One local government after another across the country is pouring out U-City construction plans. Begun by Hwaseong which completed the system in its Dongtan district in September 2008, 36 local governments (in 52 districts) - in existing cities including Seoul, Busan and Jeju and new cities such as Songdo in Incheon and Woonjeong in Paju - are currently pushing the projects, according to the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs. <**3>
In the most advanced countries like the United States, Japan and in Europe, ubiquitous networking technology is emerging as a new paradigm for national informatization. Diverse efforts are being made to prepare for the advent of a ubiquitous network society including government investment, research and development and trial projects. Those countries are implementing high-tech urban development projects - including smart cities and intelligent cities - suitable for their infrastructure and environment. The prospects for Korea`s U-City industry look very bright. The country ranks fifth in the share of the global construction market and second in the ICT Development Index. Korea has a strong potential to lead the global market by taking advantage of its strength in both fields. It is time that the nation focused on enhancing its U-City capabilities including early localization of core technologies such as integrated platforms and mapping out comprehensive measures to support the industry. Strategies for future cities
To promote the industry at the national level, the Korean government has finalized the first Comprehensive U-City Plan (2009-2013) outlining the policy vision, basic direction, national steering systems and strategies and key tasks for each developmental phases. Three policy goals
1) Effectiveness of urban management: The plan aims to establish high-tech urban spaces and intelligent city management systems by integrating U-City technologies into urban infrastructure facilities. 2) Foster as new growth power industry: The U-City industry will be promoted as a new growth engine to enhance national competitiveness and create jobs. 3) Advanced urban services: The plan also looks to improve the quality of life through U-City-based urban services including finely customized services for residents. To achieve these goals, the government has established four implementation strategies -each with a detailed list of tasks. The strategies relate to preparation of institutions, development of core technology, support for industry growth and creation of sensible service. 1) Preparation of institutions: The government seeks to promptly consolidate a comprehensive institutional basis for the industry regarding planning, construction and management. This requires various guidelines for effective planning and management as well as effective measures to protect private information and prevent disasters, damages and infiltrations. For information connections and compatibility, which are key to U-City technologies, clear standards for information, core technologies and individual services should be set up. Another important task in this area is promoting the use of U-City information among private sectors, thus raising the information utilization rate. 2) Development of core technology: The government seeks to provide R&D supports early to localize and foster core source technologies. Strategic assistance will be directed to localization and export of core U-City solutions involving information collection, processing and utilization. The government is pouring 104.4 billion won into U-City R&D from 2007-12. New technologies will be swiftly put into test beds to examine their feasibility. The government will support tests of solutions, coordinate functions of related government ministries and branches, and promote common use of results from different ministries, thus maximizing the synergetic effect of innovation. 3) Support for industry growth: The government seeks to generate new jobs and boost national competitiveness by supporting and promoting the U-City industry. The government will support model cases of U-City construction and prepare a base to export U-City. The government`s important task is producing a professional workforce. It will nurture high-quality researchers and skilled workers in the sector and train local government officials with U-City capabilities. The nation will also play a leading role in expanding international networks such as "U-City World Forum" and offer overseas road shows and exhibitions. 4) Creation of sensible service: The government seeks to improve living conditions through practical services. It will develop new services and improve functions through R&D activities and public surveys. To find out diverse, creative services and disseminate them among local entities, the government will encourage active private-sector engagement in U-City planning and operations. Phased strategies
The nationwide U-City drive aims to overcome the limits of conventional urban planning and management as well as recreate cities as a qualitatively new space offering better living conditions. It is the principal direction in the evolution of cities and a fundamental solution to surmount spatial limitation and sharpen competitiveness. In its initial stage, the government and the pubic sector need to lead infrastructure construction while private companies largely engage in developing creative practical services. Government support should be directed toward the provision of individual U-City public services, arrangement of institutions and nurturing human resources. In the expansion stage, the government needs to push industrial sophistication strategies including export support to develop it into a new growth engine business. For the period of the first Comprehensive U-City Plan (2009-13), the government is expected to spend 490 billion won. While trying to secure the necessary budget, the government needs to actively induce private corporations` participation. The state`s role should be focused on core infrastructure, technology development, legal and administrative institutions, supportive measures and human capital, while private businesses concentrate on advancing customized services. For systemic and effective policy implementation, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs should be in charge of establishing overall plans and coordinating policies and other ministries are required to develop U-City services in their specific areas.