Chang-Hee Christine Bae and Harry W. Richardson South Korea has experienced one of the most rapid economic expansions since the 1960s from one of the poorest to the thirteenth wealthiest country in the world. This was associated with changing life styles from the traditional multi-generational family living in single storey urban environments to the more contemporary nuclear family living in high and mid-rise condominiums and apartments. Seoul became denser than Tokyo, London and New York in three decades, and was ranked seventeenth in a World City Index by Cai and Sit (2004). As incomes rise, so do the demands for a better quality of life. This captured the attention of the former President Roh who directed the national planning research organization, KRIHS (Korean Research Institute of Human Settlements) to examine policies to support making cities liveable. Here we describe some of the key elements and highlights of the liveable cities movement in South Korea. Long before, Korea was instrumental in promoting the concept of ‘Green Growth’, which is much broader in terms of national and even global significance than liveable cities, but nevertheless has many affinities with it. The concept was disseminated in Asia by Chung Rae Kwon when he was the Director of UNESCAP’s Environment and Sustainable Development Division. At a conference in 2005, he proposed three principles: changes in the tax structure (for example higher ‘green’ taxes offset by lower income taxes); more investment in public transportation; and emphasis on new energy sources that reduce dependence on fossil...
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