|Official poster for World Cities Summit Mayors Forum 2023 / Courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government|
By Lee Hyo-jin
Mayors and delegations from nearly 50 cities around the world will gather in Seoul later this week for a summit to discuss ways to create more livable and sustainable cities, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
The city government said delegates from 48 cities in 22 countries will participate in the World Cities Summit Mayors Forum (WCSMF) taking place at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) from Sept. 24 to 26.
It is the largest international event to be hosted by Seoul city since before the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the participants are Tory Whanau, mayor of Wellington, New Zealand, and Wayne Chiang Wan-an, mayor of Taipei, Taiwan. Business leaders and representatives of international organizations, including the U.N.-Habitat and Metropolis, are also among the list of some 200 guests invited to the forum.
On the first day of the three-day forum, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon will introduce his administrative philosophy, dubbed "accompanying the vulnerable," which aims to better support vulnerable residents through improved welfare policies.
He will also promote some of the city's flagship policies such as the "Seoul Safety Income Project," an ongoing pilot project aimed at addressing the widening income gap among households by providing regular subsidies to low-income households.
A special pavilion will be set up at the forum venue to exhibit how technological advancements using robots and biotechnologies are enabling the latest in lifestyle improvements for Seoul residents.
In addition, a special field tour program around the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism venue, Seoul Transport Operation and Information Service (TOPIS) and Cheonggye Stream will be organized to offer the guests a glimpse at Seoul's past, present and future.
"Through the forum, we will provide a platform for exchange of opinions about addressing urban issues and promote the city government's far-reaching policies to the city mayors from around the world, which will contribute to strengthening Seoul's global leadership," said Kim Tae-gyun, head of the Economic Policy Office at the Seoul city government, in a statement.
The annual forum has served as a platform for government officials and industry experts to address livable and sustainable city challenges and share integrated urban solutions as well as forge new partnerships.
Seoul was chosen as the venue for this year's forum after winning the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize in 2018. The award ― jointly organized by the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Center for Liveable Cities (CLC) in Singapore ― is presented every two years to cities with outstanding urban policies.