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Government to Increase Public Housing

Posted November. 08, 2005 07:25,   


The government and the ruling Uri Party presented a revised draft of the fourth National Comprehensive Territorial Plan at the party-government consultative conference yesterday.

According to the draft, long-term (30 years or longer) public rental housing will be expanded to account for 15 percent of all housing by 2020, up from 2.5 percent of late last year.

The draft also designates Paju of Gyeonggi Province, Goseong-gun of Gangwon Province, and Baengnyeongdo of Incheon as exchange and cooperation zones between North and South Korea. The plan proposes to construct “City of Peace” in these areas.

The draft will be finalized by the end of this year after deliberation by the territorial planning committee and cabinet members.

The revised draft is being criticized, however, for its alleged lack of concrete plans and detachment from reality. Critics say that the government and the party rushed to come up with the plan before the Constitutional Court gave its verdict on the Special Law for Multifunctional Administrative City Construction slated for later this month.

The draft plans to increase the number of housing units from 270 per 1,000 people (as of 2003) to 370 by 2020, and plans to increase living space per person from 20.2 square meters (as of 2000) to 35 square meters over the same period.

It also adopts the concept of a “barrier-free” city where elderly or disabled citizens can enjoy their lives without any barriers to their mobility.

The concept of national development will be revised to include three seas, seven wide areas and Jeju Island as its focal points. The seven wide areas will include Gangwon, Chungcheong, Jeonbuk, Gwangju, Daegu, and Busan.

The development base of the plan is being dispersed nationwide in consideration of the construction plan of administrative city and regional innovative cities that were proposed in the initial draft of the Fourth National Territorial Plan in 1999.

The revised draft proposes to raise the portion of public rental housing to 15 percent by 2020, which seems unrealistic. The government has already announced it will construct a million public rental housing units by 2012, but the plan is not clear on what actions will be taken to do so after 2008.

“The National Territorial Plan is the master plan for the utilization of Korea’s land resources, and it can be adapted every five years to changing situations,” said the Ministry of Construction and Transportation in response to the criticism.

Seung-Heon Lee ddr@donga.com