Panel Paper: Building an Effective and Sustainable Smart City: A Case Study of Busan and Namyangju, South Korea

Saturday, November 10, 2018
8229 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Michael J Ahn, University of Massachusetts, Boston and KiHang Cho, Busan Metropolitan City

This study explores an innovative smart city practice called, DASAN Innovation, by the city of NamYangJu in South Korea. The city of NamYangJu has been one of the leading innovators among local governments in South Korea and the purpose of this case study is to understand how the application of smart city innovations affect the quality of government services and transform the way the government is run and identify the key elements that facilitate effective smart city innovation and bring about a culture of innovation to a government that is new to the concept of smart city and Big Data.

The city of NamYangJu has incorporated four smart city platforms in its operation, namely, i) Big Data analytics, ii) Internet of Things (IoT) and drones, iii) citizen participation and iv) Smartwork Navigation. Of these, the city’s Big Data Analytics forms the core of its innovative platforms, from which the city has developed and implemented various innovative practices in its service provision. For instance, its Big Data Analytics helped the city to understand the key characteristics of its citizens, their pressing needs, and their locations, enabling the government to custom and focus their service efforts to the target population; improve the effectiveness of its public transit such as bus routes and intervals; predict and prevent the spread of seasonal infectious diseases; drastically improved the effectiveness of parking violation control and improve the respond to natural disasters such as flooding. In addition, the city’s IoT platform is used to sense any medical emergencies for elders living alone and monitor water and sewer levels while assessing the water quality in real-time and its drones are used for public safety and fire prevention purposes; the city’s active citizen participation platform provides access to an online community map that allows its citizens to share and view useful information in the city and citizens can directly voice their policy opinions and suggestions to the mayor and the city administration; and lastly, the city’s Smartwork Navigation platform is designed to lower intra-governmental barriers by connecting and integrating various systems in different agencies.

This study will take a close look inside NamyangJu’s smart city system, identify the change agents that transformed an ordinary Korean provincial city government into one of leading local innovators in Korea, and discuss elements that will help sustain the culture of innovation at NamyangJu.