+ BACKGROUND, CHALLENGES AND OBJECTIVES
As various innovation subjects have rushed continuously in the Seongsu-dong area since 2012, Seongdong-gu needed to find ways to create social, economic, cultural and artistic values in cooperation and sharing with them, to create jobs, and to restore the local communities.
;In order to realize these necessities in earnest, Seongdong-gu investigated the social economy ecosystem including the public interest groups, social enterprises, and cultural arts groups in Seongsu-dong from July 2014, and tried to find concrete cooperation plans through several times of meetings and consultations with them. As a result, Seongdong-gu signed an agreement with Lotte Duty-free Shop and Arts & Community Network (ARCON) in January 2015 to create a creative public space which would be used for supporting self-support and growth of the socially underprivileged class. That was the beginning of the birth of the “Understand Avenue”.
Lotte Duty-free Shop donated KRW 10.2 billion as a social contribution fund, and Seongdong-gu and ARCON created an innovative and creative space to help the socially underprivileged people help themselves by installing 116 recycled containers at an idle site of about 4,126㎡ at the entrance of the Seoul Forest in Seongsu-dong. The space was opened in April 2016.
The Understand Avenue is a creative public cultural space created in cooperation of Seongdong-gu, ARCON Corp. and Lotte Duty-free Shop. Its goal is to be a strong support to help the vulnerable people help themselves through its humble attitude and efforts. The name “Understand” comes from the meaning of the space to support the underprivileged to “stand” on their own feet by themselves under the help of society by “lowering(under)” our selves.
It is a valuable achievement that Seongdong-gu made while taking Seongsu-dong as a local production base and making its efforts to create tailored jobs for youth and the career interrupted women and sustainable jobs by supporting the social enterprises. From the beginning stage of creation, it attracted the social attention as an innovative social contribution project made in coexisting cooperation of the private sector, the public sector, businesses and organizations.
+ ACTIONS AND IMPLEMENTATION
The Understand Avenue is not only an innovative space for creation to find the talent and potential abilities of the socially underprivileged and to support them to stand on their own feet, but also a complex cultural space that social activists, artists and other citizens can use freely.The 7 values of the people-centered ‘Understand Avenue’ are as follows; ▲ ‘Youth Stand’ that supports field education and employment for the growth and self-reliance of youth ▲ ‘Mom Stand’ that provides the multicultural families and career interrupted women with the opportunities of on-site training and jobs ▲ ‘Heart Stand’ that provides the emotional laborers with the healing service to reduce their stress and to increase life happiness index of their families through the ‘Arts-based Training’ ▲ ‘Art Stand’ that functions as a cultural space with low threshold and helps the creators realize their free imagination ▲ ‘Social Stand’ which is the multi-brand shop of the social enterprises and youth start-ups pursuing meaningful consumption through fair trade, eco-friendliness and creativeness ▲ ‘Power Stand’ as a hub space for the youth start-ups, and ▲ ‘Open Stand’ which is the pilot space to support the social enterprises, youth start-ups and artists of challenge. Each stand is organically combined and cooperatively operated. The space has become a facility to nurture the talents and dreams of youth, women, artists, social enterprises and local small businesses and to strengthen their abilities to propagate in the society.
Shinhan Bank has been operating the Sinhan Dudeurim Space, a social contribution program, since December 2017, based on the ‘cooperation agreement to support job creation for youth’ with the Ministry of Employment and Labor and the Korea Credit Guarantee Fund The main programs are Digital Life School to help start-ups, Dudeurim Matchmakers for employment training, Incubation Center to support childcare after starting businesses, Success Dudeurim Academy to support self-employed SOHO, Dudeurim Financial Consulting, and Data Innovation Center to support big data of Shinhan Bank and Amazon Web Service (AWS). Through these programs the bank provides youth with various tailored trainings, incubating and job position matching.
The provides the free youth start-up training program to help young people develop business items for social revolution and commercialize such items of the start-ups. It also provides the customized training program necessary for the start-ups including industry analysis, business model, legal and financial matters, branding and marketing, and over 80 times of close coaching. As the benefit of free training costs and additional benefits such as provision of space for store and office after completing the program became well-known, the school is in successful operation.
The Dudeurim Space not only supports the business start and job finding of youth but also provides the self-employed SOHO with necessary supports. For the self-employed SOHO, the program provides educations on customer management, finance, business operation, promotion, marketing, and so on to help them have better networks, strengthen self-supporting ability, and experience success.
In addition to the programs to create jobs, the Understand Avenue provides citizens with cultural arts contents in diverse genres including plays, concerts and exhibitions through the Art Stand, the ‘cultural space with low threshold’. This year, it selected a total of 9 teams through the public contest to assign spaces for youth creators and exhibited the works of 19 artists with developmental disabilities. It also provided its space for the performances of fusion traditional Korean music, traditional Korean opera, and the plays of fresh directors and actors/actresses such as those of Theater Green Pig.
The Workshop located in the Social Stand is a meaningful consumption space you can come across while walking trails. The valuable products are introduced in that place. It is operated as a place to promote ethical consumption by introducing the products and activities of social enterprises, youth venture companies and artists.
The Workshop is also introducing the products in various kinds of brands that contain the public values of the society where people live together. The products in the fair trade brands such as ‘Smateria’ which is a brand of bags produced to provide better work environment and fair rewards for the Cambodian women are selling in the Workshop. Also, the products of the youth companies and the young designers, who need to produce small amount of products just in several kinds, are selling on consignment basis in the shape of multi-brand shop.
In addition, the Understand Avenue is holding music performances and other events a part of various outdoor festivals. The local residents participation typed flea market such as Flea Market Majuchijang (Young Creators Market) and Marche as a market for the urban farmers are giving fun and pleasure to people visiting the space.
+ OUTCOMES AND IMPACTS
The ‘Understand Avenue’ surrounded by 116 colorful containers became a ‘hot place of Seongsu-dong’ with 1.5 million visitors a year in three years after its opening in April 2016.
The Understand Avenue is playing a role as a space of hope to create a warm future through ethical consumption or consumption with concept with the vulnerable classes that need social consideration, young artists, youth, and local residents. It has a virtuous cycle structure that reinvests the profits into the self-reliance program for the socially underprivileged, evolving to a model of the sustainable cooperative sharing economy.
+ REPLICABILITY AND SCALABILITY
The Understand Avenue was invited to the ‘Responsible Business Forum; Building a new economic model for the 21st Century’ held on May 13~14, 2016 at Oxford University, the UK. During the Forum, the Understand Avenue was introduced as the most anticipated project in 2016 in front of the global enterprises such as Unilever and Danone. It was favorably received as a ‘global model that can spread to other countries and regions’ thanks to the idea that solve the issue of self-reliance of the vulnerable classes in the aspect of culture in cooperation of public sector, private companies and NGOs.
In a situation where the world economy is in a low growth stage, it will be a small but important step in raising the sustainability of the world to spread the sustainable sharing economy model such as the Understand Avenue that cultivates the vulnerable classes to be talented people with ability, reinvest profits into the programs for the socially underprivileged and restores hope of life to them, rather than giving one-time support for them.