With smart city technology, South Korea hopes to overhaul its economic growth

During his recent visit to China, U.S. President Donald Trump made the contentious remark about being able to do “a lot of damage” to North Korea’s economy. But for the Korean government, dealing with poverty is a far more important concern — and one that has enjoyed increasing U.S. support in recent years. On Wednesday, South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, traveled to Samsung’s headquarters in Suwon to announce plans for a 10-minute city that is designed to improve services and infrastructure for millions of South Koreans.

Kim Jong-sik, chief executive of Suwon Smart City Development Corporation, revealed plans for the city that will be equipped with smart sensors. These sensors will be able to communicate with vehicles, luggage and buildings, and control residential air conditioning, lighting and ventilation. “The smart city will be able to guarantee a comfortable environment and reduce the rate of environmental pollution,” said Kim.

The move is a big shift for South Korea’s government. The country has spent years working to eliminate poverty by investing in social welfare and health care, but Smart City focuses on making everything in a city, from energy systems to traffic, more efficient. Kim argues that a major obstacle to making the city more efficient is the fact that South Korea has very strict property restrictions that limit how much space a community can develop. Many Korean cities limit the number of homes that can be built at one time. In theory, the 10-minute city will help speed up construction because it will be able to house several buildings on one piece of land.

With the country concerned about maintaining a sustainable budget in the face of growing domestic debt, such improvements to infrastructure are the key to maintaining the country’s economic growth. Although South Korea is a strong, wealthy country, it still has a very small percentage of the population that has access to the services and opportunities to enjoy the benefits of economic development. The country wants to achieve global financial inclusion, as President Moon described it during his visit. A new city, with better services and efficiency, would likely further bolster the country’s economic growth.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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