Seoul is letting citizens design public spaces

New portal launched for public competitions to design city buildings.

The Seoul Government has launched a digital portal for people to submit designs for public projects. Bids to design public buildings will no longer be based on price alone. Instead, public competitions will be held to pick the best one, with citizens and experts able to voice their opinions on the design from an earlier stage. The initiative, called Project Seoul, will also simplify the process and paperwork for submitting designs. The city wants to ensure that young architects with new ideas can participate in the competitions. Designers will get an opportunity to explain the concept of their design to an advisory panel, which will be disclosed in advance. The panel will publish its review and reasons for selecting the winning designs to create a “trustworthy screening environment”, the project’s website says. These designs will better reflect the way citizens will use the facilities, the city hopes. “From now on, site selection, institution size and appropriateness of budget and the like will be thoroughly reviewed from the planning stage to establish citizen-tailored public buildings,” the website says. Competitions could range from design a large government office to a community service centre or a public library. It will include orders for designs placed by builder SH Corporation, the city government and other Seoul-affiliated organisations. The government discussed the idea with architects and other experts through a “construction policy workshop” to ensure that it is feasible. The website currently features a competition to design the Seoul Animation Centre. Previous competitions included a new Women and Family Complex and a redesign of the Seoul Station Overpass, inspired by New York’s High Line. Image by Seoul Guide Korea; CC BY 2.0