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A Study on the Conditions and Reorganisation Directions of the Autonomous District Urban Master Plan in Seoul

Jae-Seob Yang · Young-Kwoun Ban

The purpose of the study is to diagnose the conditions of urban master plans in 25 autonomous districts and to suggest directions for reorganisation. For this purpose, the conditions of the autonomous district’s urban master plan were diagnosed with 10 autonomous districts’ Gu Administration Research Groups. The directions of reorganisation were suggested by reviewing the operation cases of the local plan for autonomous districts in Tokyo and London. The main findings are as follows:
First, under the current law, urban planning-related affairs are those of metropolitan cities, such as special cities and metropolitan cities, and autonomous districts do not have an urban planning authority. For this reason, it is not legally recognised for autonomous districts to establish and operate an urban master plan.
Second, since 2000, 25 autonomous districts in Seoul have invested a considerable amount of funds to establish autonomous district urban master plans. However, the current autonomous district urban master plan has no legal validity because it is a non-statutory plan. On the other hand, although the Seoul Metropolitan Government has established the neighbourhood plans, there are problems as the contents of the plans overlap with the autonomous district’s urban master plan.
Third, in order to operate an autonomous district-level urban plan that reflects regional characteristics, it is necessary to legislate the ‘autonomous district urban master plan’. It is necessary to revise and operate the Urban Planning Ordinance in the short term, and to revise the relevant legal system in the long term. 
Fourth, the autonomous districts of Tokyo and London have established and are operating the autonomous district master plan based on the law. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government revised the Urban Planning Act in 1992 and introduced the autonomous district master plan, and London enacted the Localism Act in 2011, replacing the existing Local Development Frameworks with Local Plans.
Fifth, the following measures are required to legalise and operate the autonomous district urban master plan: 1) preparation of guidelines for the operation of the autonomous district master plan, 2) establishment of the ‘Standing Urban Planning Group’ in autonomous districts, 3) gradual expansion of the autonomous district urban planning authority, 4) pilot establishment of the autonomous district urban master plan.