Green Parking
Parking planning Division, Seoul Metropolitan Goverment

The Problem

There is no standard model of green parking to relieve the serious parking problem in residential districts
Many residential districts developed in the 2000’s in Seoul had serious parking problems and had to depend on public parking lots, which were very costly to construct. At that time, it required around $1.74 million USD to build a public parking lot for 50 vehicles, but the city government only had a $200 million USD budget for parking lot construction, which meant it could build approximately 100 public parking lots that would only accommodate 5,000 vehicles.
However, at that time there was a shortage of 400,000 parking spaces and 140,000 new vehicles were being registered each year. It needed a budget of $17.4 billion USD to build 400,000 parking spaces and an additional $6.1 billion USD annually to park the incoming 140,000 new vehicles.
Obviously, the public sector could not afford to obtain sufficient parking spaces through construction, and studies were done about various alternative ways to solve this problem such as parking mortgages, application of a benefit principle, parking demand/supply diagnosis, and sharing of private parking facilities for each block. Tearing down privacy walls and creating parking spaces was one of those ideas. It was thought that parking spaces could be created at a low cost if a subsidy was granted for creating the facility. However, it remained as just an idea, because there was no standard model for tearing down these walls.
Increasing accidents from illegal parking in residential districts
The parking problem in the residential districts reached beyond the level of inconvenience to that of threatening the safety and lives of residents. In the case of districts concentrated with housing for the aging population, there were illegally parked cars scattered all about the streets, making it difficult for fire trucks to enter at night. They also blocked the pedestrian passages and often created accidents involving children and senior citizens. The fact that the rate of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in Korea is the highest among the OECD countries and that more than 78% of traffic accidents involve children younger than 12 years occur on side streets in the residential districts clearly indicate the vulnerability of these residential areas.
Loss of lives and property due to fire truck inaccessibility because of illegally parked cars in residential areas
Although it is the vehicle owner's responsibility to obtain a parking space, houses generally do not have parking spaces attached yet residents buy cars without the proper means to park them. This forces them to illegally use the edge of the streets as a parking lot at night, and as more and more cars occupy the side street, making it extremely difficult for fire trucks to be able to access necessary areas at the time of a fire, deteriorating residential conditions. The situation was so bad that the terms ‘parking war’ and ‘parking hell’ appeared in 2001. Illegal parking is also creating conflicts among neighbors, and local communities are on the verge of breaking down as the traditional warm feeling among the neighbors is being lost.
Inaccessibility of the fire trucks because of the illegally parked cars on the road is a particularly serious problem. In 1999, a fire in a residential area in Bongcheon 8-dong, Gwanak-gu burned down 6 houses. In 2001, a fire in a residential area in Hongje-dong, Seodaemun-gu killed 6 firefighters and injured 3. Both were cases where the residential areas had a shortage of parking spaces.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
Mitigating parking problems in residential areas by more residents participating in the wall break-down project
After the ‘Green Parking Master Plan' was announced on July 19, 2003 as the Mayoral Decree (No. 507), a project task force was formed and designated as the ‘green parking standard model’ to break down walls to build parking spaces. A pilot project was executed with one test area in each municipality until May 2004.
The target areas were selected as those having the most prevalent illegal parking problems because of the shortage of parking spaces and having a road width of less than 5.5m that made it difficult for vehicles to pass through when the cars were parked on the road. The city government granted a subsidy to the residents who would tear down a gate or wall to install a parking space.
Although the city and municipal governments carried out an extensive PR campaign for the 'My Parking Space at My House’ program, the response was not very favorable in the beginning. The government then prepared the 'Wall Breakdown Project Execution Manual' and explained the program by visiting each household. Thus, more and more residents became aware of the program, and events such as ‘the photo exhibition of the parking spaces constructed’ resulted from the program and caught further attention from the residents. As the result, 41,752 parking spaces were constructed by breaking down the walls of 21,652 houses at the cost of $291 million USD over the course of 8 years since 2004.
Considering that it cost approximately $43,000 USD per parking space in the public parking lots in residential areas, the green parking program only cost $7,000 USD per parking space. Furthermore, it helped to secure the low cost parking spaces mitigating the parking problem in the residential areas within a short period of time.
As the result, illegal parking on the roads in residential areas is gradually disappearing and the streets are becoming safer for children, senior citizens and disabled pedestrian traffic.
City government providing subsidies to improve parking environment
To encourage more residents to participate in the green parking program, the city government provided a subsidy of up to $15,000 USD ($7,000 for a space and an additional $8,000 for the second space). As more and more residents broke down their walls to build parking spaces, there are fewer cars illegally parked on the street and less conflict among the neighbors to obtain parking spaces, transforming the community back to the friendlier environment it used to be.
Restoration of village community and creation of green rest areas
According to a survey of 500 residents participated in the wall breakdown program, those satisfied with the program increased from 68% in 2007 to 86.6% in 2009. It was indicated that the program helped instill positive feelings among the residents by resolving parking problems and encouraging the residents to cooperate in the program to create a more friendly community.
To execute the green parking project, the ‘Residents Steering Committee’ consisted of the Green Mothers Association, School Operating Committee, communitee leaders, district representatives and residents in each municipality on July 1, 2004. The committee of around 10 members gathered public opinions on breaking down walls, building access paths, and creating beautiful neighborhoods, while also encouraged the residents to participate in the program, inspect the sites, and submit suggestions.
The green parking program that began in 2004 has now reached an established phase. By tearing down the walls, the residents were able to create not only parking spaces, but also flower gardens and 109,913m of access roads to restore the community and establish green rest areas.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
Seoul City Government’s parking plan to resolve the parking problem in residential areas and policy suggestions by the Parking Planning Department to show the city government’s firm commitment
The green parking project is a proactive response to the call of the era in which the creativity and imagination are the competitiveness of the 21st century. The project that was initiated on July 1, 2004 by the creative and passionate civil servants on behalf of the residents began as a part of resident centered policy by the Parking Planning Department employees and quickly caught on.
The purpose of the project was to resolve the parking problem in residential areas and prevent deterioration of residential conditions from the illegally parked vehicles in the alleys, and to create a comfortable place for people to live. The project based on the residents' voluntary participation and cooperation created private parking spaces and access roads with green space by breaking down property walls.
Furthermore, the green parking project needed mentors who helped to restore their community spirit and sense of responsibility by having the vehicle owners build their own parking spaces. They included the Residents Steering Committee members and municipal government employees who provided support to the residents from design to construction.
They ensured that the project was not led by the government, but was executed by voluntary participation and cooperation of the residents. They helped to build a consensus among the residents and guide them in each step: planning, design, and construction and as such, the residents were the ones making the actual decisions of the project. This one-stop service played a key role in encouraging the active participation of the residents who did not have the initial expertise.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
Although managing roads shorter that 20m is the responsibility of the municipalities, Seoul City Government decided to take on the role, because the municipal governments did not have sufficient resources to solve the parking problem. As such, the Parking Planning Department of the Urban Transportation Division issued the policy of ‘Mass Transportation Enhancement’ on July 1, 2004 for 5 strategies of creating the parking spaces, role of the administration, and maintenance by the residents to mitigate the parking problem.
First, the parking space must be created by the beneficiaries.
The green parking project’s strategy is to create parking spaces by the residents at a low cost by using the reserve space in the residential areas where it is difficult to secure ground for a public parking lot.
Each household participating in the program received a subsidy of up to $15,000 USD ($7,000 for a space and additional $8,000 for the second space) and the municipalities also received funds according to their performance. A city ordinance was also amended to specifically provide the declaratory statement obligating vehicle owner’s to try to obtain a parking space if they want to use the parking provided at their residence.
Second, the residents must participate in the decision making process in its entirety.
Resident participation was encouraged through workshops, joint site inspections, joint site surveys, public opinion polls, resident seminars and exhibitions. Resident participation occured throughout the entire project’s execution. The key was that the project was led by the residents who actually made the decisions.
Third, organic cooperation of relevant agencies is essential.
Cooperation with relevant agencies, such as the police agency and fire department, was needed at each step of the project planning, design, and construction processes. Seoul City Government requested that the traffic police and fire department officials attend the hearings during the design to hear the residents' opinions and help build a consensus for projects.
Fourth, the project from construction to maintenance is executed according to the project manual.
The whole construction process of breaking down walls and building access roads were executed according to the design guidelines and construction specifications while the outdoor structures like native rocks, grass, trees and amenities were installed according to the project manual. Furthermore, the resident voluntary management system led by the Green Mothers Committee was set up to control illegal parking on the access road.
Fifth, evaluation and feedback are needed.
The key to post-project maintenance is for the residents to sustain the improved community environment. Therefore, the resident voluntary management system was established in the fashion the initial projects were implemented in, with the decisions in the hands of the residents.
The intermediate project evaluations were performed in the project report meetings, and the final evaluations were performed by outside experts and the private/public joint committee at the end of year. Feedback was provided to supplement any shortcomings.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
Selection of project areas
To efficiently execute the green parking project, the project plan was generated first and the target areas with 5~30 households with serious parking problems were selected. The plan to create the household parking space began on July 1, 2004.
‘Residents Steering Committee’ to lead the project
To efficiently execute the green parking project, the ‘Residents Steering Committee’ consisted of the Green Mothers Association, School Operating Committee, village leaders, district representatives and residents from each municipality on July 1, 2004. The committee of around 10 members gathered public opinions on breaking down walls, building access paths, and creating beautiful neighborhoods, all the while encouraging the residents to participate in the program. The committee also inspected the sites, and submitted suggestions for improvement.

Formation of dedicated project task forces
Task forces directed by the deputy chief of the municipal government were formed to discuss issues, such as breaking down walls, building access roads, and planting scenic trees. The goal was that through participating in planning and project execution information could be shared throughout the project.
A committee consisting of the relevant agencies such as the police agency, fire department, and utility companies were also formed to discuss the project plan, design, and construction. The traffic police and fire department officials were requested to attend the resident hearing to listen to resident opinions and cooperate in the project during the design phase.

Procedure of wall breakdown and access road construction
Wall breakdown construction project was ordered by the end of January of each year and construction began by March so that the entire process could be completed by the end of December.
The access road construction project was executed as an incentive after the parking spaces were obtained. The project was provided to areas in which more than 50% of the households participated.
CCTVs were installed parallel to the wall breakdown to improve the security and efficiency of the parking space usage.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
Difficulties in acquiring households to participate in the project
Although Seoul City Government obtained many new parking spaces in the project for 8 years from 2004, 1/5 of the target areas were located in New Towns, Urban Redevelopment and Reconstruction districts in which the residents were reluctant to be involved in new development projects. This reluctance stemmed from two main issues. First, the conventional thinking that a gate and wall protect families, and second issues of crime, privacy violation and private property made it difficult to recruit households to participate in the green parking program.
The wall breakdown project was designed and constructed with full consideration of the household owner. However, it involves private space, and thus there were often required changes requested from the household owner during the construction steps, resulting in design changes. This often made it difficult to use the design documents and drawings.
Resolution of conflict through persuasion and education to create the village community
The message that the green parking project of breaking down walls would create goodwill among the neighbors and enrich the local community was continuously relayed through the hearings and meetings. PR campaigns in the major daily newspapers, broadcasting programs, local press, Internet broadcasting and transportation broadcasting were also carried out while the civil officials visited households to introduce and promote the programs.
The campaigns helped more residents show interest in the green parking program, and the active explanation and education from design to construction by expert mentors gradually tore down the walls between the neighbors to build the parking spaces. As there were fewer cars parked illegally and the residential environment improved, the conflicts among the neighbors for parking disappeared and the community became friendlier.
To replace the wall, the government installed 826 CCTVs, as well as fences no taller than 50cm around the entrances, and took other measures such as installing security windows and security covers to protect privacy, and as such the communities became more comfortable spaces to live.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
The city government granted a subsidy of up to $15,000 USD ($7,000 for a space and additional $8,000 for the second space) through matching funds with the municipality.
The human resources for the project came from cooperation with the Residents Steering Committee, administrative agencies, NGO and citizens and dividing the work efficiently between each group.
As for technical resources, a manual was created covering the construction and maintenance as well as the design guidelines and construction specifications, such the wall breakdown, access road construction, as well as the measures to install outdoor structures like the native rocks, grass, trees and amenities.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
Financial aspect – securing stable resources
Compared to building a public parking lot, the wall break-down project not only allows building of the parking spaces faster, but also in a much more cost efficient manner. Seoul City Government provided the financial support through a matching fund with the municipal governments and plans to expand the budget in the future.
Environmental aspect – Low carbon, green growth
To improve the village environment, the reserve spaces excluding the parking space and access path were turned into green areas. Flower gardens were constructed and trees were planted using the funds from the subsidy and at the household owner’s own cost to contribute the low carbon, green growth by reducing carbon dioxide emission.
Policy aspect – Sustainable project
Although the green parking program helped to secure many parking spaces in a short period, there were still some problems. 1/5 of the target areas were located in New Town, Urban Redevelopment and Reconstruction districts in which the residents were reluctant to be involved in new development projects. Furthermore, the residents were reluctant to get involved when the construction work such as moving steps or building an embankment were costly.
In consideration of that, the guidelines were revised so that financial support was further segmented so that difficult construction projects would be granted higher subsidies. The policy was also changed to be sustainable by qualifying areas planned for redevelopment even if the plan was not certain.
Worldwide benchmarking – Benchmarking by other municipalities and coverage by ‘Earth Agora’ program of NHK
As the high walls between houses cut off human relationships with each other and parking problems created conflicts among the neighbors in urban areas, Seoul’s wall breakdown project resolved the serious parking problem and restored the friendly atmosphere in the community. As such, it has been established as the outstanding project benchmarked by other municipal governments in Korea and internationally.
It has been included as a site to visit and benchmark for government officials from countries, such as Russia and Indonesia. Other Korean municipalities including Yeongju, Andong, Incheon, Cheongju, Daegu, and Suwon have also benchmarked the project and are carrying out their own programs. NHK of Japan featured the green parking program as one of the cases of “an attempt to improve communication with other people in different corners of the world” in its ‘Earth Agora” program in 2011~2012.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
Green parking – Mitigating parking difficulties in residential areas and creating a local friendly community spirit
The green parking program was a project of tearing down the residential dividing walls to create parking spaces and participation by the residents was essential for its success. With the help of active resident participation, 41,752 parking spaces were constructed to mitigate the parking problem over the course of 8 years since 2004. As a result, the households gained their own parking spaces, and the communities became friendlier as the conflicts among the neighbors were greatly reduced.
Effectiveness of private/public/NGO cooperation – establishment of governance infrastructure
Seoul City has been operating the ‘Green Parking Advisory Committee’ to evaluate the green parking policy and provide feedback for the past 8 years. The committee consisted of education and NGO experts in the transportation and landscape fields. Their role was to build the local governance of cooperative leadership, mutual trust, checks and balances, and arbitration. They provide the information, advice, and technical support. They also request the improvement of the project problems, play an intermediary role between the administration and residents, develop the programs, organize the residents, or hold neighborhood festivals and events while carrying out the program with the residents.
The Resident Steering Committee in each municipality consisted of the Green Mothers Association members, School Operating Committee members, community leaders, district representatives and residents. They gathered public opinions, promoted the project (wall breakdown, access road, and creating beautiful alleys), encouraged resident participation, inspected sites, and submitted the improvement opportunities. As a self managed organization, it manages the village after the project and helps to provide order.
The city and municipal government officials provided the support to ensure that the project was executed through systematic and organic cooperation.
As such, the local private/public/NGO governance contributed greatly to constructing the parking spaces by tearing down the wall and improving the resident awareness that the households need a private parking space. It showed that active cooperation and participation was the key factor to mitigating the parking problem in the residential areas.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Parking planning Division, Seoul Metropolitan Goverment
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Sun Hyoen On
Title:   Person in charge  
Telephone/ Fax:   82-2-6321-4280
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Postal Code:  
City:   Seoul

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