Seoul should work on bolstering global competitiveness

2023.07.04 12:17:01 | 2023.07.04 13:43:53

Seoul Major Oh Se-hoon smiles at a press conference held in Seoul on July 3. [Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

Seoul Major Oh Se-hoon smiles at a press conference held in Seoul on July 3. [Photo by Yonhap]



Marking the first anniversary of taking office on Monday, Seoul Major Oh Se-hoon vowed to raise the city’s competitiveness by making it more attractive based on the key philosophy of accompanying the vulnerable group.

The past one year is evaluated as a period of establishing the foundation for “solidarity” and “attractiveness” of Seoul as stated in Mayor Oh’s slogan, “A Globally Attractive City, Going Together With the Socially Neglected.”

Seoul’s policymaking, in particular, which focuses on solidarity with the marginalized has been set out in a variety of initiatives, such as the “Safety Income Pilot Project,” a potential Korean model of basic income, “Seoul Learn” that provides students of low-income households with online education opportunities, and “High-quality Public Rental Housing,” a housing project designed to bolster the housing safety net among vulnerable groups.

Such achievements in solidarity with the socially neglected led Major Oh to join Champion Mayors designated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In his effort to enhance Seoul’s allure, Mayor Oh has pushed for the resumption of long-halted urban development initiatives such as Han River Renaissance 2.0 and Design Seoul 2.0.

In addition, citywide reconstruction and skyscraper construction projects have been underway rapidly as outdated regulations hindering urban development, including the 35-floor cap, have been lifted under Oh.

Seoul is getting back on track after a decade of backward policing.

Major Oh has made pledges to make Seoul one of the world’s top five cities and attract 30 million foreign tourists.

However, the largest city in South Korea has a long way to go.

Seoul ranked seventh in the Global Power Index in 2022 published by the Japanese Mori Memorial Foundation, a global evaluation of major cities worldwide. London came first, followed by New York, Tokyo, Paris, Singapore, and Amsterdam.

Seoul needs to outpace Singapore and Amsterdam to rank fifth.

Seoul cannot become a more competitive and attractive city if it sticks to the existing crowded skyline filled with towering skyscrapers. The city needs to overhaul its aging districts with a shift toward investments in infrastructure.

It should also build a reputation as the world’s best city for startups to attract promising startups from all over the world.

Mayor Oh should stay focused on his goals of making Seoul competitive throughout his term.

By Editorial Team

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