BUSAN — In a drive to redefine urban living, the city of Busan has unveiled its selected areas for the second phase of its “Happy Challenge.” This ambitious initiative aims to transform neighborhoods into spaces where all essential services are accessible within a 15-minute walk or bike.
Busan’s municipal government disclosed that the Saha-gu’s Shinpyeong-Jangnim living area and the Sasang-gu’s Gwaebeop-Gamjeon living area have been designated as the primary living quarters for the Happy Challenge. Additionally, the Dong-gu’s Jwacheon-Beomil living area and Buk-gu’s Mandeok living area will serve as pilot project sites.
The Happy Challenge is more than just a project; it’s a holistic vision. Over the next 3 to 5 years, the primary living quarters will receive an investment of 300 billion won each, while the pilot sites will benefit from 25 billion won each. This monumental endeavor will focus on two main areas: the development and improvement of infrastructure, aiming to create communal spaces such as linear parks and the “Haha Center,” and the activation of community-centered businesses.
Building on past successes, the city had previously chosen the Busanjin-gu’s Danggam-Gaegum living area, Yeongdo-gu’s Sinsun-Namhang living area, and Suyeong-gu’s Mangmi-Suyeong living area in August of the previous year as part of the inaugural phase of this transformative project.
The selection journey for the second phase commenced this January. Targeting 15 autonomous districts, excluding Busanjin-gu, an open call was initiated. Through meticulous evaluation by a committee of private experts spanning fields like urban planning, park development, and public administration, four living areas across four districts were shortlisted. Following on-site inspections in late July and an in-depth review in August, the final selections were made.
Both the Shinpyeong-Jangnim and Gwaebeop-Gamjeon living areas earned high praise. They showcased potential for balanced development between Busan’s east and west, promising to rejuvenate communities with diverse communication spaces.
By year’s end, the city aims to wrap up strategic plans for these areas. Funding from the 2024 budget will then drive forward related projects. Some straightforward tasks will commence by January next year, while others that require preliminary processes—like coordination with associated agencies and securing community consensus—will roll out progressively.
Expressing optimism for the future, Busan’s Mayor, Park Heong-joon, remarked, “The newly selected areas in Saha and Sasang districts will be the pivotal hubs, transforming the entire western Busan into a vibrant 15-minute city.” Mayor Park also emphasized the city’s unwavering commitment to propel the Happy Challenge’s objectives, ensuring Busan residents enjoy a comprehensive urban experience that’s not just about convenience but sustainability and community cohesion.