Seoul, which has achieved rapid economic growth and urban development, is aiming to become a sustainable smart city as a base for the comfortable and safe living of its 10 million citizens.
Centrally located in the western part of the Korean Peninsula, Seoul is a city with an excellent natural environment with 41.5km of the Hangang River passing through the city and 27% of its total area being public green space. It is also the center of politics, economy and culture with a long history as the capital of Korea for 600 years, and it is the heart of Korea’s economy that accounts for 23% of the country’s gross domestic production.
In 2016, Seoul was visited by more than 13 million foreign tourists and was ranked third in the world in the number of international conferences hosted, according to the UIA. Seoul has been also ranked first among 100 major cities for the seventh consecutive time since 2003 in the e-government evaluation conducted by Rutgers University in the United States, earning recognition as the world’s leading ‘smart’ city.
Seoul was nothing but ruins of war in the 1950s, a city of poverty with its GNP per capita standing at only USD 82. It suffered from environmental pollution and infectious diseases. Within just 3-4 decades after the end of the Korean War, Seoul has grown into a mega city where some 10 million people live comfortably. It has solved various urban problems such as slums, housing shortage, water shortage, garbage, traffic congestion and security problems in a short amount of time. Seoul has now developed into a smart sustainable city.
This development experience and knowledge of Seoul will serve as an important intellectual asset that helps many cities in its early urbanization get through without experiencing hardship. Thus, the City of Seoul has launched the “Seoul’s Policy Sharing Initiative” with an aim to share its development experiences and knowledge with other cities around the world. Under the Initiative, Seoul carries out various projects such as its overseas partner cities’ capacity�building ogram, policy consulting, expert dispatch, and knowledge sharing on and offline.
Seoul plays a leading role in promoting the global city development agenda as the chair city of WeGO, CITYNET and ICLEI. Seoul also joined forces with UN ESCAP and CITYNET to build ‘the Urban SDG Knowledge Platform’ and take the lead in sharing knowledge among cities around the world. Seoul hopes that such efforts will contribute to creating sustainable communities in cities around the world.