|▲ Mayor Kim Sun-gab|
Gwangjin District is located on the north bank of the Han River. It is fronting Cheongdam-dong in Gangnam District and Jamsil in Songpa District right across the river while leaning its back to Acha Mountain. Under the vision ‘Green and Cultural City, Harmonizing Human and Nature’, the mayor Kim Sun-gab and his staff and residents all alike have worked in one mind to achieve this vision through urban development, multi-directional welfare policies and people centered living environment alongside its ongoing plans of underground subway line 2, 50 plus policy and 50+ support. The mayor Kim majored in social welfare and wrote <Seoul, Finding Hope in Social Economy> and <How to Live After 50?>. The monthly biz and culture magazine <Power Korea> had an interview with him.
1. Tell us about your goals to achieve.
Firstly, I would like to raise the brand value of the district and it requires redevelopment. The Jayang-dong redevelopment promotion area 1 around Guui station comes top priority regarding this as it already has taken 13 years without substantial results. The project, however, has passed the Environment Effects Evaluation of Seoul Metropolitan City January this year.
The groundbreaking will take place within the latter half of the year and the new 18 storey Gwang District Office and 10 administration, commercial, business and housing blocks will be completed by 2023 if it goes well according to our plan. I expect this new area will be a hub of IT, culture and marketing on which I intend to create job for young people and to activate local economy.
Secondly, I’m working on building a general medical complex in Junggok-dong which is due to complete by early next year. Although a medical complex, it will embrace the administrative part and social services and it will contribute to activating the economy in the area also.
2. What is your safety policy for the residents?
The importance of safety cannot be emphasized enough. Whenever I roam through the district, I’m kind of always obsessed with ‘safety’ and ‘cleanliness’. Regular safety check is being carried out with particular interest in construction sites, underground drilling and sloping areas as well as gas equipment and possible leakage areas, fire vulnerable areas and possible short circuit areas. Regarding filming women without them knowing, we run a team of women sheriff who inspect around 526 hiddencam-danger zones in particular the restrooms. Also, the district runs a team of safety guides for women going back home from work at night as well as a women-friendly post box.
3. Tell us about ‘PR Center’.
We opened the PR Center last October in order to communicate more effectively with residents. The staff of PR pays a visit to a group of 15 residents to explain the policies and projects of the district and gather their feedback through Q&A sessions. If the issue requires particular attention, the division head of the issue directly pays a visit to engage with the residents. The visit is taken place 3 times a month and has received a positive response from residents in Gwangjang-dong, Junggok 3 – dong, Hwayang-dong, Jayang 3 – dong and Neung-dong so far.
4. How is the undergrounded subway line 2 project going?
The discussion about burying the sections of the overground subway line 2 to underground started in 1995 but the money problem always played negatively. The project is estimated about USD 1.7 billion. The plan to secure this fund now is that Seoul Metropolitan City gets from the government the compensation for the loss occurred by free subway ride of aged over 65 while we invite private investment in developing the Konkuk University station area as a commercial complex to generate the fund to pay back. Meanwhile, we have ordered a feasibility study for underground subway line between the Hanyang University and Jamsil station sections with an expectation of a positive result.
5. What is your welfare policy for aged above 50?
80,102 residents are registered aged over 50 as of January this year. It is 22.6% of the whole number of the residents in the district. This 50+ group has experience and high will of keep contributing to activation of economy like they did in their younger age. So the district intends to use the most of their skill and experience through our 50+ team and the committee which already has introduced related ordinances last October. The role of the team, consisted of 50+ planners, and the committee is to support those 50+ to open a successful second phase of life both in finance and health. Fostering women horticulture therapists is a good example of the jobs of these 50+ planners.
6. Any comments to residents?
‘Practicality’ is the keyword of our administration. As for the year 2019, we have mapped out of this ‘practicality’ in the areas of urban redevelopment, welfare, jobs, safety and education. I and my staff cannot achieve this but we, the residents, leaders of organizations and the specialists in each sector, can surely make it happen. Let me remind us all of our vision again: ‘Green and Cultural City, Harmonizing Human and Nature’.
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