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Smart cities the focus of Park’s visit to Europe

Sept 27,2018
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon is off to Spain, Switzerland and Estonia for 10 days staring today to bridge ties with cities on smart city development and digital innovation.

“Digital innovation is advancing faster throughout cities worldwide as seen through developments in blockchain and other fourth industrial revolution innovations,” Park said. “I will use this trip to come up with policies fit for Seoul that will create jobs and improve citizens’ livelihoods.”

Park will meet with the mayors of Barcelona, Bilbao, Zurich, Zug and Tallinn during his trip to discuss ways to boost city-to-city cooperation on digital innovation and sustainable city development. Seoul will enter into agreements with Bilbao and Zurich to be friendly cities - an agreement that precedes official registration as sister cities, which needs the approval of the Seoul Metropolitan Council.

“It’s an agreement to continue future cooperation on a close level on various projects that concern urban lives,” said a city government official.

Park will be visiting Crypto Valley in Zug, the blockchain hub Trust Square in Zurich and the e-Estonia Showroom in Tallinn. He will also meet with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, who visited Korea earlier this year.

“On this trip I also hope to explore possible policies related to social economy,” Park said. “Social economy can support regional and local economic activities.”

Park will preside over the third assembly of the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF) in Bilbao on Monday. The GSEF is an international association of local governments and civil societies to promote the social economy that Seoul helped establish in 2014. Seoul has been the president city of the organization since 2014.

The GSEF’s inaugural assembly was held in Seoul in 2014 and the second assembly was held in Montreal in 2016. At both assemblies, representatives from hundreds of cities and members of civic organizations affirmed their commitment to promote social economy for urban development.

This year, some 1,500 representatives of cities and civil societies from 80 countries are expected at the assembly, held under the theme, “Social Economy and Cities: Values and competitiveness for an inclusive and sustainable local development.”

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]