Reflections on Our Urban Design Efforts for the Post COVID-19 EraIn 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic is presenting new challenges to the world. According to the official statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO), there are currently 42,966,344 confirmed cases and 1,152,604 deaths in 219 countries and territories. In Korea, the cumulative number of confirmed cases has reached 26,043 and the death toll has reached 460. Although there are still many difficulties in our society, the response method to COVID-19 is receiving relatively positive evaluations. Quick epidemiological investigation, centralized administrative processing, and flexible financial management are frequently cited as the success factors of the so-called “K-Quarantine”. Planning and collaboration with the private sector, rigorous contact tracing, a flexible health system and government-led communication are key factors in controlling the coronavirus. The central government shows strong leadership and works closely with local governments and private organizations to carry out tasks quickly and efficiently. Our society and bureaucratic organizations are very accustomed to this, and perform effectively. This leads our city, which was built in a top-down, large-scale development method in an era of rapid growth, to reflect on recent urban design efforts that seek design solutions in a bottom-up, resident-participatory, small-scale regeneration method from a different angle. The so-called 'slow & bottom-up' discourse of 'step by step led by residents' in various similar project sites of the government that has changed names over the past 20 years was a very difficult investigation to realize. A number of projects such as living soc, smart city, and green remodeling are still being carried out rapidly under the leadership of the administration. As confirmed by the success factors of K-Quarantine, among the things our society is good at and can be proud of, is a quick and efficient administrative system led by the government and a fast space solution led by experts. What compromises must be sought to paradoxically establish a new, time-consuming, participatory urban design approach while taking advantage of the fast solution finding and implementation of the central government-led top-down system? The successful experience of K-Quarantine is something to be thankful for, but it is inevitable that attributes such as strong administrative power, promptness, control, and personal sacrifice collide with various basic values such as democracy and human rights inherent in resident participatory urban design planning. How can you mediate such aspects? We try to find answers to these questions.
Citizen-centered Problem Solving, The Value and Performance of Social Problem Solving DesignThis presentation aims to accomplish three goals - to introduce concepts and methodologies of social problem-solving design; to draw value of social problem-solving design from cases shared at the previous forums hosted by the city of Seoul; and to put forward designers’ future role and vision in relation to the evolving social problem-solving design. Intro: Widening a Role of Design Across the globe, we’re seeing more complex and diverse issues in our society ranging from social structures and policies, climate change, pandemics, to inequality. Design’s role and potential are expanding in addressing these issues. The Ministry of the Interior and Safety has included public service design in the Administrative Procedures Act to encourage citizen participation. Similarly, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has incorporated social problem-solving design into its policies and general plans.
Generative Social Distance Design: The Optimisation of Building Layouts for COVID-19Social Distancing Lab Project I would like to talk about the ‘Social Distance Research Institute’ project, which ended about three months ago. Former Senator Ted. Kennedy said, “What divides us pales in comparison to what unites us.” As I worked on a technical research project centered on isolating people during an epidemic, I personally hoped that the shared experience could revitalize the community and rekindle a sense of social cohesion. What is social distancing and how does it affect transmission? The prevailing view of the modern scientific community is that maintaining human-to-human distance is an important factor in reducing the rate of respiratory cross-contamination. The principle of air transmission is that droplets are emitted when people talk to each other or cough, and if people who are within 2 meters of each other inhale it, it is easy to be directly infected with the virus. Therefore, reducing the distance between people increases the risk of infection, and almost all countries have been able to directly reduce the number of deaths by introducing social distancing measures. These statistical data indicate that social distancing measures were effective in reducing the number of confirmed deaths, which is a result showing that social distancing is a key response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the global economy, not just on human life.
Panel-discussionThe Seoul Design International Forum is being held under the theme of ‘How does design enrich our future?’. Presentations in the forum explained the issues of the urban environment that we face from various perspectives and proposed countermeasures. We will now have a panel discussion to hear the opinions our panels based on the contents that were presented today.
Challenges and Tasks of City of SEOULThere are numerous definitions of universal design by experts and scholars. Among the definitions, I think The University of Buffalo defines universal design best: "A design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation.” Universal design is not a result, but rather a process of making. In this context, through various projects, the city of Seoul is implementing universal design that involves the public, solves everyday problems, and ensures that no one is marginalized. Each and All, between individuality and versatility, how can a design for a particular person become a design for all?
Universal Design in the Era of Digital Transformation - Creating a World for All Digital Transformation for Universal Design - Inclusive WorldUnlike in the past, the concept of 'disability' is today recognized in accordance with aspects of information accessibility and social context. Many problems can be solved through technology. If accessibility is not considered continuously while creating a new environment, people will feel new disabilities, and to prevent this, accessibility, interaction, and cultural change must be considered. Microsoft's mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Just as in the past Microsoft made it easy for people to access information and the Internet through PCs, its direction now is to help people achieve more than ever before through technology. In terms of increasing the accessibility of information by providing software services to all organizations and everyone, it can be seen that this is in line with the purpose of universal design. When we approach the concept of disability, we think of individual health and physical condition first, but disability differs from general interactions and does not represent physical characteristics or health conditions. Of the many people with disabilities, 70% are visually impaired. In addition, in the United States, about 26,000 people each year have a permanent disability due to bodily injury, and some suffer temporary discomfort due to injury. Therefore, since disability is not determined and applicable by physical conditions, but can be experienced temporarily or contextually, design should be developed and services should be prepared according to these situational criteria. There are over 1 billion people with disabilities on the planet. On top of this, as we are entering an aging society, in the future, more people may face a situation in which they need to work in a different environment or access information. Therefore, accessibility should be considered from a long-term perspective. Microsoft has already developed accessibility and high-contrast screen features in Windows since the early days of Windows in 1990, and will continue to do so in the future.
Flow: Mobilising Data for Sustainable OutcomesCities have undergone transformations in the last centuries based on two paradigms. The first paradigm was the rapid development of infrastructure in the 20th century, and the second paradigm was transportation — the introduction and expansion of vehicles. The next paradigm will be the advent of the fourth industrial revolution leading data-based technological development for smart cities. Then, how can we define practical technologies in the future?
The Necessity of Introducing Pedestrian Application for the Visually Impaired to Build a Smart City Based on Universal DesignAccessibility means that disabled and non-disabled people can use all services and products equally, and it can be said that it is in line with universal design that pursues design for everyone. So, how can people with disabilities communicate externally? They are being helped by various assistive technologies. Assistive technology refers to all products, equipment, software, or systems that help individuals with disabilities to achieve their full potential. As the concept of assistive technology becomes universal, the paradigm for disability has changed. As a representative example, screen readers and electronic information terminals are assistive technologies that help visually impaired people to communicate, and include screen readers and electronic information terminals. With technological help, visually impaired people can independently perform various tasks, such as searching the Internet and writing documents. Today, these assistive technologies are being applied in a way that provides convenient services to anyone rather than being a technology only for the disabled. For example, audiobooks, which existed in the past as a service to help visually impaired people in reading, are now becoming universal as a technology for everyone, as it has become one of the types of reading that non-disabled people can choose according to their needs.
Metaverse Dreams of A Shared, Connected and Expanded CityWhy Do We Desire Cities? Homo sapiens and Neanderthals had something in common. They both built houses or small cities and lived in groups to survive in the wilderness. But outcomes were different. Homo sapiens indeed survived, while Neanderthals became part of history. Unfortunately, we can spot in our cities several factors that pushed Neanderthals into extinction. We’ll explore them further in a unique world known as the metaverse.
Absolute Value of Design and Innovation – Thinking Beyond CompetitivenessPrevious design innovation aimed at gaining a competitive edge, but today’s design innovation in products, services, or policies raises the necessity of absolute values. In order to establish “good brands,” companies and institutions should bear in mind that unlike the past, it is hard to build trust when there is no originality as distribution channels of content diversify, resulting in intensifying competition. Customers can now compare and analyze various brands thanks to increasing data and diversified channels conveying such information. In other words, creating innovative momentum or developing brands using previous method is no longer effective. As customers today access numerous contents, unforgettable consumer experiences can only be made through a new dimension of challenges; hence, the need for absolute innovation. Companies mainly consider “the targets to connect their products, services, and policies with” for absolute innovation. Still, the most significant thing is to understand the core value of services, products, and policies which have strong chemistry with customers based on understanding the momentum of customers.
SIDF 2022_Forum registrationWarmest greetings from Seoul, Korea! We cordially invite you to join 2022 Seoul Design International Forum to be live-streamed at 13:00-18:00 on October 5, 2022(KST). Click here to convert the time and date of the forum into your time zone.
City Desgin as Investment in the FutureWelcome, I’m Oh Se-hoon, the mayor of Seoul. It is my great pleasure to be here at the Seoul Design International Forum. I would also like to express my gratitude to the speakers. Today, I would like to focus on ‘urban design.’ Design is capable of creating values. And cities must be able to offer values to their residents. When cities have values, they become more competitive and provide a happy, fulfilling life. Therefore, design is a key tool that drives cities’ competitiveness. A city is our legacy for generations to come as they pioneer into the future. Given this, urban design is an investment for the future.