Smart city development projects in the Republic of Korea

Young-Sang Choi


Research relevance. The article discusses the experience of South Korea in the sphere of smart city projects. The study's relevance is determined, on the one hand, by the role smart cities play in the creation of the new urban living space, in enhancement of urban economy and, on the other, by the need to analyze and systematize the best practices of smart city development. 

Research aim. The study describes the development of the 'smart city' concept in South Korea. Smart city is understood as a complex eco-system, which, on the one hand, comprises a range of technological and socio-economic processes and, on the other, involves such actors as government, corporations, research organizations and urban communities.

Data and methodology. The study relies on methods of comparative and evolutionary analysis to analyze the concept of smart city and its structure by focusing on the case of South Korea, the world's renowned ICT leader. The study also provides cross-national comparisons of the experience of other developed Asian countries (Japan and China), which, like South Korea, are actively supporting building of smart cities on the state level.

Results. The study describes the main stages in the development of the smart city concept in South Korea as well as the main types of smart city projects (pilot projects, research validation projects, and city restoration projects). The study identifies problems of planning, design and implementation of smart city projects and compares the relevant experience of South Korea, Japan and China. It is shown that although smart city projects in these countries were launched in approximately the same period, each of these countries has its own approach to smart cities and ways of their development.

Conclusions. The key to Korea's success in smart city development lies in large-scale direct state support, public trust in the government and the application of an integrated approach to smart city development. At the current stage, smart city services not only provide enhanced comfort to city dwellers but also create more opportunities for their personal growth. 


smart cities, South Korea, smart city pilots, infrastructure, urban ecosystem

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