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Seoul’s Local Government Builds A Metaverse Counterpart
03/06/22

Seoul’s Local Government Builds A Metaverse Counterpart

South Korea is investing $187M in a metaverse project as part of what the country calls a “Digital New Deal.”

The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) is becoming the first local metropolitan government in Korea, even the world, to create and develop a high-performance metaverse platform for its own use. Known as “Metaverse Seoul,” the officially-sanctioned project will be public-service oriented, while also maintaining an economic and business-focused element, and provide a next-generation metaverse ecosystem for city residents, tourists, visitors, and local government. The metaverse will encompass all areas of municipal administration, such as economic, cultural, tourism, educational and civic service, and will launch in three stages starting form this year. 

Recognizing the metaverse’s potential to create jobs and foster a sense of community virtually, the platform will function as a virtual city where by 2023, the local government hopes to have Seoul residents attending meetings as avatars at the virtual city hall or filing complaints all through their platform, eliminating the need to go in-person. The platform will also function as a place for residents to congregate and spend time together in a post-pandemic era. As a part of the government’s initiative, citizens will have access to entertainment, shopping, and cultural experiences as well. While the project is set to be in full effect by 2023, the Metaverse Seoul pilot program started at the end of 2021 with a Bosingak Belfry ceremonial bell ringing taking place in both the digital and physical world. 

The digital twin will promote its own metaverse-versions of Seoul’s major tourist attractions, such as Gwanghwamun Plaza, Deoksugung Palace and Namdaemun Market, which will be introduced through the “Virtual Tourist Zone.”  Lost historical resources, such as Donuimun Gate, will be recreated in the virtual space, and these popular destinations and attractions will also be open for non-residents to visit in the metaverse.

The government will also give metaverse access to South Korean companies and businesses. It plans on providing support for corporate growth by offering financial support and technological development. The Seoul government will also develop services for the socially vulnerable including safety and convenience content for people with disabilities using extended reality (XR). Starting in 2023, Seoul’s leading festivals, such as the Seoul Lantern Festival, will be held in the metaverse so that it can be enjoyed by all people around the world. 

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The article originally appeared in the PSFK iQ Report, Brand Strategies For The Metaverse.