The Korea Herald


Former SMEs minister runs for Seoul mayor

Park reveals new compact city plan that provides everything in 21 mins of traffic

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Jan. 26, 2021 - 13:52

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Park Young-sun, former minister of SMEs and Startups, announces her bid to run for Seoul mayor Tuesday. (Yonhap) Park Young-sun, former minister of SMEs and Startups, announces her bid to run for Seoul mayor Tuesday. (Yonhap)

Park Young-sun, former minister of SMEs and Startups, announced her bid to run for Seoul mayor Tuesday, revealing a new compact city plan to improve the life of Seoulites.

“In order to overcome the hardships and difficulties of COVID-19, we need a mayor to make Seoul a G-7 global digital economy city after the pandemic,” Park said at an online meeting at 11 a.m. in Yeouido, vowing to create a safe, fair and warm Seoul through the great transformation.

The ruling bloc heavyweight stepped down from her post on Jan. 20 after one year and nine months since taking office to run for Seoul mayor.

As the part of her great transformation plan, Park revealed a “21-minute compact city” plan, a concept in which everything such as work, education, child care, health care, shopping, leisure and culture can be solved within 21 minutes of travel.

She presented a road map for a 21-minute compact city for Yeouido. It included taking the road from the National Assembly Building to the eastern part of Yeouido underground to create a wide park, a vertical, V-shaped smart farm and a residential hotel for solo guests.

“We will solve life, food, housing, exercise and health care at the same time,” she said.

Park also presented plans for after the National Assembly is relocated to Sejong City, which the government is now pushing for. She plans repurpose the site to create a world-class concert hall, residential buildings for young entrepreneurs, start-up hubs and a silver town.

The candidate said the important challenges facing Seoul are the decline in sales of small and medium-sized enterprises, small business owners and self-employed people, soaring house prices, a fall in the number of decent jobs for the young and the low birth rate.

Her pledges include redevelopment and reconstruction; transition to the digital economy; transition of education and care; customized welfare; and transformation of health care.

Upon her bid for Seoul mayor, Park should now compete for the title of unified candidate with Rep. Woo Sang-ho of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, who already joined the race in December.

In 2011, Park was elected as a Democratic Party candidate in the by-election for the mayor of Seoul but was unable to enter the main election after losing out to then independent candidate Park Won-soon in a runoff to choose a unified opposition candidate. In 2018, Park and Woo both entered the race but again lost to then-Mayor Park Won-soon.

The Democratic Party of Korea will finalize candidates for the upcoming Seoul and Busan mayoral by-election on March 1 and 11, respectively. After candidates are selected, they will enter the campaign from March 25 according to the election law.

By Shin Ji-hye (