|▲ Mapo District / Governor Donggyun Yoo|
The name Mapo came from one of the three inlets formerly called Mapo, Seoho and Yongho back in the days. The district longtime had been the center of water transport where grains from the three southern provinces were stored. Naturally, fishing villages were formed around the inlets.
Mapo District as of the year 2019 is rather famous for resident-centered policies such as housing welfare MH (Mapo housing), on/off line communication (Mapo 1st) and air pollution solutions. In addition, Mapo is the first district providing free school uniforms for milled schools and introducing attorney-at-law for whistleblowers as well as IOT-based shared car parking. <PowerKorea> met Governor Donggyun Yoo and had a talk.
1. It’s been a year since you took the office?
It has. I think I have had really valuable times engaging with residents for the last one year. I went to the field and heard their opinions, needs and wants. I’ve lived in the district since I was 14 and it’s been around 50 years now. I just feel honored that I can server for the district I grew up with.
2. What are the fruits you can be proud of so far?
I would like to point out Mapo 1st first. It is my on/off line resident-centered communication platform and my first election pledge to have fulfilled. I start the day by reading opinions and complaints of residents on Mapo 1st. Some of the suggestions have been put into action such as installing windbreaks in 32 bus stations during the winter and installing free fire extinguisher in disabled cars. July 2 this year, I held public gathering by inviting 200 residents in order to share opinions on making a better Mapo. I can proudly say that the district won the grand prize at the 2018 Provincial Government Policy Award and the bronze prize at the 2019 International Business Award in the marketing category.
3. Tells us about MH (Mapo housing)
The idea is to prevent underprivileged residents being pushed out to the street. People of my camp during the election campaign were negative as residents generally don’t want to like council house and I might lose votes on this as a result. Nevertheless, welfare for residents is my top priority and MH was needed to fulfill this. It is meaningful that council house was an exclusive property of the central government and cities but I took the initiative as the first district.
4. Who lives in MH?
9 households are benefiting from temporary shelters of MH at the moment. I was overwhelmed when I visited the family who moved in MH for the first time. The mother lived with two daughters in a small room, not a house, and the mother said that she couldn’t explain in words how happy they were since they moved into MH. On hearing this, I felt really rewarded. The district is planning to buy 10 households for MH this year and targets 95 households by 2022.
5. Clean environment is one of the hottest issues in the media today. Are you doing something in regard to?
Mapo is the first district to have introduced IOT-driven fine dust reduction benches. In line with, we are working on planting trees with a goal of 5 million trees in the district in a longer term perspective. Also, we are running find dust reduction certificate for apartment buildings and increasing the number of electric and hydrogen charging stations. The IOT-driven fine dust reduction benches especially are being benchmarked by other provincial governments. Last June, we planted large oak trees in 7 major towns including Sangam crossroad and Sinchon roundabout to make shades for people to avoid the sun and the heat during the summer. We will increase the number to 30 by 2022.
6. Tell us more about the tree planting.
More trees mean cleaner air. The district’s 5 million tree planting project by 2027 requires around $129 million budget and we are determined to make it happen for greener and cleaner district. The budget will be secured from availability, special subsidy tax and government subsidy. We already allocated $1.2 million budget this year and planting trees are done voluntarily among public servants on encouragement. We also are using the legal number of trees that must be followed when constructing building blocks.
7. Children always are an issue to be well taken care of when it comes to policy. What programs are you running?
The district provides financial support for postnatal care as well as single mom and single dad. It is notable that 48.7% are using public daycare centers in the district which is very high. Currently, we are building a public daycare center designed for children with parents working in small and medium companies or part time. For this, we’ve already purchased a spot near Gyeongui Line in Yeonnam-dong. When completed in March 2021, the daycare center will be 330m² big with 4 stories that can accommodate up to 85 children. In addition, we have introduced a couple of ordinances for children-friendly district and for after school care.
8. Mapo introduced first time projects such as free school uniforms and attorney-at-law for whistleblowers. Tell us more about it?
Nationwide, we introduced for the first time the IOT-driven fine dust reduction benches, Mapo font and tree planting. Seoul-wide, we are the first district to introduce free school uniforms for middle schools and opening of public toilets. Continuing the tradition, we are installing emergency decent in small houses for the first time nationwide at the moment. Small houses are excluded from legal emergency facilities so we brought up an ordinance for facility support last July. Installation fee is free and we are planning to install the device in 600 households by the end of the next year.
9. Tell us about your welfare programs.
I think one of the purposes of administration is to protect underprivileged in our society. In addition to the policies I’ve mentioned before, the district is constantly working on protection of job seeker’s right, prevention of irregularities on hiring, women’s center to deal with sexual offence report and support for artists. The Care SOS Center in particular is being run in all 16 community centers in the district since July this year and specialists in the center pay a visit on receiving a call to provide necessary care services for those who are in need. For this, the district opened a care support division and has signed business agreements with 32 care providers within the district.
10. Mapo District has rich tourism resources. How are you making must of it?
Tourism is a good resource to activate regional economy. The Mapo Publishing Promotion Center is set to open January next year and the Danginri Power Plant is reborn as a cultural power plant. Also coming in line is a cultural complex around the retarding reservoir. These three are expected to play the cultural hubs in the district. August this year, the district opened a tourism job division in line with our 5 Year Tourism Promotion Plan in which we will pour around $17 million in 40 detailed projects until 2023.
11. Lastly, any comments for residents?
Mapo watches down the Han River, breathes through the Sky Park, sends the sun through the Sunset Park and circulates blood through Gyeongui Line. The 5 million trees in the district will make Mapo the cleanest eco-friendly district nationwide when completed in 2027. I served as Mapo District Council member twice and Seoul Metropolitan City Council member 4 times. I know how the district and city is run and I will make most of my knowledge and experience to make a better and happier Mapo District.
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