Interview with Mayor Yum Hong-chul of Daejeon Metropolitan City
Daejeon representative technopolis
of Korea with all major R&D centers
As a metropolitan city, Daejeon is the fifth largest city in Korea with a population of approximately 1.52 million. Above all things, it is the representative technopolis in Korea. In 1973, the central government began to construct the Daedeok Science Town, and 13 major government-funded research institutions and a number of private research organizations are converged in the Town. Public research organizations include Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS), Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM), Korea Aeronautics Research Institute (KARI), and Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT). Capitalizing on such science and technology infrastructure, the City hosted the Daejeon International Expo in 1993. And in 1995, it was upgraded to a metropolitan city from the capital of Chungcheongnam-do. Located in the center of Korea, the City serves as a hub of transportation. Major expressways and railways are connected with the City. The Korea Post recently interviewed Mayor Yum Hong-chul of Daejeon Metropolitan City. Excerpts from the interview follow:
Question: What are social capitals and why do you need them?
Answer:In a word, social capital is an intangible value that is created by building favorable relational nets between people. By building relational nets, we can generate precious values, such as participation, communication, trust, consideration, cooperation and sharing. Today is the period of paradigm shift of the civilized society. Capitalism, market economy and neo-liberalism are generating many issues, such as increase in gap between the rich and poor, suicides and unemployment rate. So, social disunion and unnecessary social costs are on the rise. The economic capital is important, but social capital is important as well. In an effort to recover dignity of man and heal adverse effects by increasing social capitals, the City government set up a new dedicated administrative unit, enacted regulations, and conducted good community building programs in conjunction with Korea Forum for Progress.
Q: Please introduce outlook and vision of social capitals of Daejeon City.
A: Social capitals are core assets that support policies of the City and precious properties to be inherited to descendants. When policies and administration of the City government are trusted by citizens and they share values of participation, communications, trust, consideration and cooperation, the City will be able to establish foundation for sustainable growth. Social capitals will help us reduce costs that need to resolve social problems and upgrade dignity of the City. The City government aims at realizing the open Daejeon where citizens build foundation for sustainable growth and the community of participation, communication, trust, consideration and sharing by expanding social capitals.
Q: What outcomes did you gain from the Daejeon International Food & Wine Festival last year, and what is your plan for this year?
A: The international food and wine festival was taken part by more than 350,000 visitors last year who generated economic effects of about 40 billion won (approximately $36.4 million), including foods and wines they purchased in value of about 10 billion won (approximately $9.1 million). Moreover, visitors from other parts of the country and foreign countries accounted for 39.2% of the total audience. And the international festival last year was participated by 177 wine, traditional liquor and food companies as well as restaurants, including 52 industry organizations, from 18 countries. The international wine and food festival will be held for 4 days between October 3 and 6 this year at the Daejeon Convention Center, DIME Exhibition Center, and Hanbit Square. The festival in this year will operate 300 booths by 190 organizations and companies, including 60 wine associations and companies in 20 countries. Programs of the festival will include exhibition, fair and tasting of wines, traditional liquors and foods.
Q: What will be advantages of the project of constructing science belt in Daejeon?
A: When the science belt is built, the dormant Daejeon Expo Science Park will be revived and industrial areas will be expanded, easing shortage of industrial sites. And the Daedeok Science Town can be turned into an advanced base for building a creative economy.
Q: We understand the City is implementing unique programs, such as health cafe, vegetable gardens and bee keeping on rooftops. Would you introduce them briefly?
A: As part of its policy of giving hope to disabled people and promote communications between the disabled and ordinary citizens, the City government has been establishing health cafes over the past several years. It has set up 11 health cafes thus far, employing 40 handicapped persons. We plan to increase the number of such cafes and employ more than 50 disabled persons by the end of this year. Since last year, the City government has been supporting schools and public facilities to build vegetable gardens on their rooftops. In 2012, 50 schools and public facilities built vegetable gardens on rooftops of their buildings, and they set up vegetable gardens on rooftops of 44 schools and public facilities in this year. The City government will encourage apartment complexes to set up vegetable gardens on their rooftops in the future. As part of its strategy of effectively publicizing the International Apicultural Congress set to be held in Daejeon in 2015, the City authority is raising 100,000 bees on the rooftop of the city hall building. k