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More public spaces enhances national dignity: commission head

Indian ambassador stresses strategic partnership, Yonsei Univ. professor digital transformation at GBF

June 13, 2024 - 16:09 By Lee Jung-joo
Kwon Young-gull, chairperson of the National Architecture Policy Commission, gives a speech during the Global Business Forum held in Seoul, Wednesday. (The Korea Herald)

Public spaces hold symbolic meaning to South Koreans and it is important to build more of them in cities to enhance national dignity, said Chairperson Kwon Young-gull from the National Architecture Policy Commission at the Global Business Forum held in Seoul on Wednesday.

The GBF, organized by The Korea Herald, is an association of experts from various fields such as business leaders, scholars, diplomats and celebrities, who come together to provide comprehensive views on industrial changes.

Several experts who are a part of the city's architecture and construction industries were seated at Wednesday’s event.

Kwon took the floor to explain the commission’s goals to create symbolic spaces within different cities in Korea, with a particular focus on the capital city of Seoul.

“Symbolic spaces, defined as spaces that are closely related to Korea’s historical figures or events, can help identify nonmaterialistic values within a city that aren't noticeable otherwise,” said Kwon. “These spaces could be anything -- from industrial clusters with industries that represent a certain country, a transportation hub or historical parks -- as long as they help to create a collective unconscious among the people that says, ‘This represents Korea and us.’”

As an example of a symbolic space, Kwon mentioned Yongsan Park, the former US military base, Yongsan Garrison in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul. While the government had initially planned to complete the construction of the park by 2027, the plan has been postponed and part of the site that previously served as townhouses for US officers and their families is currently opened to the public.

“The Yongsan Park site holds great historical meaning, as it not only served as the former base for US Forces, but it also served as a military base for the Japanese military,” added Kwon. “We have plans to build entertainment facilities, museums and galleries in Yongsan Park so that it could serve as a historical and cultural hub that brings great changes to Seoul.”

Using Yongsan Park as an example, Kwon said that the commission hopes to establish more parks within Korea’s 17 metropolitan cities and 260 local cities to achieve its mission: “a country like a park, a city like a garden.”

Park Hee-jun, a professor in Yonsei University's Department of Industrial Engineering, gives a presentation during the Global Business Forum held in Seoul on Wednesday. (The Korea Herald)

Following Kwon’s presentation, the session continued with professor Park Hee-jun, from the Department of Industrial Engineering at Yonsei University.

Park advocated for the digital transformation to occur to address consumer needs. The digital transformation, defined by Park, provides solutions to consumer problems that companies have been aware of but had been unable to solve due to technology limitations.

“It is important to look at all the accumulated data between a company and its consumers from multiple angles and try to spot any issues that weren’t visible from another angle,” said Park.

Park also emphasized the importance of a company understanding its core competencies and aligning it across different markets.

"A company must deliver new forms of value for consumers to consider in the changing market, but also to keep up with other companies that have been on the same market for a longer period of time," added Park.

Indian Ambassador to South Korea Amit Kumar gives a speech during the Global Business Forum held in Seoul on Wednesday. (The Korea Herald)

Indian Ambassador to South Korea Amit Kumar was also present at Wednesday's forum, emphasizing the deep-rooted historical ties and modern-day strategic partnership between India and Korea. Kumar also highlighted their shared democratic values, market economies and adherence to the rule of law.

The GBF commenced its fourth edition on March 20 and will continue until July 3, featuring a total of 13 sessions.