community as a new industrial standard, at a time when COVID-19 has forced us headlong into a non-face-to-face society, which has been especially challenging for socially vulnerable groups such as the elderly and the handicapped.
The recording of the center’s inauguration ceremony released on its YouTube channel on Decerber 22, in which Seo Jung-hyup, Acting Mayor of Seoul, proclaim a “Declaration of Seoul as a Universal Design City.”
This declaration is the city’s pledge and resolve to expand the Universal Design philosophy to all areas of the city’s administration, and to help establish it as a post-pandemic standard. Under the vision of “Seoul, where people come first, and everyone is respected,” it details the city’s plans to ▲ provide open communication and participation ▲ to encourage the spread of a practical design culture ▲ to establish and circulate an all-inclusive design standard and ▲ to create spaces that are safe and convenient for all.
* Seoul Universal Design Center’s YouTube Channel:
The Seoul Metropolitan Government will proclaim the center’s policy slogan of “A Tomorrow for Everyone” and promote a roadmap for its public design policy.
“The Seoul Universal Design Center will strive to create urban spaces for all citizens, regardless of their sensibilities, physical or cultural circumstance, seeking opportunity for change within a collaborative framework involving the public, private, academic and industrial sectors, and to ensure that Universal Design becomes a “beneficial design that the public can identify with,” entrenched in our daily lives,” said Choi Ryung, Director of Seoul Universal Design Center, defining the vision and aspirations of the center’s projects.
“A Universal Design from the perspective of those who are socially vulnerable becomes no longer a choice but an imperative in a post-COVID-19 era, which has been comparable with The Great Transition.” said Acting Mayor Seo. “With the opening of the center, the city plans to spearhead a nation-wide use of design welfare that caters to everyone without discrimination, and to ensure that it becomes a post-pandemic standard.”