SEOUL, Oct. 25 (Korea Bizwire) – The Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced it has teamed up with London-based social enterprises Locality and Social Life to embark on new urban renewal projects.
The Seoul government signed a business agreement on Tuesday with both Locality and Social Life, social enterprises that successfully led urban restoration projects in the U.K., after officers from the companies visited South Korea earlier this month to give a workshop on resident-led urban restoration policy.
Locality is an exemplary organization that successfully led the restoration of Coin Street in London, and the Seoul government is hoping to learn how public organizations and local communities purchased abandoned land and empty buildings in the neighborhood for housing and business purposes, and used the profits for the good of the community.
Social Life is a social enterprise that provides consulting programs and conducts research to discover the best ways to redevelop local communities.
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon is thought to have been working with the two organizations since he was involved in civic group activities. Currently, the Seoul government has staff assigned to the two organizations for cooperation.
Tony Armstrong, who is the head of Locality, says he learned a stark difference between South Korea and the U.K. through the workshops. Unlike the U.K. where the minimum length of lease is 25 years, the poor conditions for tenants and the power imbalance between lessors and tenants in South Korea clearly marked a huge difference between the two countries, Armstrong said, while Locality is looking at different ways to work together with the Seoul government including training and labor dispatch.
David Moynihan, who is the Director of Projects at Social Life, said new research projects that uphold the values of community activities are necessary for Seoul, while showing interest in adopting similar methods used in London.
“We are looking at various joint projects through which the experience of urban restoration in London can be used to tackle similar issues facing Seoul,” Mayor Park said.
Ashley Song (email@example.com)