Not to be confused with New Songdo City, the green business hub outside of Seoul, the plan for $20 billion Sejong City is for the "built-from-scratch bureaucrat's paradise" to help reduce the economic gap between Seoul and the rest of the country.
With a population expected to reach 500,000 by 2030, Sejong City is intended to function as a mini-capital with 36 governmental ministries and agencies relocating there from Seoul. The plan isn't without its critics though, including former prime minister Chung Un-chan, who believes, "It will be almost paralyzing for government operations."
According to Harlan, "Politicians have tried, with little success, to feed growth in farther-flung regions, with tax incentives and a plan for 10 "innovation cities" as breeding grounds for industry and private research."
"'There have been, like, 500 policies to help re-balance the country, and they have all failed,' said Yook Dong-il, a professor at Chungnam National University, a 15-minute drive from Sejong. 'But they have all been micro-policies, nothing as big as the plan with Sejong.'"
Thanks to Daniel Lippman