City of Seoul, South Korea
Seoul proclaimed its Sharing City Seoul Project on September 20th, 2012, along with a plan to conduct sharing projects closely related to the lives of citizens, and to create and diffuse the base for the sharing. Seoul sees the Sharing City Seoul project as social innovation measures that have been designed to create new economic opportunities, to restore reliable relationships, and to reduce the wasting of resources with a view to resolving urban economic, social, and environmental problems all-together. Seoul’s policy for becoming a sharing city aims to encourage the private sector to lead the way in exploring different areas of a sharing economy, while the local government is endeavouring to create infrastructures for the Sharing City Seoul Project and to promote and support sharing activities that are undertaken by the private-sector.
Encouraging and facilitating citizens to adopt the new lifestyle of sharing goods and services to a higher extent, is a key challenge. Programs of educational events to raise awareness must be continuous – to ensure that interest, participation and efforts from all levels are ongoing and not just a passing fad.
Good practices and solutions
The Sharing City Seoul Project has four main objectives and targets: 1) Sharing allows the city to gain more benefits with fewer or less resources since it enhances the usefulness of resources. For example, the construction of a new building for community residents’ gathering will require a huge budget to secure sufficient space. If citizens are able to share the meeting rooms and auditoriums of the city hall, offices, and citizen centres that are vacant at nights and during weekends, however, they can use such spaces for gathering within a short distance without spending too much money. 2) When the sharing economy becomes reinvigorated, it can create new jobs and added values. Furthermore, citizens of the city may earn additional income by lending their idle resources to others at adequate prices. For example, they could earn additional monthly income by leasing their empty rooms to foreign tourists. 3) Sharing can contribute to the recovery of the disappearing sense of community, increasing interpersonal exchanges and restore broken relations since sharing promotes a trust-based, reciprocal economy. 4) Sharing contributes to resolving environmental problems created by excessive consumption. Sharing allows one resource to be used by a number of people, thereby effectively boosting the utilization. Furthermore, sharing connects resources to people who need them, which also reduces waste.
Outcomes & Opportunities
The initiative has certified 50 sharing projects that provide people with an alternative to owning things they rarely use, and given grants to a number of these projects. Certified projects range from local car-sharing company SoCar, and websites like Billiji that help people share things with their neighbours, to schemes that match students struggling to find affordable housing with older residents who have a spare room. One great results of the project are the increasing participation of citizens. Moreover, Seoul has opened up almost 800 public buildings for public meetings and events when they aren’t in use and Sharehub has organized a large public engagement and education campaign with conferences, seminars, reports and a book.
Related SDG targets
- 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
- 11.6 By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management.
- 12.C Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities.
Photo: © Ryoji Iwata/Unsplash
Project: Circular Baltic 2030