In Seoul, a smart city project is using wide-ranging data to optimize public services to the needs of citizens and to address environmental concerns.

The Challenge

Seoul has recognized that many of its environmental, social, and economic issues could be addressed by applying smarter information and communications technology (ICT) to the city’s public services and capitalizing on the widespread use of social media and mobile devices. Smart Seoul 2015 aims to effectively manage rapid changes in the urban environment and strategies for spearheading future ICT developments.

The Solution

Smart Seoul 2015 is a plan for the e-governance of Seoul that strives to create an innovative urban culture based on IT and data. Under the project, data, often generated by citizens themselves, help City of Seoul officials make more informed decisions and develop real-time, mobile-based services that cater to citizens’ diverse needs. As citizen access to digital data is vital for the project’s success, fast public Wi-Fi is available at 972 hotspots across Seoul, including throughout the city’s subway networks as well as parks and other public facilities.

Data for the project is collected through various e-government functions and the country’s private sector. For instance, the available pool of big data on telephone calls and transportation helped the city revise and streamline nighttime bus routes along the five most trafficked routes, resulting in increased public satisfaction as well as reduced fuel consumption. Another initiative under the project is a mapping application providing 3D street information, which can be used to predict which areas will be most affected by floods, thereby enabling the development of preemptive flood-response measures.

Environmental Benefits – The energy efficiency measures at the data center that oversees all municipal information systems in Seoul, consisting of automated temperature distribution and heat and humidity-proof systems, help to save up to 727 MWh of electricity per year.

Social Benefits – Ensuring access to technology across social divides, the city provides second-hand computers, smartphones, and IT classes for the underprivileged. Distribution of second-hand computers reached 2,700 per year in 2014.

Economic Benefits – Seoul has achieved a 30% cost reduction on server and software maintenance resulting from increased use of cloud computing and energy efficiency measures.

Health Benefits – The mobile service “Staying Safe in Seoul” informs residents of potential or imminent dangers, such as floods, heavy snowfalls, storms, and fires.

About Cities100

Presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – Cities100 showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments.  You can access the full Cities100 2015 publication online here.

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Health
  • Social
Key Impact
The government app, mSeoul, provides location-based services to people looking for key government buildings, public bathrooms, hospitals and clinics, supermarkets, and bus stops
Emissions Reduction
40% CO2 reduction in seoul by 2030, supported by smart seoul 2015
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