In Seoul, a smart city project is using wide-ranging data to optimize public services to the needs of citizens and to address environmental concerns.

Smart Seoul 2015 is a plan for the e-governance of Seoul that strives to create an innovative urban culture based on IT and data. Under the project, data, often generated by citizens themselves, helps City of Seoul officials make more informed decisions and develop real-time, mobile-based services that cater to citizens’ diverse needs. As citizen access to digital data is vital for the project’s success, fast public Wi-Fi is available at 972 hotspots across Seoul, including throughout the city’s subway networks as well as parks and other public facilities.

40% CO2 reduction in Seoul by 2030, supported by Smart Seoul 2015

Cities100 – 2015

Data for the project is collected through various e-government functions and the country’s private sector. For instance, the available pool of big data on telephone calls and transportation helped the city revise and streamline nighttime bus routes along the five most trafficked routes, resulting in increased public satisfaction as well as reducing fuel consumption. Another initiative under the project is a mapping application providing 3D street information, which can be used to predict which areas will be most affected by floods, thereby enabling the development of preemptive flood-response measures.

The challenge

Seoul has recognized that many of its environmental, social, and economic issues could be addressed by developing and applying smarter information and communications technology (ICT) to the city’s public services and capitalizing on the widespread use of social media, big data, and mobile devices. Smart Seoul 2015 aims to effectively manage rapid changes in the urban environment and strategies for spearheading future ICT developments.


Economic Seoul has achieved a 30% cost reduction on server and software maintenance resulting from increased use of cloud computing and energy efficiency measures.

Environmental The energy efficiency measures at the data center that oversees all municipal information systems in Seoul, consisting of automated temperature distribution and heat- and humidity-proof systems, help to save up to 727 MWh of electricity per year.

Health The mobile service “Staying Safe in Seoul” informs residents of potential or imminent dangers, such as floods, heavy snowfalls, storms, and fires.

Social Ensuring access to technology across social divides, the city provides second-hand computers, smartphones, and IT classes for the underprivileged. Distribution of second-hand computers reached 2,700 per year in 2014.

About Seoul

Seoul is the capital and largest metropolis of the Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea). Seoul is the world’s 16th largest city and houses about half of the country’s population of 51.44 million people with 678,102 international residents. Today, Seoul is considered a leading and rising global city, resulting from an economic boom called the Miracle on the Han River which transformed it to the world’s 4th largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$845.9 billion in 2014.

Global Goals addressed