Accepted paper:

Participatory governance for sustainable cities and communities in the ageing world: South Korean initiatives

Author:

Yunjeong Yang (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies)

Paper short abstract:

Sustainable cities with an increasing older population should encompass and incorporate public spaces and communities that are 'age-friendly'. This study analyzes the extent to which current policies and local initiatives in Korea respect, empower, and engage senior citizens in decision-making.

Paper long abstract:

A key feature of the new global discourse is sustainability, which is nurtured by participatory governance. The goal of sustainable cities and communities involves not only ensuring physical access to safe and affordable housing and the like, but also "improving urban planning and management in a way that is more participatory and inclusive" (UNDP SDG11 website). Participatory and inclusive urban planning and management is one of the world's common goals in this era of sustainable development.

Meanwhile, the world (and Asia in particular) is becoming increasingly aged. Sustainable cities with an increasing older population therefore should encompass and incorporate public spaces and communities that are 'age-friendly'. Engaging older citizens in decision-making and empowering them should be important, both intrinsically (as citizens' right in participatory democracy) and instrumentally (to result in the best outcomes).

In this context, this study analyzes the extent to which current policies and initiatives respect, empower, and actively engage senior citizens in decision-making so that they actively participle in social activities in their own community and also contribute to age-friendly city- and community-making as equal partners. The paper reviews different levels of policy strategies in South Korea as an early aged society in Asia. They include national-(Basic Plans for Aging Society and Populations since 2006) and city-(Seoul Metropolitan City) governments, and local and non-government initiatives at sub-district levels directly engaging marginalized older persons in deprived communities. Innovative approaches as well as challenges revealed from the Korean context will provide useful implications for other ageing societies.

panel K04
From inclusive cities via vibrant public spaces to sustainable development: A leap of faith or a leap too far? (Hybrid combining: paper + policy and practice panel)