Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) announced the introduction of the Urban Nature Park Zone policy on June 29. The Urban Nature Park Zone System permits construction in the park to prevent invalidation of the city park (covered in SPACE issue 632, ‘The Policies and Limitations to the Invalidation of Urban Parks’). SMG implemented this system as a countermeasure against the invalidation of long-term unimplemented urban parks, which took effect on July 1. 69.2 ㎢ of 118.5 ㎢ Seoul’s long-delayed city parks were classified as urban nature park areas. However, the system only serves to promote agreement between public and private sectors on land use, and does not have any legal binding implications like the Restricted Development Zone Act.
On July 14, SMG announced that it had signed a free land use contract for seven city parks, in the midst of a situation in which there are no follow-up countermeasures for the invalidation of long-term unimplemented urban parks after the new policy. The contract to use the city park was newly established in the Act on URBAN PARKS, GREEN AREAS, ETC’, acknowledging the property rights of the owners instead of legal enforcement. It was intended to reduce costs and ensure private land ownership. However, this move is limited in that the land is rented from the private sector, which means the park ? whose ownership is not prolonged ? will eventually lose their status as urban park.
This year, the SMG seeks to solve problems related to delayed urban parks by purchasing city parks with an area of 0.51㎢. However, it continues to be necessary to establish various strategies to protect city parks in addition to land compensation. <by editorial team>