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Urban SDG

Seoul Human Town

clock2016-11-21 | Seoul
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Policy Overview

Policy Title
Seoul Human Town
City
Seoul
Country
Republic of Korea
Region
East Asia
Implementation Period
  • - Status : Completed
  • - Start : 2008
  • - Completion : 2011
Themes
  • - Urban Planning
  • - Housing
  • - Energy
  • - Social inclusiveness and Well-being
  • - Environment and Resilience
Stakeholders / Partners
-

Relatated Sustainable Development Goals:

  • - Goal 1 : End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • - Goal 3 : Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • - Goal 9 : Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  • - Goal 11 : Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Background, Challenges & Objectives

The launch of large-scale demolition and development projects including redevelopment and reconstruction 
In Seoul inferior residential areas sprang up in hill areas or riversides, due to there not being enough homes. These residential areas arose from the rapid population inflow that resulted from industrialization and urbanization. In the 1970s, Seoul implemented residential home improvements, while the public sector reorganized the infrastructure in inferior residential areas. After that, commissioned redevelopment projects using a total home demolition mode, which was carried out by commissioned private construction companies, were adopted. Actually, at first, the redevelopment projects had been implemented to solve financial problems and expand residents’ participation using loans from abroad.  After 1983, as a joint redevelopment mode (land owners offer land by forming an association, and construction companies pay the redevelopment project cost) was adopted. The project was conducted in a total demolition mode by the private sector.

Problems with the redevelopment project that was led by the private sector 
Consequently, many homes were supplied in the short-term through the home redevelopment project, which built large-scale APT complexes and totally demolished existing homes. However, cheap homes for ordinary city dwellers were demolished, and thus, a vicious cycle continued. Poor tenants among the native residents did not resettle and move away to other inferior homes, and in turn, their inferior homes were demolished and redeveloped. This mode of redevelopment was linked to the destruction of a Korea’s feature of alleys in the low-rise residential areas. The community collapsed, and the new homes became almost as uniform as apartments. Therefore, serious problems emerged in the residential diversity aspect. As development profits returned to home owners, the project formed a standpoint of regarding "home" as a subject of speculation, rather than viewing it as a living space.

Relatively high priced apartments were built along with the destruction of the low-rise dwellings of ordinary people 
As this mode of home redevelopment was active in the existing towns, apartments in Seoul accounted for 58.7% in 2010. 99% of the homes supplied through reconstruction projects were apartments. However, as redevelopment that was focused on profitable mid/large-sized high priced apartments continued, without considering the native resident’s income level, the small-sized home supply fell. Among the total annual home supply, 71% are apartments, and the negative image of Seoul as being “a city of apartments” is deepening.

New direction avoiding apartments-centered housing supply
Housing redevelopment projects, which were centered on apartments for the past 40 years, negatively affected ordinary people’s residential stability, including the loss of local characteristics, community destruction, urban landscape damage, uniform types of dwelling, and the disappearance of low rise homes. Most low-rise home areas are waiting to be transformed into apartment complexes, and the vicious cycle of neglecting outdated dwellings is repeated, without an effort to reorganize residential areas into villages that are good to live in. Now is the time to recognize the value of low-rise residential areas and ordinary urban dwellers’ residential bases. The following development models are urgently required: low-rise residential areas should be protected from indiscreet total demolition for the coexistence of various types of dwelling for sound urban development and various income brackets’ pleasant residential living. Low-rise residential areas should be preserved and managed to remain as villages that are good to live in.

Policy Details

Actions & Implemention

Residents’ participation was promoted through various contests for Seoul's citizens and students
Seoul focused on the means to promote residents’ voluntary participation in order to attract the general public’s continuous interest in Seoul Human Town, and spread the culture of building humane villages. The city of Seoul selected the areas for which the Seoul Human Town project’s effects may be huge among the target areas. This was applied by autonomous districts, and implemented pilot projects. In 2008, the invitation for applying for project target areas was publicly sent out, and the Target Area Selection Deliberation Committee was organized with relevant experts on Nov. 21, 2008. In this manner, pilot project areas were selected. For smooth project implementation, there was a principle to select areas, in which large scale development plans were not established in the concerned area or adjacent area within 5 years among residential areas that can minimize development pressure, or type 1 general residential areas, where infrastructure is relatively good, and a small scale detached houses area with about 100 households. The city of Seoul then let local residents organize resident councils through a district unit plan, and established a method to support its operation and plan to establish the public facilities that were required by the residents. The city also plans to improve the environment including alley design. In addition, the city of Seoul assisted in the budget to implement the planned projects in the second phase of the plan. The city also held two contests that students participated in. It did so in order to discover new project target areas and to promote the general public’s interest and attention. Through all this, the Seoul Human Town project is being carried out by targeting selected villages.
 
The Human Town Project has been established through residents’ participation.
Due to rapid industrialization and urbanization in the past, the city of Seoul has tried to shift from a top-down mode, through which the public sector uniformly establishes plans and actualizes them, to a resident-led mode for this project. Seoul Human Town is hugely meaningful in that residents take part in their residential area management. It plans and shapes through cooperative governance between residents and administration beyond the redevelopment mode, which in the past caused conflicts with existing residents. Towards this end, a residential council, composed of residents, experts, and administration officials, was organized in each selected area as a window for dialogue and communication. The experts from the relevant fields were commissioned as master planners, and more than 20 resident council meetings were held. Also, through PR, including resident education and sending out leaflets, the residents were encouraged to present their opinions.

Impact and Replication

The Seoul Human Town project has contributed to solving village problems and turning the villages into attractive places by the public sector improving the villages and presenting a planned management direction in improving the environment of the low-rise residential areas. Also, the project hugely helped to form village community culture, and improve villages, where local residents can enjoy their life through continuous communication with villagers by discussing how to improve villages, how to change fences, and how to develop and maintain parks in the village planning process. The planning process through residents’ participation from the initial stages especially made the residents recognize that they are the owners of the residential areas and that they are the key management players. An opportunity to form a system to continuously manage low residential areas, and the possibility of residents’ autonomous management and participation were confirmed through community competence. When a community activation program, including social and economic regeneration, together with Seoul Human Town Project’s physical regeneration is developed and supported, the connection between policies and synergistic energy can be expected. This can be done through linking various projects that have been conducted targeting low rise residential areas by civic organizations and social activists. The community culture, formed in the process of shaping villages together, is likely to function as a driving force to build up future villages. The city of Seoul is committed to preserving the diversity of low-rise residential areas, maintaining the local area’s community and unique identity, building human towns that are centered on harmony between locality and residents, and also on humanity through continual institutional supplementation and communication with local residents.

Budget & Resources Allocated

The establishment of district plans will implement the Seoul Human Town Project 

The Seoul Human Town Project needs to diagnose village problems and present a direction to take via residents’ participation. For a successful project, a residents’ community culture needs to be formed through supporting resident convenience facilities by the public sector. To do so, the city designated pilot project areas, commissioned district plans and selected urban planning and architecture companies. In this manner, Seoul established district plans covering local problems, residents’ requirements, and a development direction over the span of about eight months.

Composition of the Seoul Human Town project and financial support 

To build a community center in the Seoul Human Town Project area, urban and residential environment reorganization funds were injected into the project and resident convenience facilities were assisted (about 2 billion KRW per district). To form an organization to implement the project, a City Reorganization Committee affiliated with the Housing HQ Residential Regeneration Planning Officer was organized. In addition, the Residential Environment Department was newly established, and a team was formed that was placed in charge of the project.

Organization of resident councils and the selection of master planners  

In Seoul, resident representatives were organized, centering on Tong and Ban heads in the local areas, to smoothly implement the Seoul Human Town Project. Also, resident councils, which were composed of residents, experts, and public agencies for establishing plans together, were formed, and about 10 council meeting sessions were held to discuss planning directions. By selecting master planners, they could play an assistant’s role from the standpoint of the residents, who should live and manage the area, in addition to the standpoint of the local administrative agencies. Also, an opportunity emerged to solve local residents’ complaints and distrust on the past top-down mode of urban management plans.

Further Information & Media

https://www.seoulsolution.kr/en/node/2068

Contact Information

  • Semin Kim
  • Manager[Seoul Metropolitan Government]
  • seoulpolicyshare@gmail.com
  • E-mail : semin.smg@gmail.com/ Tel : +82-2-2133-5289

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