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Too Many New City Development Projects?

Posted June. 27, 2005 06:18,   


As the government draws up its blueprint for 11 innovation cities which government institutions will be located to, some are raising concerns that the government is pushing for two many new city development projects simultaneously.

There are more than 20 new cities the government plans to develop, to name a few, including innovation cities, new cities in the metropolitan area, and business cities. All of them are scheduled to be built by 2012.

So questions are being raised whether the government can complete all of these large-scale projects successfully in a seven-year timeline.

25 New Cities by 2012-

Construction of eight new cities is currently under way in the Gyeonggi area alone. In the second phase of development, five new cities including Pangyo, Paju, Gimpo, the Iui district in Suwon, and the Dongtan district in Hwaseong will be built somewhere between 2008 and 2010.

In addition, construction of other new cities including Samsong in Goyang, Okjeong in Yangju and Byeolnae in Namyangju is scheduled to be completed by 2011. It was decided earlier this year to develop these residential area development districts as new cities to rein in surging housing prices in the Metropolitan area.

In Chungnam, Asan new city will be ready to welcome residents by the end of 2007.

By 2012, when the relocation of 176 government institutions is completed, each of 11 upper level local governments with the exception of the Metropolitan area and the Chungnam area will have a new innovation city.

Construction of business cities will coincide with that of new cities. Four model cities will be selected next month for business cities.

According to the plan, Korea will have 25 new cities, large and small, including the administrative city, by 2012.

Is It Probable?-

Many note that the plan to build 25 new cities simultaneously is highly unlikely to work out, causing a variety of adverse side effects.

First and foremost, the prices of construction raw materials are feared to surge. Building tens of thousands of houses and roads nationwide at the same time will inevitably lead to shortages of raw materials such as iron bars, sand, and concrete, driving up their prices.

Construction workers are also expected to be in short supply. With a limited pool of labor the concentration of projects in a short period of time will lead to disproportionately higher labor costs.

Nationwide development projects are also likely to result in overheating the property market, and the hike in prices of property and raw materials and labor costs could push up the overall costs of the projects.

Theses explain why many experts are stressing the need to prioritize and reschedule the projects.

Sang-Rok Lee myzodan@donga.com