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  • Changing Seoul

  • MITUL KANSAL 113
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    Much of Seoul’s built cultural heritage was lost in wartime and during its rapid modernization process. Because of these past losses, the city is particularly conscious of the need to preserve a legacy for the future. Its ‘Future Heritage Project,’ started in 2012, aims to protect sites from the past century that will become part of the city’s built heritage. In addition to this, Seoul has three sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List, with a fourth – the Seoul City Wall – under consideration. Although rapid industrialization led to prosperity for Seoul, it also caused major problems for the environment and for quality of life. Now the city is aiming to diversify its economic base through a new focus on design and the creative industries. Its new long-term cultural plan, ‘Seoul Culture Vision 2030,’ focuses on the cultural engagement and happiness of citizens. Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Headquarter of Culture is responsible for culture in the city. It operates the Seoul Museum of Art and the Seoul Museum of History, as well as funding affiliated organisations which deal with cultural policy. One of these is the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, an arms-length cultural foundation created in 2004.Festivals are another part of the city’s cultural life supported by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. In order to increase citizen engagement, and to provide seasonal attractions for visitors, it promotes one festival during each season: Seoul Drum Festival, Seoul Culture Night, Seoul Street Arts Festival and Seoul Kimchi Festival.In the twenty-first century Seoul is reinventing itself again, moving from the industrially-led economic miracle of the late twentieth century to a new phase of development. This new phrase focuses on using creativity and culture to create a city which is happy as well as economically prosperous.