| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
There were serious flaws in the previous urban regeneration policies, which adopted a redevelopment approach: neighborhoods were demolished, the underprivileged and poor were often displaced by redevelopment, and the cultural legacy of these people could not be properly preserved.
Saha-gu Office presented a paradigm shift in its urban regeneration policy upon the implementation of the Miro Miro Initiative. The Initiative focused on preservation whereas the previous urban regeneration policies focused on redevelopment. The Initiative enabled the village to retain its original form and the residents to stay in the village without abandoning the history and culture of the village.
In addition, Saha-gu pursued the Initiative in cooperation with the Residents Association of Gamcheon Culture Village and civilian experts, rather than following a government-led, top-down decision making process. Such cooperation contributed to the Initiative’s favorable reception from the residents.
Saha-gu achieved sustainable development by creating economical and social environments for self-sufficiency of the poor, providing them with new jobs and income through the Initiative that supports the underprivileged and vulnerable in a constant and stable way. Saha-gu also achieved the transferability of the Initiative by creating and promoting the brand identity of the village.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
1. There are five key players who played a role in implementing the Miro Miro Initiative. Each player contributed to the successful implementation of the Initiative, closely cooperating and effectively communicating with one another.
a. Residents Association
Its members suggested ideas, provided feedback and actively participated in the implementation process.
b. Experts from the private and public sectors
The experts recommended professional know-how and knowledge, and coordinated the communication between the governmental organizations and residents.
c. Local artists
They donated artistic talents and developed cultural content of the Initiative.
d. Governmental organizations
These organizations exercised general supervision over the preparation and implementation of the Initiative, provided administrative assistance, and secured funds.
e. Relevant organizations
The organizations suggested ideas in the related fields and closely cooperated with other organizations and players.
2. On the other hand, there are three major beneficiaries affected by the Initiative.
a. Local residents
282 new jobs were created for the benefit of the poor population of so that they would be economically and socially self-sufficient;
the living conditions were improved by installing communal septic tanks, building a separate sewer system, re-paving the old alleys, repaired old retaining walls and installing safety handrails;
various social services were conducted to improve the quality of life such as free pick up & delivery laundry service, operation of a public bathhouse, a free shuttle bus, free minor repair of residential property, a maintenance project for dilapidated houses for free;
various cultural and arts programs are now available to the residents, contributing to their emotional and mental stability;
pride of the residents in their village substantially enhanced due to the numerous positive media reports and increased popularity of the neighborhood among the tourists from home and abroad.
b. Tourism industry
The number of travelers who visited tourist destinations in the west of Busan increased according to a big data analysis by Busan Metropolitan Government. The popularity of Gamcheon Culture Village is thought to have contributed to the recent surge in the number of visitors in West Busan because the village is a stop on the tourist trail in West Busan and people who visit the village often visit other tourist attractions on the trail. Previously, tourist destinations in the west of the city were usually neglected by travelers because tourist attractions in the east of the city were better known than the ones in the west. In this regard, the Initiative contributed to the balanced development of the tourism industry in Busan. The same big data analysis showed the number of foreign visitors to the village increased by 71.3% compared to last year, proving that the village did induce travelers to visit other tourist attractions in the western part of Busan.
c. Local commercial districts
The more visitors come to the village, the more shops spring up in the neighborhood. The number of shops increased by 60. In addition, the traditional market in the village, which used to suffer high vacancy, is now with a great atmosphere and bustling stalls.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
a. 2009: Launch of Dreaming of Machu Picchu in Busan Project
In cooperation with local residents and artists, Saha-gu won a bid for a national community art project called Maeulmisul Art Project sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. The Dreaming of Machu Picchu in Busan Project (DMPB Project) was soon launched. In accordance with the DMPB Project, murals were painted and 10 pieces of art installations were added to the neighborhood.
b. 2010: Creation of the Residents Association
In February 2010, a local residents group was formed to suggest ideas for and assist the implementation of an urban regeneration initiative. In March 2013, the group was incorporated as the Residents Association of Gamcheon Culture Village, a non-profit organization with 127 members. The association was certified as a social enterprise in 2014 by the Ministry of Employment and Labor.
c. 2010, 2012 and 2016: Launch of Miro Miro Project and other community art projects
In 2010, a new project was launched and saw the addition of 12 more works, including alley paintings and installations. The new project was named Miro Miro based on the physical features of Gamcheon-dong. Miro was a fitting name for the community filled with narrow lanes because Miro means simultaneously a maze and a beautiful street. In 2012, the follow-up Machu Picchu Alleyway Project added 10 pieces of art in abandoned houses, and in 2016, another art project was launched to invigorate the lower part of the village, installing sculptures modeled after real persons in the village.
d. 2011: Establishment of the Office of Creative City Planning
The Office of Creative City Planning is directly responsible and answerable only to the Head of Saha-gu, which makes it possible for the Office to make a quick decision and promptly implement a policy.
e. 2011 – ongoing: Improvement of living environment
Various spaces were renovated as venues with particular functions: a vacant lot was transformed into a multi-purpose, performance venue; an abandoned bathhouse into an art gallery and meeting room; and an old, empty house at the top of the hill into an observatory. Moreover, dilapidated and low-quality houses were refurbished and public toilets were renovated.
f. 2013: Issuance of Municipal Ordinance on the Promotion of Gamcheon Culture Village
The master plan was announced, detailing urban landscape planning, income generation, and other arrangements to revitalize the local economy. A municipal ordinance was issued to facilitate the master plan methodically.
g. 2015: Village planners and village advocates
Experts from the private and public sectors were invited to be advisors to sustainably pursue urban regeneration. Experts from the academia were appointed village planners and local artists were named village advocates.
a. Central government
The village won several bids to carry out an urban regeneration project sponsored by such government agencies as Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, and Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs.
b. Busan Metropolitan City
The village secured the budget to improve living conditions of the residents through the Sanbok Road Renaissance Project, an urban regeneration scheme pursued by Busan Metropolitan government.
Saha-gu also has its own budget for the Initiative.
The village benefited from cash offering, goods and items donation, and talent donation from Governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations.
e. Community Development Fund
A portion of proceeds from the village shops go to the Community Development Fund.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
There are five key stakeholders who played a role in designing and implementing the Miro Miro Initiative.
1. Residents Association
The Residents Association of Gamcheon Culture Village was incorporated in March, 2013. The Residents Association suggests ideas, provides feedback and actively participates in the implementation of the Initiative. It consists of 6 teams with 120 members, hosts a meeting twice a month. A social enterprise certified by Korea Social Enterprise Promotion Agency, the Residents Association currently runs 11 village shops.
2. Experts from the private and public sectors
The experts recommend professional know-how and knowledge, and coordinate the communication between the governmental organizations and residents. These experts include village planners, village advocates, an advisory committee, and the Village Support Center.
3. Local artists
Artist organizations and resident artists donate artistic talents and develop cultural content of the Initiative.
4. Governmental organizations
The Creative City Bureau of Busan Metropolitan Government, the Office of Creative City Planning of Saha-gu, and Gamcheon-dong Office are the organizations that exercise general supervision over the preparation and implementation of the Initiative, provide administrative assistance, and secure funds.
5. Relevant organizations
Relevant organizations include Gamjeong Elementary School, the Senior Club, and the Gamcheon Police Patrol & Services Center. They suggest ideas in their respective professional fields and closely cooperate with other organizations and players.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The Miro Miro Initiative produced concrete outputs in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. Below are the four successful outputs of the Initiative.
1. Sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11)
The Initiative ensured access for the residents to adequate and safe housing and basic services through following activities: renovating dilapidated houses for free; repairing old walls; re-paving narrow alleyways; installing fire hydrants; and installing surveillance cameras and street lights along the dark alleys.
The Initiative also provided residents with access to accessible and sustainable public transportation by launching the free shuttle bus service.
Additionally, the Initiative promoted inclusive and sustainable urban regeneration by enhancing residents’ capacity, through various educational and cultural programs, and encouraging their participation in the planning and implementation of the Initiative.
2. Decent work and economic growth (Goal 8)
As the number of visitors significantly increased, numerous new businesses serving the visitors opened and 282 new jobs were generated. The sustainable tourism not only created jobs but also promoted local culture and products. The new jobs were offered with the benefit of four major social insurances, and guaranteed minimum wage and severance pay. The booming local economy contributed to the financial and social self-sufficiency of the residents who had been the most vulnerable and poorest in Busan.
In addition, the Residents Association, consisting of 127 residents, was established to foster sustainability of the Initiative. The association runs village shops, generating the annual sales of USD 1.23 million.
3. Clean water and sanitation (Goal 6)
Most of the residents used to live in an old, tiny property, smaller than 13 m2, without a bath and toilet. To achieve access to adequate sanitation and hygiene for residents, more public toilets were built, the community bathhouse began its operation, a separate sewer system and two communal septic tanks were installed.
4. Quality education (Goal 4)
Various educational activities were conducted so that the residents in all age groups acquired the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development and lifestyles. The older residents may enroll in the Village Academy of Continuing Education for Adult. Also, the residents benefit from the various cultural and arts programs such as a village choir, an amateur theater group, and singing and guitar lessons.
Moreover, the residents now learn how to appreciate cultural diversity with the support from the Association of Women in Multicultural Families established upon the implementation of the Initiative.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
There were two main obstacles that were encountered during the implementation of the Miro Miro Initiative.
1. Public indifference
Gamcheon Village has long been home to the city’s poorest residents who devoted most of their time and effort to earn a living. Naturally, the most of the residents were either indifferent to or skeptical about the Initiative in the beginning. The government decided to convince the residents by showing them the successful outcomes of the Initiative. The living environment was noticeably improved and jobs were created after the implementation of the Initiative. Once the residents noticed that the quality of life improved, they started to participate in the Initiative actively and willingly.
2. Securing stable sources of funding
Urban regeneration cannot be achieved in the short term and requires constant efforts and stable funding. It was, and still is, very difficult to secure stable sources of funding to keep up the Initiative. Saha-gu has been successful in obtain financial resources by winning a competition sponsored by various government and non-government organizations.