SEOUL, April 14 (Korea Bizwire) — An increasing number of Seoul residents are expressing opposition to public welfare facilities amid fears that they could bring down housing prices in their community.
At the center of the rise of NIMBYism in recent years are rental apartments for young people.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government is undertaking a housing project near Yeongdeungpo-gu Office Station which will see two 19-storey buildings with five underground floors erected to provide affordable housing for young people.
Last week, a poster put up on a bulletin board at one apartment complex in Yeongdeungpo District in Seoul stirred up controversy after describing small studio apartments in the area proposed by the Seoul Metropolitan government as ‘housing of the poor’.
“The Seoul government is pushing for plans to build an apartment complex for poor people in the name of ‘helping young people with affordable rental housing’ just next to our apartments, where over 70 percent of the tenants will live in a single-person household in a five pyeong studio (16.5 square meters),” said the committee consisting of the apartment residents and dedicated to opposing the construction project.
Local residents argue the construction of a new rental apartment complex could result in a number of issues ranging from a drop in housing prices in the area to traffic problems, obstructed views and daylight, more chances of becoming a ghetto and a possible rise in crime.
Others also express safety concerns as the newly proposed construction involves basement excavation, which could cause problems in soft ground.
Pictures of the poster have since been shared by one local resident on Facebook, causing a public outcry over what many saw as a lack of empathy.
The local resident disagrees with the apartment’s emergency measure committee.
“This so called ‘emergency measure committee’ has been formed to collect signatures from the residents of my apartment complex and pit them against the rental apartments for young people near Yeongdeungpo-gu Office Station where Hi-Mart previously stood,” the frustrated local resident said.
“I was angry at the older generations blinded by greed who are showing this despicable behavior instead of helping and supporting the project, which is is designed to solve the housing issues for young people.”
Seoul currently has a number of ongoing construction projects to build affordable apartments for young people around subway stations across the city.
By easing floor area ratio restrictions and offering tax relief, construction companies can build apartments more cost effectively, which means the Seoul government can receive part of the property in exchange for land donation, apartment units that are then rented out to young tenants.
The Seoul government has planned to continue to build affordable rental apartments until 2022, accommodating a total of 80,000 young households, putting itself on a collision course with some local residents.
Last year, E-Land Group faced fierce opposition from residents over its affordable housing project for young people on land in Mapo District previously occupied by its office building.
In a similar incident, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon was met with opposition during a protest from local residents near Sillim Station where he okayed the building of rental apartments.
The average monthly rent price for a one-room studio around major universities in Seoul was estimated at 490,000 won as of last year, with the deposit costing nearly 14 million won on average, according to apartment rental app Dabang.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)