Smart Seoul in the 21st Century: Managing the expectations of a digitally advanced citizenry

Authors: Sofia T. Shwayri*, University of California, Berkeley
Topics: Communication, Asia, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Digital, smart city, e-government, Seoul,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Studio 5, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Advanced digital technology is enabling governments, corporations and citizens to reimagine the planning and management of the urban environment. The smart city is reconfiguring the roles played by both governments and governed, driving the renegotiation of these relationships. Governance of the smart city has recently emerged as one of the key components in addressing both the challenges and opportunities presented by urban practice. Ranked first in the world in e-government for the 10th consecutive time, Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has transformed its services away from a supply-side, top-down approach to one that is more demand driven and bottom-up, making its citizens ‘prosumers’ of urban policies. The SMG efforts to create a safe, secure and healthy Seoul features the fast-adaptation of digital technology that has transformed a traditional, largely opaque, system of communicating grievances to government into today’s system that engages citizens in a largely transparent policy-making process through active participation. Continued feedback has seen this morph into a platform that enables uninterrupted collaboration between stakeholders to address everyday urban issues down to district level, and to participate in the budgetary process. This synergy between the virtual and the physical in Seoul has been enabled by strong leadership determined to create a competitive, citizen-centric metropolis utilizing decades of national ICT policies while dealing with developmental era legacies. This paper will detail how the nexus of leadership, technology and policy has in 10 years moved the smart city concept up from technological platform to complex urban system driven by smart growth principles.

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