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‘Balanced Growth’ Regulation Stifles Seoul Suburbs

Posted October. 22, 2008 03:01,   


Fairchild Semiconductor Korea based in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, is a profitable manufacturer of transistors and diodes and generates 600 billion won in sales per year.

With steady growth in sales, the company has attempted to build more manufacturing facilities since 2001. Because it could not get government approval to do so due to its location within the Seoul metropolitan area, Fairchild turned to China in 2003.

An official of the Bucheon city government said, “Economic benefits of 1,500 new jobs and sales of 1.3 billion dollars per year disappeared due to government regulations on the Seoul metropolitan area. We`ve had much difficulty boosting our economy since the central government has not listened to our complaints.”

Residents in the Sujeong and Jungwon wards of Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, cannot build new high-rise buildings since half of the area is categorized a flight safety zone due to the Seoul Military Airport in Seongnam.

Since the two districts have many old buildings and houses, residents cannot pursue redevelopment due to the height restriction that bans the construction of a building higher than 45 meters.

Seongnam residents say their rights are being violated, citing the government`s positive response to the Lotte Group’s proposal to establish a high-rise building for use as a second Lotte World amusement park while ignoring the plight of residents.

Many experts are urging the government to revise its stifling regulations in the Seoul metropolitan area and inflexible policies.

Kang Hyun-seok, mayor of the northwestern Seoul suburb of Goyang, says his city`s development has been limited since it cannot under law establish new factories and schools.

“It’s not about an urban development competition between the Seoul metropolitan area and other provinces," he said. "Certainly, urban development should be allowed to help cities in the Seoul metropolitan area survive.

"A national mayors’ council will urge the central government to end its inefficient policies designed to suppress the growth of cities around the Seoul metropolitan area.”

Certain experts say the previous Roh Moo-hyun administration`s policies to strengthen regulations on the Seoul metropolitan area have not only failed to help cities outside Seoul to grow, but also worsened urban management in the area.

Daejin University law professor Soh Seong-gyu said, “The Roh Moo-hyun administration`s balanced development policies have not contributed to boosting growth in the provinces, and instead held back growth in the Seoul metropolitan area."

"Given that, the government should improve its inefficient regulations. Only when the central government withdraws its heavy regulations on the Seoul metropolitan area can it promote the mutual prosperity of the provinces and the capital region.”

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