[EDITORIALS]Rush-rush urban planning

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[EDITORIALS]Rush-rush urban planning

The city of Yongin has rejected the construction of new apartments in the Dongbaek housing zone because of the inefficient transportation infrastructure there. The decision is the first time a local government has stepped on the brakes on inadequately planned mass apartment construction.

The developer, the Korea Land Corporation, requested a construction permit without having the right of way for construction roads. In a nutshell, a unilateral policy of the central government was rejected.

The rampant development of the Dongbaek-Jukjeon housing zone in Yongin has been a headache for both the city and its residents. Compounding the matter is the development rush in nearby areas. Experts forecast that the current population of 200,000 in the northwestern Yongin area will jump to 850,000 by 2008. The commuting time from Pangyo to Yangjae in southern Seoul, which now takes an hour, will be an hour and 20 minutes by 2006. It is not surprising that the neighboring city of Seongnam would object to the project, concerned about a devastating effect on the already heavy traffic leading from Seoul to Bundang, just north of Yongin.

Korea Land Corporation's business strategy is like a bulldozer. It is the responsibility of the central government to develop Seoul and its surrounding areas to alleviate housing shortages, but the local governments have to contend with the need for new roads and other infrastructure.

It has been five years since Dongbaek was designated by the government as a housing development area. Why did the developers waste five years and then run into this opposition? Korea Land, ill-equipped to solve the problems on its own, should have asked the Transportation Ministry and the provincial government for help in upgrading the transportation system.

Both the ministry and the corporation were in too big a hurry. Relieving the housing shortage in Korea is a sound policy goal, but it requires a meticulous blueprint.

If the central government continues with its unilateral policies, it will continue to face obstacles that pop up in front of it.
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