[EDITORIALS]More Plans, Less Politics in Pangyo

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[EDITORIALS]More Plans, Less Politics in Pangyo

The development plan of the Pangyo area is wobbling from the beginning. The Ministry of Construction and Transportation proposed a plan to develop 9.24 million square meters of land near Pangyo. It plans to build 20,000 houses and an industrial complex of 330,000 square meters to accommodate 1,000 technology start-ups. But Kyonggi province demanded that the size of the industrial complex should be increased by six times, and the Seoul Metropolitan Government asked the ministry to cancel the entire plan on the grounds of regional traffic congestion.

The ruling Millennium Democratic Party is split. The party's Supreme Council attempted to agree on the plan Thursday, but failed; attendees engaged in shouting matches, and lawmaker Lee Yoon-soo, who sides with Kyonggi province, urged Lee Hae-chan, the party's chief policy maker and a development supporter, to step down.

Pangyo's development could easily provoke criticism; it is difficult to predict its impact on traffic and population patterns. Past government plans were hardly successful, and there have always been unexpected side effects. Newly developed cities have become nothing more than bedroom communities. The development of the Pangyo area is not only a concern of Kyonggi province, but also will have a serious impact on the Kyongbu Expressway and traffic in the Seoul area. The plan should take into account profitability, the interests of residents, population concentration in the capital region and transportation. It should also be based on a broader scheme of balanced development of the entire country. It should not be changed for the interests of politicians facing local elections next year. If the plan must be revised, the priority should be to set a clear goal: either to stabilize housing or to build an industrial complex. We cannot allow the revision be picked over by lawmakers, as some have already tried to do.

If the situation continues, Pangyo will become another failure and the region will suffer from severe traffic jam. Either politicians should drop out of policy-making on Pangyo or the development should be stopped.
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