Committed To Becoming More Age-Friendly
Seoul Republic of Korea
Seoul metropolitan government established the “2020 Master Plan for the Aged Society” embracing the vision, “Seoul, a city whose citizens enjoy healthy and active lives of up to 100 years” under the banner of an “age-friendly city”. In 2011, the institutional foundations were laid to support the initiative, including the enactment of a municipal ordinance on the promotion of an age-friendly city and the formation of a committee dedicated to implementing specific steps to that end. Later, in November 2012, the mayor of Seoul in person announced the first 3-year action plan for the development of an age-friendly city. Building upon all the efforts undertaken by the city over the preceding years, Seoul became the first Korean city to join the Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities (GNAFCC) in June 2013.
The action plan, scheduled for implementation from 2013 to 2015, comprises six main areas and 35 tasks. Each area addresses all of the issues listed in the WHO Guide, including support for the design of the second act of life, customized jobs, healthy old age, comfortable living environment, vibrant recreational culture, respect and intergenerational integration. For example, ‘comfortable living environment’ includes all three aspects — outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, and housing — specified in the WHO Guide, while ‘respect and intergenerational integration’ touches on such specific matters as communication and information. ‘Support for the design of the second act of life’, which is not listed in the Guide, is a unique element of the plan targeting baby boomers (i.e. those born between 1955 and 1963, currently aged 51~59), who make up approximately 16% of the city’s entire population. This particular element carries a special meaning, so the city has been paying additional attention to it.
Aside from the action plan, the city has been running the Seoul Elderly Policy Monitoring Group since 2012 in order to increase opportunities for older people to get involved in the making of policy decisions. The city plans to expand the group’s role as a policy advisory body and to invite its members to contribute their views on the construction of an age-friendly city.