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Megacity Seoul could 'counter rural extinction': Seoul mayor

Nov. 16, 2023 - 19:09 By Lee Jung-joo
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon (right) meets with Rep. Cho Kyoung-tae, head of the People Power Party's New City Project Special Committee, to discuss the incorporation of Gyeonggi provincial cities into Seoul at Seoul City Hall on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Regarding the recent megacity plan involving expanding Seoul's administrative boundaries to include several neighboring cities in Gyeonggi Province, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said during a regular Seoul Metropolitan Council meeting on Thursday that it could counter rural extinction.

In response to ruling People Power Party Rep. Lee Jong-bae’s question, "Can megacities can be seen as a global trend?" Oh answered that it is “time to mobilize all possible measures to counteract rural extinction.”

“The changes in metropolitan areas around the world -- such as Greater London, Grand Paris, Tokyo and now the 'Megacity Seoul' plan -- can all be considered as a way to counter rural extinction,” said Oh, without elaborating.

Rural extinction is the phenomenon in which the populations of rural regions face the danger of dying out due to low birth rates and rapid aging.

“I hope that the recent discussions regarding Gimpo’s integration into Seoul lead to more in-depth discussions on how we can move forward from what has been raised so far so that we can discuss more about how megacities can set an example to counter rural extinction and the kind of insights we can draw from it," Oh said.

On Wednesday, during Oh’s meeting with the People Power Party’s New City Project Special Committee, which is in charge of drafting a special law regarding adding Gimpo to Seoul, Oh mentioned that there is a need for a gradual plan, allowing for a buffer period for the incorporation of Gyeonggi provincial cities into Seoul.

“It’s a new plan that involves many changes, and if these changes are rushed in a short period of time, it’s expected to create quite a lot of chaos," Oh said.

Meanwhile, Oh is set to meet with Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Dong-yeon and Incheon Mayor Yoo Jeong-bok on Thursday to discuss the ruling party’s proposal to add Gimpo and other Gyeonggi Province cities to Seoul under the “Megacity Seoul” initiative, as well as regarding public transportation and metropolitan landfill sites.