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Moon Rules Out Greenbelt Development

This briefing comes from Korea View, a weekly newsletter published by the Korea Economic Institute. Korea View aims to cover developments that reveal trends on the Korean Peninsula but receive little attention in the United States. If you would like to sign up, please find the online form here.

What Happened

  • President Moon rejected the option of lifting development restrictions on greenbelt zones to resolve housing supply shortages in Seoul and other densely populated cities.
  • There is a lack of consensus within the ruling Democratic Party on the deregulation of these protected green areas where the construction of housing is not permitted.
  • This administration’s decision came after a recent poll showed that 60 percent of South Koreans disapprove of building more homes on the greenbelt to stabilize the real estate market.

Implications: The public’s antipathy towards housing development in protected green areas revealed eroding confidence in the government’s commitment to consistent housing policy. While adversarial polls reflect some community’s desire to preserve the environment, they also highlight dissatisfaction at what people see as an inadequately-considered approach to housing. Ironically, the government’s reversal on green zone development may exacerbate this distrust as it took merely a week for the administration to consider and then walk back on this policy.

Context: In an effort to curb property speculation, the government recently announced it would supply new homes in Seoul and its surrounding areas by easing construction rules and making more land available. Rather than developing greenbelt zones, the administration decided to look for alternative options such as national and public facility sites as possible housing sites. In a separate move, Moon instructed for residential development to take place in a military country club located in Seoul.

Korea View was edited by Yong Kwon with the help of James Constant, Sophie Joo, Sonia Kim, and Chris Lee.

Picture by Hikaru arai from Wikimedia Commons

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