Gwangju Metropolitan Government BuildingNight view of the Asia Culture CenterNambu University Municipal Aquatics Center
Gwangju! A year in innovation
Three more years working for the future of Korea
| Gwangju Mayor holds one-year anniversary press conference
| Announces 100 achievements in 6 fields and key policy goals for next 3 years.
| Details ‘three successes’ within first year
Gwangju Job Project successfully implemented
Work begun on 2nd subway line
Established foundations to become 4th industrial revolution leader
Following one year in office, Gwangju mayor Lee Yong-sup has settled long-standing issues and laid the foundations to make Gwangju, a city once without any major industry, a leader in the 4th industrial revolution through innovative plans and communication with citizens.
On June 26th, the mayor held a press conference in city hall briefing room to announce 100 achievements in six fields made during his first year in the office, and present key policy goals for the next three years.
He selected three major achievements during his first year in office: signing a memorandum of understanding for the investment of an automotive manufacturing plant that was part of the Gwangju Job Project; starting work on the city’s second subway line, which showed a successful model of cooperative administration; and establishing the basis for Gwangju to become a 4th industrial revolution leader, which will generate more jobs and income.
The mayor stated: “There have been no easy days during the past year, but they were happy and fruitful days as I could work for my hometown Gwangju.” He also asserted that he had to “find an innovative new way to uphold the basics to make Gwangju as the future of Korea, since the city has long suffered from a weak economy due to political discrimination and alienation.”
Mayor Lee said that upon inauguration, he has pushed ahead with innovative measures, and presented three administrative values (innovation, communication, integrity), two policy devices (reviving Gwangju spirit, making good jobs), a policy objective (righteous and affluent Gwangju), and a Gwangju Vision (Gwangju, as the future of Korea). He was also “able to induce active participation from citizens and restore faith in the city administration by closely communicating with people in the field, and through a massive reorganization of the city government and new work culture that emphasized job creation.”
“As a result, we were able to make Gwangju, once a city without any major industry, into a leader in the 4th industrial revolution, settle decades-long pending issues, and put the city administration back into order,” he stated.
Finally, the mayor added that he will “make Gwangju as the future of Korea, by successfully implementing 10 key policy objectives in the next three years, based on the 100 achievements in six fields that were possible through innovation and citizen support."
<Major achievements of the first year in office>
First, the Gwangju Job Project was successfully established. It is an unprecedented, local government-led job project benefitting both labor and management. As a result, the first automotive plant in 23 years is on the way based on local capital.
Once the automotive plant and related parts factories are completed, there will be 12,000 more jobs in Gwangju and the competitiveness will be reinforced by improving the structure of the Korean economy. It is also expected to encourage reshoring in the manufacturing industry and induce increased domestic investment from companies who had previously been reluctant to do so due to high wages and labor disputes. Construction of the automotive plant is scheduled to begin in the latter half of this year and commence production in 2021 as planned.
Second, through fair and transparent participation from citizens, a successful model of cooperative administration process was created, settling a 16-year debate on the city’s second subway line. Through dialogue and concessions, a long-standing local issue was resolved, opening a new chapter in grassroots democracy. Opinions from opposing sides and the minority were reflected in reaching the agreement, which has been praised as a model for public opinion strategy. Other local governments are now learning from the process and its academic value was also recognized when it received the Korea Policy Award.
Now all the necessary procedures within the central government are complete and construction will begin after the FINA World Championships. The first stage of the subway line is expected to be operational by 2023 as planned.
Third, Gwangju has become a forerunner in the 4th industrial revolution. Once a city without major industry, Gwangju has now become a leader in the “three strategic investment areas for innovative growth” set by the Moon Jae-in government: artificial intelligence, hydrogen economy, and big-data industry.
Gwangju is speeding up the construction of an AI-centered fusion industrial complex, the largest in Korea, as AI-based research and development projects were selected for exemption from the central government preliminary feasibility survey. This rapid industrial change in Gwangju will generate more jobs and income. Gwangju plans to establish a certification center for eco-friendly automobile parts, which would be the only one in Korea, a branch office of Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute (KERI), and the first Hydrogen Fusion Energy Demonstration Center.
Fourth, “generating good jobs” has become the city’s top priority and the administrative structure has been reformed to facilitate job creation.
The following are some of the examples of concentrating budgetary and policy efforts to “generate good jobs”: establishment of the Job Committee under the direct control of the mayor; setting a four-year roadmap for job policy; expansion of the job economy bureau into the job economy office; significant enhancement of the Employment Impact Assessment; and the introduction of an evaluation system for job creation in the city government.
Fifth, the cultural competitiveness of Gwangju, a city known to be “home of the arts”, has been enhanced by vastly expanding the culture-tourism infrastructure and promoting the city’s originality.
To ensure comprehensive administration over cultural affairs, the post of Deputy Mayor of Culture and Economic Affairs was created, the first among local governments. A four-year cultural policy plan was further drawn up alongside the newly established position. Some of the projects promoted by the city government include a full-time Korean classical music performance, culinary arts of Gwangju, and Gwangju city tours. The city’s culture-tourism infrastructure has also been vastly expanded: the Kimdaejung Convention Center and the vicinity has been designated as an international conference complex; the Honam area of Gwangju now holds the only license for urban duty free shopping; and a full-time e-sports stadium is going to be built in the city.
Sixth, Gwangju, once considered a gray city, is now being transformed into a city of arts and design through the introduction of new schemes such as the ‘General Architecture’ system.
During the mayor's first year in the office, 11 locations were designated as targets for the Urban Regeneration New Deal project, which aims to bring new changes to the city. The locations included the area around Gwangju Station area and Baekun plaza, and received 1.236 trillion won (91.8 billion won from national budget). Gwangju Songjeong station also passed the preliminary feasibility survey to become a leading district for KTX investment, and the Arirang Culture Waterway Project to rejuvenate the Gwangju stream is on the way as well.
Seventh, Gwangju is setting the foundations to be the safest city in country.
Gwangju received a presidential citation for its excellence in disaster and safety management in establishing the first ever 5G-based smart disaster management platform and promoting the citizen safety “3‧3‧3” movement. Gwangju is literally becoming the safest city in Korea, ranked first in reductions in the traffic accident mortality rate, and with zero child traffic accident mortalities.
Eighth, through adaptive welfare systems and a community of sharing and solidarity, Gwangju is moving forward to create a society in which everyone is happy, without fear of alienation and discrimination.
The city has enhanced social safety networks by expanding self-support aid to the low-income working class, implementing the Gwangju-style basic social security system, creating additional jobs for senior citizens, expanding adaptive welfare support such as rental houses for people with developmental disabilities, and operating a 1,798-strong team to identify struggling local households. Dementia support centers have been set up in each district and a joint research group with the Korea Brain Research Institute is operational, making the city better prepared for dealing with the disease. Gwangju is also a leader in volunteering, on the back of its online volunteering platform, the first in Korea. Gwangju’s excellent labor-management relations and stronger alliance with the sister city of Daegu is becoming a symbol of national unity, again uplifting the status of the city.
Ninth, the entire Gwangju city government has been reorganized and invigorated based on two key concepts ¬¬– innovation and communication – to concentrate on reviving the Gwangju spirit and creating more jobs.
Efforts include the establishment of a Citizens' Rights Committee and Gwangju Innovation Committee, 18 on-site administrative tours conducted to deal with citizen complaints, implementation of a desire-based online personnel management system, and the introduction of the outcome planning scheme and ‘public servant of the month’ award to create an office culture emphasizing 'work' and 'outcomes'.
Tenth, rigorous efforts have resulted in the largest participation (193 countries) at the FINA World Championships, which will begin in Gwangju on 12 July.
※ Reference - 100 achievements in 6 fields
<Ten key policy objectives in the next three years to make Gwangju as the future of Korea>
Based on the achievements of the last year, Gwangju city government is planning to actively implement policies for the next three years to bring about the period of “righteous and affluent Gwangju.”
① Make this year's Gwangju FINA World Championships the most successful in history by concentrating every effort on its success, and establish Gwangju’s position among the international swimming community through legacy projects.
② Make Gwangju a base for future automobile industry by successfully implementing the Gwangju Job Project, and create good jobs in which both labor and management enjoy mutual benefits, and attract young working adults and businesses back to the city.
③ Establish the Bitgreen Industrial Complex (eco-friendly automobile), Namgu Urban High-Tech Industrial Complex (new energy industry), and Cheomdan-3 District (Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem) as three innovation centers for the 4th industrial revolution, and promote 11 strategic industries. Further, concentrate administrative efforts on obtaining Free Economic Zone and Special Relaxed Regulation Zone status to dramatically improve investment conditions for businesses, thus making Gwangju a center of the 4th industrial revolution.
④ Enhance the growth potential of local businesses through smart manufacturing innovation and establish a basis for startups so that anyone with technology and an idea can start a business.
⑤ Make a tolerant community in which every citizen is happy without alienation and discrimination by providing suitable jobs for the disabled and seniors, and providing adaptive welfare benefits to those who are unable to work.
⑥ Use ultra-modern technology to keep Gwangju safe from disasters, and provide citizens with transportation welfare through the construction of a safe, top-quality, eco-friendly second subway line.
⑦ Enhance the city’s competitiveness by branding, industrializing and merchandising three of Gwangju’s defining characteristics: art, justice, and taste. Promote competitiveness of the city culture by inviting the Korea Culture Technology Institute, fostering performances, foods, and culture villages that can represent Gwangju, and create a history-culture space in the Jeonil building. In addition, make Gwangju an international cultural tourism attraction by concentrating efforts on developing MICE industries (urban duty free shops, No.2 convention center, etc.) and on establishing the Eodeung mountain tourism complex.
⑧ Uphold the status of Gwangju as a city of democracy, human rights and peace by restoring the old Jeollanam-do provincial capital building by 2022, and by globalizing the May 18th Democratization Movement through the co-hosting of the World Human Rights Cities Forum together with the United Nations during the 40th anniversary commemorative period in 2020.
⑨ Transform the Gwangju stream, lifeline of the city, into an eco-cultural river with clean flowing water, through a 37-billion-won investment in three projects: volume of water, quality of water, ecosystem and waterfront. Alongside this, there is a need to create an eco-friendly city that is not troubled by fine dust or intense heat.
⑩ Strengthen cooperation between Gwangju and Jeollnam-do province for mutual benefits, and lead balanced local development through the early construction of the Gwangju-Daegu railway and the Gyeongjun-line. The goal is to create a win-win city that leads the way to mutual harmony and prosperity for both the eastern and western regions of Korea.
Gwangju mayor stated that: “Gwangju has a clear path. As I promised one year ago at my inauguration, I will concentrate on jobs and economy to change the lives of citizens. I will make Gwangju the future of Korea.” He added, “With the earnest and concentrated spirit of ‘an arrow through the rock’, I will do my best in the next three years, as I have done in the previous year, to make a ‘righteous and affluent Gwangju’." The mayor concluded saying, “large far-reaching rivers are created by small streams coming together, so I hereby request every citizen to join us in our efforts.”