Current State of UNESCO Creative Cities Project in Korea
Launched in 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network programme seeks sustainable development of cities based on culture and creative industry and promotes cultural diversity based on local culture. Following these basic values of the creative cities programme, three cities in Korea—Seoul (2010, Creative City of Design), Icheon (2010, Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts), and Jeonju (2012, Creative City of Gastronomy)—have joined the network. The cities are implementing related policies with the objective of building a model of sustainable urban development by combining each field with an urban development plan and promoting cultural enjoyment for their citizens.
Seoul, Creative City of Design ;
In order to rethink urban policy, which has focused on indiscriminate development, and to overcome the problems of rapid urbanization, Seoul, under the vision of “Design Caring for Citizens,” is carrying out various policies in order to present a model of sustainable urban development through design.
In particular, Seoul leads the creative industry by supporting small and medium design companies and new generation designers to secure sustainability in the design industry. It also operates a cultural complex where design seminars, fashion shows, and exhibitions as well as various community participation programmes are possible. This complex will offer opportunities for exchange and communication between diverse creative industries including design.
Icheon, Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art ;
Icheon City has set local cultural assets and creative capacities as the core agenda for its future urban development strategy and selected “culture” as the keyword for its urban development strategy, based on which a detailed implementation strategy including sustainable development of creative cultural content, reorganization of cultural infrastructure and software, and the improvement of citizens’ cultural awareness has been established.
Following this strategy, Icheon is promoting exchange and cooperation with other international cities, sharing experiences in the field of crafts to widen its capacities and perspectives, and encouraging civic participation in sustainable urban development policy by hosting related research, forums, and festivals. In particular, the designation of Icheon as a creative city has instilled a sense of pride about local cultural assets in Icheon’s citizens and artists. Thus, the city is continuing its efforts to establish a small but strong world-class city of culture. In addition, it is notable that the city has accelerated its creative attempts to combine various fields such as urban planning, architecture, culture, and education with crafts.
Jeonju, Creative City of Gastronomy ;
The vision of the project is to preserve and develop local traditional culture within a modern context. The Han Style project, which aims to modernize traditional culture, integrates food, crafts, traditional music, and traditional housing styles. More specifically, the city of Jeonju attempts to raise the quality of tourism, the cultural industry, and daily life through industries based on tradition. It also attempts to spread the construction of a new creative city based on traditional culture by sharing these experiences and strategies with the world’s other creative cities of gastronomy. This is greatly significant for the promotion of cultural diversity in Korea and for the international community in the sense that it preserves the disappearing traditional culture.