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Compact City Policies: Korea

Towards Sustainable and Inclusive Growth

image of Compact City Policies: Korea

This report examines Korea's urban policies and offers customised policy recommendations based on the OECD publication, Compact City Policies (2012). Some Korean policies, such as urban regeneration, new town development or multi-modal transfering centers, have implicitly implemented compact city polices to a certain degree. However, there are still issues - including urban sprawl, unbalanced socio-economic levels and environmental challenges - which can be threats to urban competitiveness. An appropriate set of compact city polices, such as environmental friendly urban regeneration, mixed land use, polices to offset the side effects of compact development, strong management of transport demands, and governance enforcement, can accelerate Korean cities' sustainable development.

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Executive summary

Korea faces increasing challenges as a consequence of its unusually rapid urbanisation. As Korea’s share of urban population doubled from 40.7% in 1975 to 81.9% in 2009, it also saw its real gross domestic product (GDP) increase sixteen-fold over the same period. Meanwhile, Korean cities face economic disparities. The Seoul- Incheon Metropolitan Area (SMA) accounted for 45.4% of Korea’s national GDP in 2008 and SMA’s population holds 69.54% of national GDP while 90% of Korea’s 244 municipalities’ fiscal independent ratios fall below the national average of 51.5%.

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