Nimbys up in Arms over Gov't Housing Plans

  • By Ahn Joon-ho, Choi Yeon-jin

    August 06, 2020 11:28

    The government's announcement on Tuesday to free up state-owned land in the Seoul metropolitan area for 33,000 affordable homes has triggered strong opposition from locals and administrators.

    They complain that they are being made to pay the price for the government's failed efforts to tame soaring real estate prices, especially in the flash Gangnam area.

    Many locals plan to protest. One 33-year-old resident of Nowon in northeastern Seoul complained, "Do you think that forested parts of Gangnam should remain untouched while my neighborhood should be sacrificed to build public housing?"

    Around 500 angry residents of Nowon plan a rally.

    Mapo district office head Yoo Dong-gyun, who is affiliated with the ruling Minjoo Party, in a statement Wednesday broke rank to oppose the housing plan. The government plans 6,200 starter homes in Mapo on state-owned land.

    And Gangseo district office chief Roh Hyeon-song, who is also affiliated with the MP, said plans to build 1,200 new public apartments in his district are "unacceptable."

    Tents are set up in front of the government complex in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province on Wednesday to protest against the government's public housing plans.

    Opposition United Future Party spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye said the reaction is a "farce" and a classic example of the "not in my backyard" mentality.

    But Cho Joo-hyun at Konkuk University said, "The opposition from local governments and residents cannot be seen simply as nimbyism. There should have been discussions with local governments and residents in advance. It was the unilateral announcement that created this mess."

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