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Korea’s Strategies for Future Cities

The article “U-City: Future of urban planning, management”, published in the Korea Herald newspaper looks into the current status of Korea’s “Ubiquitous City” (U-City) initiative and tries to identify its vision, goals, strategies and other crucial factors that policymakers should take into account for the future of cities.

Kim Jung-Hoon, a research fellow of the National Infrastructure & GIS Research Division at the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements, mentions that there are an increasing number of local entities which are embracing the “Ubiquitous City” (U-City) as a core concept in their new residential development plans and citywide informatization projects. U-City is aimed at boosting urban competitiveness with digital and high-tech systems, making city management more efficient and enabling citizens to access necessary information anywhere, anytime.

According to the author, the prospects for Korea’s U-City industry look very bright. The country ranks fifth in the share of the global construction market and second in the ICT Development Index. Korea has a strong potential to lead the global market by taking advantage of its strength in both fields. It is time that the nation focused on enhancing its U-City capabilities including early localization of core technologies such as integrated platforms and mapping out comprehensive measures to support the industry.

To promote the industry at the national level, the Korean government has finalized the first Comprehensive U-City Plan (2009-2013) outlining the policy vision, basic direction, national steering systems and strategies and key tasks for each developmental phases. This plan has three policy goals:

  1. Effectiveness of urban management: The plan aims to establish high-tech urban spaces and intelligent city management systems by integrating U-City technologies into urban infrastructure facilities.
  2. Foster as new growth power industry: The U-City industry will be promoted as a new growth engine to enhance national competitiveness and create jobs.
  3. Advanced urban services: The plan also looks to improve the quality of life through U-City-based urban services including finely customized services for residents.

To achieve these goals, the government has established four implementation strategies -each with a detailed list of tasks. The strategies relate to preparation of institutions, development of core technology, support for industry growth and creation of sensible service.

  1. Preparation of institutions: The government seeks to promptly consolidate a comprehensive institutional basis for the industry regarding planning, construction and management.
  2. Development of core technology: The government seeks to provide R&D supports early to localize and foster core source technologies.
  3. Support for industry growth: The government seeks to generate new jobs and boost national competitiveness by supporting and promoting the U-City industry.
  4. Creation of sensible service: The government seeks to improve living conditions through practical services.


Korea Herald “U-City: Future of urban planning, management”