The Korea Herald


City becomes attractive when social minorities are empowered: Seoul mayor

By Lee Jung-joo

Published : Nov. 23, 2023 - 15:49

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Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon delivers a speech at The Korea Herald’s Global Business Forum held at the Mondrian Seoul Itaewon Hotel on Wednesday. (The Korea Herald) Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon delivers a speech at The Korea Herald’s Global Business Forum held at the Mondrian Seoul Itaewon Hotel on Wednesday. (The Korea Herald)

Strengthening social minorities and developing a city’s competitiveness should not be considered separately from each other when establishing city policies and development projects, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said at a forum on Wednesday.

“The Seoul Metropolitan Government aims to accompany and assist social minorities while transforming Seoul into a more attractive and appealing city for everyone,” said Oh at the Global Business Forum hosted by The Korea Herald.

Oh presented a set of policies being run by the city government targeted toward low-income earners, one of which was the Seoul Learn Project -- an online education platform that helps young people with limited access to academic resources due to social and economic issues.

“One ongoing issue that many OECD countries face is narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor, and this income gap is especially evident in South Korea within the educational sector,” Oh explained, referring to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. “I believe that by improving social standings and providing equitable opportunities through Seoul Learn, we will be able to target the income gap in Seoul to become narrower in the years to come.”

Oh also talked about the Seoul Safety Income Project, which is a policy experiment on helping households whose earnings fall below the median outcome. Ultimately, the project aims to create a new welfare model to address income inequality in the long run.

To develop Seoul’s competitiveness and enhance its appeal, Oh pointed toward Seoul’s development projects targeting the cultural and entertainment sectors -- such as the city’s plans to build a domed baseball stadium and convention center in Jamsil by 2031 and to build a six-story art gallery at Seoripul Park in Seocho-gu by 2027.

“These days, many people from all over visit Seoul thanks to the positive brand image it received from various Korean-made content,” said Oh. “I don’t want anyone to go back saying that Seoul didn’t meet up to their expectations. These development projects were proposed to help Seoul meet up to these visitors’ standards and to make it last for a long time."

Besides the city’s cultural power, Oh also pointed toward Seoul’s financial competitiveness and how it placed 10th on the Global Financial Centers Index in March for its infrastructure and reputation like the city’s brand image and appeal.

“We recently released a new city slogan, also known as 'Seoul My Soul,'” Oh added. “The idea behind the slogan is that collective citizenship within the city will help create a better Seoul. Collective citizenship will not only help develop an internationally competitive city, but also help assist in lessening social minority numbers.”