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More Parks in Neighborhood

Posted February. 16, 2003 22:41,   


As early as from next year, a park is allowed to be set up in the small lot idling in a neighborhood.

In addition, under another project, parks of specific themes such a history park may be established in the neighborhood. Furthermore, green ways will also be constructed.

The plans are included in the announcement made yesterday by Ministry of Construction and Transportation. The ministry intends to revise the relevant laws and regulations to implement its plans. The series of measures are conceived to compensate for the dwindling area of the green belt and make the best use of the idling small lots in big cities.

The ministry plans to come up with its draft by next month, and, after public hearings, introduce and have the bill passed by September. Once Congress approves of the legislation, it intends to enforce the new law from next year.

Currently, construction of parks in cities is limited to five purposes: parks for children, neighborhood parks, cemetery parks, parks for physical education and urban national parks. In the future, however, the limitation will be lifted up, allowing more options in developing parks in cities.

Therefore, the ministry will class into the category of park various parks of specific themes such as riverside parks dotting along the Han River, biological parks and history parks. Furthermore, green ways such as bicycle roads are to be included in that category.

The ministry will also eradicate another limitation on the size of a park. Under the present law, a park has to cover a minimum area of 1,500㎡. Thus, regardless of the size, if a lot or chunk of land is idling, a developer can foster it into a park even in the middle of a city.

To fund the envisioned projects, the ministry will use the special budget earmarked for urban development, which has been managed by localities.

A senior official Kim Byung-soo with the ministry confirmed, "These measures will hopefully offer more areas for our citizens. Once implemented as planned, each citizen will enjoy at least 10 square meter of park."

According to the ministry, as of 2001, 3.7 square meter is allocated as park for each citizen in Seoul, lacking far behind in comparison with other metropolitan cities around the world. For example, New York assigns 22.9㎡ to each citizen, London 24.1㎡, Berlin 24.5㎡, and Paris 17.9㎡.

The ministry expects that a considerable portion of the land allocated for urban development purposes, or 1.4㎢, can be developed into parks. For the past 10 years, the allocated lots have been left undeveloped.

Jae-Seong Hwang jsonhng@donga.com