The following are the five best cases of administration carried out by the districts (gu) of Seoul. Out of 46 model cases submitted by 25 districts, the best ones were selected through an impartial evaluation process by a panel of judges composed of administration experts and representatives of civic groups. Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to introduce the selected model cases of district administration to the citizens of Seoul, and have such administrative achievements applied to more districts.
No 1. Seodaemun-gu: Yonsei-ro Recreation Project
The “Shinchon Yonsei-ro Re-creation Project” is a case in which roads were changed from car-centered to people-centered environments. Through the exhaustive efforts of Seodaemun-gu Office, including the introduction of citizen-participatory governance and marathon meetings with street vendors, the Yonsei-ro area in Sinchon became an area accessible by public transportation only in January 2014.
Contrary to concerns, the project has been a resounding success, as is evident in not only citizen satisfaction levels but also the decrease in traffic accidents and revival of nearby commercial areas. According to the six-month progress report published by Seoul Metropolitan Government in July 2014, citizen satisfaction levels sharply increased from 12% to 70%, while the number of traffic accidents decreased by 34.5% from 2013. Also, with the increased flow of pedestrian traffic, the sales/transaction volume in commercial areas increased by 10.6%, and sales increased by 4.2%.
No 2. Seongdong-gu: Hi(gh) school! Employment Support Project
The “Employment Support Project,” which was begun in 2011, has one simple purpose: to create jobs filled by individuals based on practical ability rather than merely “spec” (colloquial abbreviation of “specification” that is often used by Koreans when referring to job qualifications). The main target of this project is high school graduates seeking employment. The project is helping to solve a variety of problems, including mismatches of job opportunities for youth, as can be seen in the serious imbalance in manpower supply and demand of small and medium-sized enterprises, excessive academic qualifications, and the tendency to seek employment only at conglomerate firms. The project also addresses problems such as the high level of employee turnover and short times spent working in one position, which are caused by the wide disconnect between academic and on-site work environments.
Many support programs have been conducted addressing a variety of these issues in 2014 alone, including the following: establishment and operation of private-public-academia consultative bodies at 19 schools to improve student employment potential, “corporate on-site experience” opportunities for 565 students, employment consulting for 1,602 students at 19 specialized high schools, the “Hope Job Tour” (participated by 750 job seekers and 82 companies), the “Job Hope Camp” for 350 high school students not planning to attend university, and a competition providing job seekers an opportunity to demonstrate their employment potential (currently being planned for 300 participants).
No 3. Dobong-gu: Old and Dilapidated Station Renovated for Citizens
The unused space inside Changdong Station, which has been a long-time eyesore since the lower floor of the station and surrounding areas were abandoned nearly 20 years ago, was renovated to create a resident-friendly space. This project was launched after listening to the opinions of local residents and convincing nearby street vendors of the benefits of renovation. The dim and aged lighting in the lower sections of the station was replaced with LED lighting, and cultural spaces were created for local residents, including a neighborhood book café, family café, PR center for Dobong Food Market Bank and social food-sharing enterprises, and the Happiness Sharing Store, a thrift shop that sells things such as second-hand clothing and school uniforms. Also, the support columns are being used as spaces to promote important people in the history of Dobong-gu.
No 4. Mapo-gu: Recycling Stations for Residential Areas
The “Recycling Stations for Residential Areas” project is a model case of not only recycling waste materials but also of creating added value, and even jobs, for local residents.
Recycling stations were installed in various residential areas, which lack the recycling facilities present in most apartment complexes, with each station operated by one resource manager (either a senior citizen who collects discarded paper for a living or a local resident). This project has not only significantly reduced the cost of collecting and transporting recyclable materials, but also created a source of profit from the sale of waste styrofoam, which is compressed and sold as ingots. Also, by giving each resource manager all sales profits derived from their respective recycling stations, the project is also contributing to the creation of stable jobs.
Having decreased the cost of collecting and transporting recyclable materials through the operation of these recycling centers, Mapo-gu has been able to save KRW 1.4 billion from its annual budget. The installation of a machine to process and reduce the volume of waste styrofoam has reduced the cost of collecting and transporting styrofoam by KRW 68 million per year, and also creates approximately KRW 170 million in profit from the sale of the styrofoam ingots. Also, a total of KRW 17 million has been paid to 100 senior citizens who collect and sell discarded paper for a living to supplement their income.
No 5. Seongbuk-gu: Shared Parking Lots for Rental Apartments
Seongbuk-gu, which suffers from a chronic shortage of parking space, is making use of unused parking spaces affiliated with SH rental apartments as a strategy for securing adequate parking space at a relatively low cost. Parking fees paid by non-apartment residents are applied to apartment maintenance fees, thereby reducing the monthly maintenance fees paid by apartment residents.
Opening up 200 unused parking spaces has had an effect similar to the construction of a new public parking lot, serving to reduce the budget by KRW 7.2 billion. In addition, the creation of shared parking spaces has strengthened relationships between residents, creating a sense of community. Finally, the profits earned from operating the shared parking lots have reduced the monthly apartment maintenance fees by KRW 3,850 per household.