Seoul’s Mayor has launched a plan to grow its economy and improve public services with digital technologies.

The government will spend KRW460.5 billion (US$370.34 million) over the next five years to support startups, train employees and install sensors across the city.

“This year will be the starting point in our city’s journey towards becoming the real global digital capital. [The] initial plans for Digital Seoul 2020 will serve as a guide map,” said Mayor Park Won-soon.

“Through a new digital industry, our city will create jobs, which will stimulate the economy, and solve various urban problems,” he added.

The government will set up the Seoul Digital Foundation in May 2016 to drive the Digital Seoul 2020 initiative.

It will launch programmes to support FinTech startups, while a new tech park, Gaepo Digital Innovation Park, will train 330,000 employees on the Internet of Things (IoT).

The government wants Seoul to be a living lab to test new public services. It has set Bukchon area as a test bed for new sensor-driven services. By 2020, the government will add another 100 such areas using sensors for culture, tourism, public safety and transportation.

One of the IoT projects will be an app to give drivers real-time information on parking availability from 550 parking lots by 2020.

The city wants to have “the world’s best digital infrastructure” so people can access of all of these services. It plans to have free WiFi in all public places in the city including buses and subway by 2020.

As it implements the new plan, it will get feedback from 100,000 citizens online and through public hearings.

“Using digital techniques, most policies will be established by citizens, the beneficiaries of public digital service, with an aim to make our city one of the world’s leading digital capital by 2020,” Mayor Park said.

Image by travel oriented, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0