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Concern Over Haphazard Construction of One Million Rental House Plan

Concern Over Haphazard Construction of One Million Rental House Plan

Posted November. 11, 2004 23:12,   


In the morning of November 11, Dong-pyun village in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province seemed as if the whole village was under construction as tens of vinyl houses were being built in haste, and residential buildings and business buildings were being built everywhere along the roads.

After the government announced at the beginning of the year its release of the development restriction areas (also known as “greenbelts”) to build rental houses on them, the village has been fluctuating. By 2007, it is planned that about 3,500 rental houses will be constructed in Dong-pyun village and its neighboring Bulim village, both of which are development restriction areas.

The Ministry of Construction and Transportation plans to build about 40 districts of rental house complexes, including 15 districts in Seoul (1.34 million pyong) and 15 districts in Gyeonggi (eight million pyong).

The biggest issue in the metropolitan area is that most of the intended sites of rental house construction are greenbelts. On greenbelts, the central government can develop on its own authority without agreement from the local governments.

15 sites of Gyeonggi Province (eight million pyong), where the rental houses are planned to be constructed, are all greenbelts. If the construction continues as planned, green lands as large as triple the size of Yeoeuido (2.52 million pyong) will be lost.

Especially, among the 15 intended construction sites in Gyeonggi Province, eight intended construction sites are small-scale complexes of less than 300 thousand pyong, for which no transportation improvement plans are required to be set.

Thus, concerns are raised that if rental houses are built in heaps without transportation improvement plans and expansion of infrastructure, “haphazard construction,” similar to that incident of Yongin several years ago, will be repeated.

On November 9, the city government of Anyang announced a statement of opposition to the construction plan of rental houses in Gwanyangdong. The city government is asserting that it is “unnecessary destruction of greenbelt area” to construct rental houses in Anyang’s last greenbelt, Gwanyang-dong, without consideration of the reality that Anyang is the city with third highest population density.

The regional civil groups are making actions against the construction of rental house complexes in Gunpo. According to a civic group, rental houses already make up 28 percent of the houses in Sanbon New Town.

However, the disapproval of local governments will possible remain futile since the “special law on the construction of rental houses,” which was enforced since July of 2004, allows the minister of Construction and Transportation to approve construction plans on his own authority.

Some experts raise the question to the validity of the goal to construct a million rental houses. Recently, in an investigation report, the Construction and Transportation Committee of the National Assembly pointed out that the demand was excessively predicted in the government’s rental housing plan.

The committee asserts that the government had calculated housing conditions, based on statistics of 2000, and houses which will improve in the residential condition through re-development and re-construction were all included in the number of houses under residential standards.

Also, the diffusion rate of houses classified by cities and provinces was not properly reflected. Although the diffusion rate of houses in eight provinces including Gangwon, Chungnam, Jeonnam, and Gyeongbuk, reached an average of 120 percent last year, the government has made plans to supply 200,000 houses in these regions.

Kyung-Hyun Nam Jae-Myoung Lee bibulus@donga.com egija@donga.com