Public Space and Design for Everyday Lives of CitizensCity is an inevitable space of life for the modern people. The skyline that we are currently experiencing, the plaza, parks, natural environments and so forth are mostly the result of the city plan that was systemized in the past, and until now, the urban space was planned to play its role in line with the usage that was planned and defined based on function. Various parts of cities that achieved industrial competitiveness by prioritizing efficiency and economics is far from ‘user-centric approaches’ and achieving ‘sustainability’ that is the focus of today’s society. Future city should be restructured into a space that can enable exchange and circulation based on the needs and the thoughts of citizens or stakeholders of local communities, and aged spaces and the environment should be improved to resolve urban issues.
Design for Public Service Platform1. Digital platform of public service Public service based on digital platform is emerging as the most important factor in the competitiveness of a nation and a city. In 2020, Korea ranked 8th in the World Digital Competitiveness Ranking announced by the Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Switzerland, which was a 2-step rise from 10th position in 2019, to show its potential in the digital field. Also, in the government index announced by OECD, Korea is exhibiting strength and performance in digital-based public service by achieving 1st place in digital by design government, 2nd place in government as a platform, 3rd place in data-driven government, 1st place in open by default government, 4th place in user driven government and 12th place in proactiveness of government. Seoul is also making efforts to drive innovation in public service based on excellent digital infrastructure, and moreover, there is a demand to resolve problems in a way that can be felt by our citizens and achieve transformation in terms of creating sustainable and real values.
Public Design GovernanceLast month, a “Consultative Group of Residents for Publilc Design” was established by Seongdong-gu District Office. It was the nation’s first consultative body in design that engaged residents and consisted of eight residents, four expert members, two design experts and one public officer. Through the consultative group, the district was able to quickly collect residents’ opinions about relevant projects including the one related to public design and combined experts’ advice thereby setting a direction for design. It was designed to become a channel to communicate with the residents. In today’s multifaceted and complex modern society, existing design process that produces an outcome by utilizing intuitive ideas of only few designers has often turned out to be insufficient to meet the needs of the citizens. In response, this has shed a light on the need to come up with an innovative method to engage citizens, cooperate with stakeholders and experts for higher level of self-reliance and sustainability. The word “public” in public design means an unspecified number of the general public and together, which incorporates a value of engaging various players and cooperating in the process to create a design intended for everyone. The strategy that is being used to realize the afore-mentioned value of public design is a governance taking a perspective of “various methods for problem-solving.”
ESG and Social problem-solving design; with a focus on design governance projectSince the spread of COVID-19, cities have faced various social problems different from the pre-COVID era, and citizens have experienced fatigue and stress arising from social problems including Corona Blue (depression due to self-isolation and social distancing), social isolation, increased hatred, digital addiction, etc. To effectively respond to social problems of the city that take place in a multifaceted manner, it is critical to clearly define subproblems first.
Policy direction identified from the analysis of the diffusion process of Life Safety (Crime Prevention) DesignThe anonymous cities that we have been building allowed us to have maximum freedom and make various choices, however, inappropriately, the cities have mercilessly reduced many alternative choices such as collective community action that were available in the past. Only for the limited purpose of reviving the collective environment, physical design of living environment must be used.
A new tool to discover an integrated and demand-oriented policy agenda for near future__ De-sign:Re-formDesign, which first started as an activity of creating tangible goods, is now creating intangible values in the form of experience and service design. As demand for digital services including mobile applications rises, user experience design that creates a system that evokes emotions started to get attention, and service design which focuses on finding invisible needs of users and developing a new service model has been widely adopted and used in various areas of industry including hospitals, banks, education institutions, etc.
Health of the residents and city shelter in the post pandemic eraThe pandemic that dramatically changed the daily lives and the work environment across the globe is going through a recovery phase in all metrics. Experts have predicted that the humanity will have daily lives that is different from the period prior to the spread of Covid-19 based on the New Normal (Standard that is newly emerging with the change in the era) phenomenon that resulted from the prolonged spread of the infectious disease, and as such, many cities and citizens started to face a new life.
Design that draws a new worldYou may remember the controversy, which took place between the right and the left sides in 2019 when the Republic of Korea commemorates its 100th anniversary, on the question whether the year 2019 is the 100th anniversary or not. However, when the first year of another centenary began in 2020, there was no proposal of ideology or vision for the next 100 years despite the controversy in the previous year. I thought that it just goes that way. Then, COVID-19 pandemic has swept the world, creating radical changes as if the pandemic cleans up the world.
A safe space for medical care that boosts resilience and recovery for allIt's been two years since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic and healthcare professionals have been battling the virus. As the pandemic prolonged, we have been practicing social distancing and self-quarantine in everyday life for the past two years. The unusual situations which people never experienced before became a new normal, and physical distancing and the Stay Home Stay Safe campaign were implemented to minimize direct contact with other people, which ushered into the “Untact” era. Meanwhile, frontline healthcare professionals that treat patients with COVID-19 are directly exposed to the virus and having a very challenging time. Healthcare workers have been known to have a very high level of stress and fatigue even before the pandemic, however, the outbreak of COVID-19 led to the huge demand exceeding the capacity of healthcare systems, and healthcare workers were put under extreme strain due to overwork and chronic stress.
We Solve Problems Around Us on Our Own! (2)When a case of a child abuse is reported, the abused child is separated from parents, needs to wait at a police precinct or police station to undergo an investigation and has to live in a child protection agency. During this process, the child feels uneasy and stressed by unfamiliar spaces and people. In addition, the child may feel the guilt of causing this situation by his or her own fault. “Hoya Toto” was devised as a solution to resolve the anxiety of abused children in the unfamiliar environment by forming a bond with police officers.
Sustainable Clothing Design for Children With Cerebral Palsy With the Heart of a MotherPublic design that turns daily inconvenience into something beautiful and efficient; the “needs” of public design start from the following three situations. First, people are too familiar with the problem situation. Second, there is no known solution, or the needs are in the blind spot of the managing body. Third, the needs cannot be discovered easily because of special circumstances. This is the reason why the starting point of successful public design should be accurate identification of the inconvenience of users.
Development of Participatory Universal Design CultureThe Center operates civic participation groups to consider the “viewpoint of the weak” or the “viewpoint of the citizens.” The first civic participation group recruited last year monitored eight public facilities in Seoul, including Donuimun Museum Village, Oil Tank Culture Park, and the Seoul Museum of History. The second civic participation group this year is visiting facilities that are close to the people of Seoul, such as the Sejong-daero Walkway in Gwanghwamun, Jongmyo Shrine, Yejang Park, and the Seoul Museum of Craft Art. The civic participation group uploads posts about the benefits or improvements that are needed for each place they monitor on social media or blogs to share information with the people.
Diffusion of Universal Design Culture: Seoul Universal Design AwardThe SMG was the first public institution to promote industries related to universal design by establishing the Seoul Universal Design Award (SUDA) and holding its first public contest in 2021.
Accessibility Information Map for the Mobility Disadvantaged PersonsCities comprise artificial or non-artificial combinations of countless roads (lines), facilities (points), and spaces (planes). Living in such cities, we find the most efficient and fastest way to reach a facility or space. When driving a car, we use a navigation device that informs us of the optimal or shortest route considering real-time traffic volume information and road types (narrow and curved or wide and straight roads). When walking, we can use pedestrian guides on commercial maps such as NAVER Map, Kakao Map and Google Map. When using pedestrian guides, people often prefer the fastest and shortest route, even if there are steep slopes or height differences caused by stairs. If there is no difficulty in walking, slopes and surface materials that may cause inconvenience are obstacles that can be overcome.
Universal Design Project for Convenient Spaces: Public RestroomsThe Republic of Korea is experiencing radical demographic changes, such as the super-aged society and an increase in the foreign population. The public sector is obliged to create comfortable spaces for parents to go out with infants as well as an environment for seniors, persons with disabilities, and children. Recently, public spaces have been improved with the acknowledgment of diversity and the reinforcement of legal regulations. However, laws do not regulate details of small-scale unit spaces, which have low priorities when it comes to spatial improvement. For example, the SMG remodeled many aged community service centers during the “‘Outreach Project for Spatial Improvement of Community Service Centers,” but restrooms were not included in the scope of this project. As such, Seoul has built and improved good spaces, but it excluded small-scale spaces like restrooms. Among diverse spaces, restrooms, in particular, are crucial for solving physiological issues. Therefore, restrooms should be available at any place. Though Koreans tend to allow people to use restrooms freely, many restrooms in old buildings of Seoul are not open to the public. Accordingly, the Design Policy Division of Seoul and the Seoul Universal Design Center (“Center”) selected restrooms, places with an urgent need for universal design among small-scale unit spaces, as the first target for improvement, as well as a target for the “Outreach Project for Spatial Improvement of Community Service Centers.”
Memories are Designed by Experiencing PlacesKorean has entered an aged society in 2017. Korea is estimated to become a super-aged society, defined as a society where over 20% of the population are seniors 65 years or above, in 2025. The city of Seoul is where population aging occurs at the fastest rate, with the aging index having increased rapidly by about 127.3% in the last ten years. Dementia is the most common disease in the elderly population, which is increasing at a fast rate. What would be necessary to prevent dementia, a disease that gives pain and burden to patients, their family members, and even society?
Crime, School Violence, Stress, Obesity... Can We Find Solutions Through “Design?”Narrow and complex alleys where criminals could hide and flee easily were improved with healthy community content. This region formed a strong bond among residents by closely cooperating with the community service center, district office, and police. “A” is a 31-year-old office worker who gets scared on the way home from work late at night. The shanty town crowded with old houses has somehow become gloomier after the termination of the rebuilding project. “B” living in Gasan-dong, Geumcheon-gu, is in a similar circumstance. “B” feels bleak to walk in a place packed with houses and small factories where there is no one else in sight. The way to go home, the most comfortable place, became the scariest route. In response to this unfortunate paradox, the SMG prepared for a realistic countermeasure with “design.” This solution was derived from the process of changing the scariest route to an enjoyable route, gathering residents, and letting criminals know.
The Direction of the Design in The Age of New Normal ‘To Empathize with Costumers and Design New Connections through Design Thinking’Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, social systems that operated through human connections fell into sudden stagnation. The free and flexible daily life of citizens was controlled and limited, and the operating speed of the existing system was significantly lowered, increasing the inconvenience and difficulties of citizens. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis that no one expected and could not prepare for, members of society are showing some results by designing and implementing devices that can promote social connection in order to break through the disconnection and resulting inefficiency. It is necessary to think about the impact of these attempts on the lives of citizens and the sustainability of these connections.