What’s best for local cities?Rural governments are rebelling against the new government’s re-examination of the “Inno Cities” plan, an ambitious project of the Roh Moo-hyun administration. The plan calls for upgrading rural towns in Korea by dispatching 157 public offices and enterprises from Seoul to provinces nationwide by 2012. With reports from the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs listing various problems with the project, we can see why the local governments are reacting this way. A hasty judgment should be avoided, however, because the current administration’s re-examination is aimed at correcting the rather abrupt execution of the plan by the former administration
Many have questioned the Inno Cities plan ever since former President Roh Moo-hyun first suggested it.
They worry that the project is more than we can chew for now and that as a country, we need to figure out a more direct, practical way to help rural areas.
There was worry that the “Inno Cities” plan, with its high cost for construction, would not benefit the public companies moving there.
And in the recent report by the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, this turned out to be true.
However, many of the building sites in Inno Cities had been purchased and in some parts, building is already under way.
So even if the current administration is re-examining this plan, it is hard to sell land that these companies have already bought. It also is difficult to stop construction now in the middle of building these companies.
The central government needs to present a firm stance on how to develop rural areas and not hold back on financing this. It also needs to come up with a development project for Korea’s regional cities that exceeds this current plan.
Most of all, the government must change its perception of regional cities. It should not select just a few cities to be developed, but think of a way to steadily help all local cities in the future.
To do this, the government should not only dispatch public companies to these cities, but consider the big picture to determine which industries and firms fit into each city, based on their own unique characteristics.
And rural governments should have more control over the plan because they know the most about their city and how to develop it.
These rural governments need to find for themselves a way to survive.