[Inclusive Growth] Sharing City Seoul Project

Date 2017-06-28 Category Others Updater ssunha
Namji Kim
City Innovation Division
Last Update

Background: Challenges & Objectives


With social problems having grown in complexity since the global financial crisis, governments and markets around the world are now facing issues that are increasingly difficult to resolve. The economic disparity between the rich and the poor is becoming more prominent and excessive consumption and the subsequent depletion of energy reserves and intensifying climate change are causing natural disasters such as typhoons and tsunamis. The value of common prosperity has been lost with the spread of materialism, leading to numerous social problems, such as rapid population aging, rising suicide rates, and increasing numbers of people dying alone, driven by deepening inequality and imbalance. In addition, chronic urban issues, such as traffic congestion, lack of parking spaces and housing, and environmental pollution, have become more serious than ever before.

Under these circumstances, there is a dire need to come up with solutions that are entirely new and different from those of the past. While the city has focused heavily on economic growth and hardware development, it is now time to turn its sights toward investing in the development of software that will enrich the lives of its citizens. In addition, greater citizen engagement and cooperation between the public and private sectors is required to solve these social problems, or achieve social reform, rather than continuing to rely entirely on the government.


The Sharing City Seoul Projects help form interpersonal networks and restore community through sharing and social interaction. The promotion of the sharing economy and support for collaborative consumption contribute to job creation, ultimately vitalizing the urban economy. Collaboration among civil society, businesses, and the public sector maximizes the utilization of resources.


Actions& Implementation

Nanum Car and shared parking

Seoul City’s Nanum Car (car sharing) and shared parking projects are improving urban transport in the city. The most successful model of the sharing economy in Seoul is the car sharing company SOCAR. As one shared car can replace 16.8 owned cars, car sharing has the potential to solve numerous parking and environment-related problems. Seoul City’s car sharing project stands to become a representative model of the sharing economy, as it achieves a perfect marriage of public and private resources. Also, it is thanks to the parking spaces secured by Seoul in public buildings and other areas throughout the city for the Nanum Car project that car sharing businesses such as SOCAR have been able to successfully operate their businesses.

Description: Seoul's  Sharing Car called "Nanum Car"
Source: SMG


Intergenerational home sharing


“Sharing” is now a buzzword in the field of architecture, with home sharing having become a new, popular housing trend among young people. Seoul City created the intergenerational home sharing program to match senior citizens who own homes with unused rooms with college students in need of reasonably priced housing, thereby helping reduce elderly homeowners’ sense of isolation and providing them with regular income generated through renting out rooms while mitigating the shortage of student housing. At first, it was challenging to get eligible seniors to take a chance on trusting their potential housemates, but they finally opened their minds and agreed to participate in the program.

(Source: SMG) 


Opening of public spaces

Seoul City has opened the basement of the Seoul City Hall building to the public. Called “Citizens Hall,” the basement serves as an excellent venue for citizens to meet other people, enjoy diverse cultural events, attend the Seoul Idea Expo, shop at Seoul Market, and hold wedding ceremonies. Seoul City is also expanding the shared public facilities program to include district offices, community centers, schools, and religious facilities.


Results & Evaluation

Establishing a project budget is a daunting task, but utilizing resources in smart ways is not. For instance, building a parking structure is incredible costly, but renting parking spaces in nearby apartment complexes that are empty during the day costs nothing at all. Moreover, through the application of advanced smartphone technology, users are able to easily find places to park their cars near their workplaces.

Statistics show that one out of every four Seoulites owns a car. However, 770,000 cars, or 35 percent of all cars owned by Seoul citizens, are driven less than 7,000 kilometers a year, and 330,000 cars, or 15 percent, are used only on weekends. With car sharing, however, citizens no longer have to own cars or spend large sums of money on maintenance. Moreover, by using a car sharing service, they can contribute to relieving traffic congestion and reducing air pollution. To achieve these aims, SOCAR started a car sharing service in partnership with Seoul City, and offers free or discounted services to low-income citizens or people with physical disabilities. Anyone, including young people who are struggling financially, can access cars at affordable prices whenever they need them.

According to a survey of 2,500 Seoulites conducted online in May 2016 regarding their awareness of Seoul City’s 16 Sharing City Seoul projects, including Nanum Car, nine out of 10 respondents said they were aware of at least one of the projects, and 82 percent of those who had used one of the services answered that they were satisfied with it.

Expectancy effects & Need for Improvement

1. Creation of Sharing City Seoul, preparation for establishment of institutional foundation, and discovery of sharing projects

A legislative body representing Seoul citizens, Seoul Metropolitan Council enacted, with the consent of citizens, the “Ordinance on the Promotion of Sharing” (December 2012) to prepare the institutional foundation for the promotion of a private sector as a part of public policy. It then launched the “Sharing Promotion Committee (March 2013),” a private-public governing body, and the “Sharing Hub (June 2013),” an online platform, and designated 37 Seoul City Sharing Enterprises and organizations to receive government support.

2. Period of growth through diversification and public hearings for improvement

Seoul City spread the Sharing City Seoul projects to 20 local districts in Seoul and held three meetings and five seminars to revise the laws that were impeding the program by launching the “Advisory Committee on the Improvement of the Sharing Program.”

3. Period of Adjustment and Expansion

In April 2015, Seoul City unveiled its plan for the second phase of the Sharing City Seoul projects and promoted sharing in partnership with 25 local district offices, offices of education, and schools. In addition, it secured the participation of 29 local governments (including three metropolitan governments and 26 primary local governments) in a conference on cooperation among sharing cities. Having designated 92 businesses and organizations as Seoul City Sharing Enterprises, Seoul City is now beginning to see some businesses, such as SOCAR, grow in size over 10-fold in only four years.

Department / Contact

  • Global Urban Partnership Division, Seoul Metropolitan Government   /  02-2133-5272  /  policyshare@seoul.go.kr