“Seoul has achieved rapid economic development since the end of the Korean War, yet economic inequality and other side effects continue to aggravate societal divides and present other challenges. Thus Seoul declared that it would pursue ‘economic democratisation’ to create a more just and fair society and to achieve sustainable growth in the future. Seoul is committed to cooperating closely with cities around the world to advocate for inclusive growth.”
– Mayor Park Won Soon
Won Soon Park was elected mayor of Seoul in October 2011, then re-elected four years later. During his campaign, Park, ahuman rights-lawyer and social activist, coined the phrase the “listening mayor”, an approach to government that would colourall activities of his Seoul administration in which “citizens are the mayor.” After stepping into the political arena, Park hasalways stressed that he belongs neither to the left nor the right but to the citizens, making utmost efforts in setting achievablepolicy goals and disseminating messages of hope across the city. Mayor Park has long advocated for those without a voice,having served on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, run the Beautiful Foundation, and founded the Hope Institute, allefforts towards creating a more equitable and inclusive Korean society.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government recently implemented the “Youth Allowance” policy to offer financial support and equal opportunities to young adults by enabling them to focus on finding jobs and building a better future. The policy is drafted based on the opinions collected through a series of meetings and conferences with young people and experts on what young people most desperately need. In August this year, the SMG launched a pilot Youth Allowance program to offer 500,000 won (approx. USD 450) per month up to 6 months to a total of 3 000 unemployed, low-income young individuals. The SMG is also pursuing a 5-year program called the “2020 Seoul Youth Guarantee” which will invest approximately USD 625 million in a total of 20 projects in four areas: youth allowance, jobs, housing, and facilities, all aiming to provide comprehensive support to young people in social blind spots.
– Youth Guarantee: Youth Allowance, Program to support the payment of interests on college student loans, Double Hope Bankbook, etc
– Jobs for Youth: New Deal Jobs, Challenge 1000, and other job-related projects
– Housing for Youth: Plan to supply 4 440 public rental housing for young people by 2018
– Spaces for Youth: Youth Field, Zero Gravity Zone, and other Youth Hub facilities