Seoul 2040 Comprehensive Plan: “Local Seoul For Me, Global Seoul For All”

April 2022 | The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) announced a draft of the Seoul 2040 Comprehensive Plan to create a new spatial planning framework for new urban spatial structures suitable for the future amidst digital transformation. It is a long-term plan that will serve as a guide for the next 20 years to pursue various models of urban planning that will shape the future of Seoul.

The Seoul 2040 Comprehensive Plan will create flexible socio-spatial schemas that reflect social factors per locality to result in various urban land uses. Moreover, the plan will focus on improving the quality of life of citizens and strengthening Seoul’s urban competitiveness.

The plan comprises six major items on the agenda: 1. First-and-last mile locality infrastructure; 2. Fluvial water-centric infrastructure; 3. Urban competitiveness via multiple nuclei; 4. Urban planning beyond zoning; 5. Undergrounding of the elevated railway; and 6. Expansion of future-oriented transportation infrastructure.

First, the spatial division of residence, leisure and work will be blurred by transforming areas based on first-and-last mile locality infrastructure, which means that citizens’ first mile will also be their last mile where residence, leisure and work will all be interconnected and accessible within a 30-minute walk. Modes of personal mobility can also be utilised in line with the more individualised lifestyles of citizens amidst digital transformation.

Second, fluvial water-centric infrastructure will be created for 61 streams situated evenly throughout Seoul to be transformed into waterfront spaces that enrich the daily lives of citizens.

Third, the urban functions of three nuclei (i.e. downtown Seoul, Yeouido, Gangnam) will be accelerated to enhance their urban competitiveness.

Fourth, a new paradigm shift in urban planning will go beyond zoning that had previously divided the city into residential, industrial, and green areas. This will lead to greater autonomy in how areas are established with complex functional arrangements.

Fifth, undergrounding elevated railway will create new urban spaces not just above the ground, but also underground.

Sixth, new transportation infrastructure will pave the way for future-oriented modes of transportation, such as autonomous vehicles.

With this draft of the Seoul 2040 Comprehensive Plan, the SMG aims to set the framework to lead Seoul’s urban development for the next 20 years to create a “Local Seoul For Me, Global Seoul For All” and enhance not just Seoul’s urban competitiveness, but also the quality of life for citizens.


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