Yongin aims for an upgrade with better jobs, living spaces

Yongin, a city of 1 million located about 40 kilometers south of Seoul, aims to take the livelihood of its citizens to the next level, with improvements in living environments, job opportunities and municipal services.

“This year will mark the first year for our city to raise the level of all sectors to the next level,” said Mayor Baek Kun-ki.

Under the slogan “Upgrading Yongin,” Baek laid out five policy pillars for this year: invigorating the city economy and its competitiveness, expanding eco-friendly urban spaces, investing in future generations, improving the urban infrastructure and building a society where all citizens are respected. 

Mayor Baek Kun-ki outlines the city’s plans to build public parks. (Yongin city government)

The city’s push for job creation and a self-reliant economy received a major boost last year as SK hynix, the world’s second-largest memory chip provider, decided to invest a total of 120 trillion won ($103.5 billion) to build fabrication lines at a new semiconductor complex in the city.

In September, US semiconductor equipment maker Lam Research said it would invest about $100 million to build a technology center in the cluster.

To add impetus to the innovation initiative, the city will implement administrative procedures for the creation of semiconductor clusters, as well as attract more leading companies from home and abroad in fields related to information technology, biotechnology and cultural technology.

Its plans to establish a new residential and commercial town in Giheung-gu, called a “Platform City,” is drawing interest in line with the planned GTX commuter rail network, which will greatly shorten travel time between Giheung and Seoul’s central Gangnam area. 

Mayor Baek Kun-ki speaks during a press conference on the creation of a semiconductor cluster with SK hynix. (Yongin city government)

Mayor Baek Kun-ki speaks during a press conference on the creation of a semiconductor cluster with SK hynix. (Yongin city government)

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has designated it one of several government-approved “new town” urban redevelopment projects.

By doing so, the ministry is helping the project pick up momentum and alleviating the financial burden of the extensive infrastructure construction it will entail.

“I will try to achieve a balance and conduct organizational restructuring so that we can carry out such massive projects efficiently while providing quality administrative services,” Baek said. 

To transform itself an eco-friendly city dedicated to sustainable urban growth, Yongin will build 12 public parks with trails connecting the city’s three major streams: the Gyeongancheon, Tancheon and Singalcheon.

The parks had long been in the planning only, with a lack of strong commitment from the city government.

The mayor is keen on seeing through the long-delayed plans during his tenure, to bring about a greener Yongin and a more balanced development of the urban space.

The city is planning a number of programs to benefit the next generation, such as higher cash incentives for new parents and increased investment in education through support for a total of 185 primary, middle and high schools.

Public facilities including gymnasiums, libraries and public parking lots will be expanded to enhance citizens’ lives.

Under Baek’s administration, the city’s efforts, especially on matters such as safety and countering corruption, have received several awards. According to the Korea Institute for Public Autonomy, Yongin is No. 4 in the country in terms of the competitiveness of its local government.

“I have been trying to make the city a fair and just society. Citizens are the center of governance and their active interest and participation are the only power that develops governance,” Baek said.

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com)

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