The smart city concerns a worldwide phenomenon. The world is getting excited about the attractiveness and potential that smart cities will bring into our daily life. South Korea has worked on many smart city projects as a country that has pride in being an IT powerhouse. However, these have not seen significant progress for some reasons. Unlike Korea, East Asian countries such as China, India, and Japan succeeded in developing smart cities and got positive results through policy.
Korea has been a leader in smart city development for many years, but it is a specific model of smart city development and has many weaknesses. Regarding the impasse of the smart city in South Korea, several problems can be summarized as follows. First, corporations and the public are not that interested in the smart city due to a recession in the real estate business and the lack of a profitable, consumer-oriented business model, despite the fact that the U-city has already been established as a concept in the smart city and the construction of smart cities has been in progress nationwide.
Second, its focus remained only in the area of general public information and surveillance services. Information on transportation, air pollution, and water/sewage management stayed at the level of integrated control through unmanned cameras. Furthermore, services specifically based on the characteristics of each city have been insufficient.
Third, the smart city, as currently implemented, is not that different from the U-City. The services of the smart city started with the vision of developing from just providing information to intelligent urban services based on integrated control services and aimed to provide interactive services in which citizens participate. But despite the fact that the City of Busan has been implementing an ambitious plan to tie different regions into smart clusters based on IoT and become one of the world's top 100 cities through the convergence of machinery, textiles and shoes and robot, bio, and digital industries, it is difficult to find any differentiating factors (Choi & Kim, 2017).
Fourth, international competitiveness is weak. South Korea started its smart city projects as a pioneer in the global markets; this started with pilot projects in the early 2000s, the enactment of related laws and regulations in the mid-2000s, and progressed to the exporting of intelligent transportation systems to overseas markets. Since then, however, Korea has relied on similar systems and services with no major advancements or developments and has become weaker and less competitive in fields such as sustainability and governance.
Above all, the lack of citizen participation in the process of building smart cities has been criticized. As McNeill et al. (2017) suggested, the successfulness of smart city no longer depend on the development of technical skill, rather other factors should be dealt with. Smart cities usually achieve their objectives without the involvement of the public/ citizens and satisfaction of the end-user (customers). It is well known that the development of smart cities such as safety, usefulness and convenience experiences, services and networks in smart cities can improve the living and working environment of urban residents (Lin et al., 2019). Although it is getting important to communicate with citizens and information communication technologies have the potential for facilitating public participation, little research has pointed out the actual citizen engagement in smart cities (Granier & Kudo, 2016). According to Simonofski et al. (2017), the objectives of smart cities cannot be reached without the involvement of citizen in the process of development.
In order to cope with the above problems, this study utilizes big data analytics. Because big data is a revolution which reflects the way in which people think, work and live (Wu et al., 2018). This study attempts to present a subject that is worthy of investigation by adopting two methodologies, literature study and big data analysis focusing on text mining methods. The text-based communication can provide new possibilities and perspectives regarding the smart cities (Kim & Chun, 2019). It develops its structure based on three main themes as follows. First, this paper investigates the process of development of a smart city in South Korea through the research on literature including initiatives of smart city and u-city align with the time flows. Second, it also examines the current trends of the smart city in South Korea based on the analyses by collecting the big-data. It compares the trends in the past with current trends. It proves us how the overall trends of smart city have been changed over time as well. Third, it suggests the future direction of smart city policy which is inferred from the big data analytics using several sources.
The rest of the paper is as follows. Section 2 consists of a literature review regarding the concept of the smart city, international trends of the smart city, and the initiatives of the smart city in South Korea. Section 3 presents the big data analysis methods, together with the analysis of their implications. Section 4 provides discussion and conclusions of the paper.
2. Understanding Background of the Smart City
2.1. Why Smart Cities?
There are some reasons why the smart city has received attention. Firstly, it is a response to global warming. Since the 1990s, the response to global warming has been a major agenda for the EU, with the EU summit held in December 2008 resulting in an agreement that EU member countries will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% from 1990 levels, and the share of renewable energy will be increased by 20% by 2020. Currently, efforts to achieve this goal are underway in various countries around the world.
The second, it is a response to urban issues. According to the United Nations (2014), urbanization, or the movement of populations from rural areas to cities, is a global trend. Until 1980 approximately 60% of the world population lived in rural areas, but the urban population became about 3.6 billion (approx. 52%) while the rural population was about 3.4 billion (approx. 48%) in 2010. It is expected that the urban population will reach 6.3 billion, or 67% of the total population, by 2050. This population increase will not just create a shortage of residential spaces in cities, but will also result in other issues, including a lack of sufficient water and sewerage facilities, rail and road traffic congestion, increased demand for daily living-related services such as medical care, education and security, and an aging population.
The third is a response to basic industries in the future. The industries that create smart cities are expected to grow dramatically. In other words, products and services that are currently smaller businesses will develop. In detail, battery technology accounts for approximately 42%, power transmission facilities about 24%, renewable energy generation facilities such as solar or wind power are 12%, and fuels for electric and hybrid vehicles and next-generation vehicles such as fuel cell vehicles are 11%.
All countries expect that smart city-related industries will replace the existing, matured industries to become our new key industries and promote the growth of the related industries to expand to overseas markets by exporting infrastructure of the smart cities as packages.
2.2. Concept of the Smart City
It is difficult to accurately define the smart city because not only domestic and overseas studies but also projects view it differently. There are a bunch of prior studies to figure out the abstract image of smart cities and attempts to answer the questions about the domain of them (Angelidou, 2015; Anthopoulos, 2017; Kummithaa & Crutzenb, 2017). Also, no consensus has been established regarding the main factors which make intelligent and sustainable cities (Guedes et al., 2018).
Angelidou (2015) argues that it is important to identify the forces shaping the smart city. These could be found by looking through the smart cities’ history considering the important role of technology for urban futures and what the advancement of technology brought to the knowledge and innovation economy. Also, as pointed out in Sujata et al. (2016), there can be various interpretations without a fixed definition due to the increasing number of concepts about the smart city, and strategies to turn modern cities into “smart” ones.
According to the results of a 2014 survey by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), there are 166 definitions of the smart city used around the world. ICT, information, and communication, which emphasize “means” form 26%; these are followed by environment and sustainability which are related to the "objectives" of the smart city (17%); then, infrastructure and services (17%) among the keywords used in the definitions (National Information Society Agency, 2016). However, it is more appropriate to define the smart city as a city which not just realizes a smart lifestyle, but also turns invisible daily living-related services such as education, healthcare, and security into smart services so that people can live more pleasant and convenient lives.
Washburn et al. (2010) define the smart city as “the city which utilizes computer technology in order to provide more intelligent, interrelated and efficient infrastructure and services such as utilities (electricity, gas, water), education, healthcare, security, real estate, transportation, and administration.” This holds significant value because this definition includes as part of the infrastructure not only electricity, gas, water, and transportation, but also other services that are closely related to people’s lives, such as education, healthcare, security, safety (Lee et al, 2018a), and risk reduction (Choi and Choi, 2018; Lee et al, 2018b). ITU (2015) suggests that smart cities are innovative cities that take into account both current and future cultural, economic, social and environmental aspects. It also utilizes ICT and different means to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of the city along with the quality of life.
Based on “Act on Smart City Development and Industrial Promotion”, South Korea defines a smart city as “a sustainable city that provides various city services based on urban infrastructure constructed by combining construction and IT technologies in order to improve its competitiveness and quality of life” (Table 1). It is found that sustainability is getting important in smart cities. One of the evolving trends is that smart and sustainable is synonymous and complementary to each other (Noy & Givoni, 2018; D’auria et al., 2018).
Table 1: Concerns Table Concepts of the Smart City in Previous Studies
2.3. International Trends of the Smart City
The smart city concept is being promoted not only in major advanced countries but also in emerging countries such as the Middle Eastern and ASEAN countries. Of the 608 global smart city projects Nikkei BP (Japan) estimated as being in progress in 2013, the share of projects in the major five countries/regions (China, the US, Japan, Europe, and South Korea) accounts for more than 84%.
The market for smart city-related businesses shows an average annual growth rate of 16.6% from 781.9 billion USD in 2016 and is expected to increase to 1.4 trillion USD by 2020 (Research and Market, 2017). According to Frost and Sullivan (2013), the cumulative value for the smart city market is likely to 1.57trillion by 2020. In terms of the investment scale from 2010 to 2020, it is expected that China will invest USD 7.45 trillion, North America will invest USD 6.85 trillion, Western Europe USD 6.76 trillion, India USD 2.58 trillion, and Japan USD 1.17 trillion.
In other words, countries around the world have announced the establishment of smart cities and the development of the related technologies, and are actively promoting related policies. China and India, in particular, are planning large-scale investments. Smart city projects around the world are currently underway in a range of fields including transportation, energy and environment, safety, medicine, and education. As well, 70% are focused on three major fields: energy, transportation, and safety. While Asian countries such as China and India have expanded investments in urban development and infrastructure in order to enhance their national competitiveness, the advanced countries in the West are concentrating more on fields such as energy and environment and city services in order to resolve major issues in each city and improve quality of life (Lee, 2017).
2.4. Smart Cities Initiatives of South Korea
Since establishing the U-City, an early form of smart cities, in the early 2000s, South Korea has carried out the smart city projects involving various related ministries, with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT) serving as the central department. There were some institutional efforts to construct the U-City in the early 2000s. The “Ubiquitous City Act” was established to effectively resolve the transportation, environment and energy-related issues of cities. The term U-city started to be replaced by the expression "smart city" after Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007. At the heart of this change are IoT (internet of things) and the expansion of a city’s intelligent services (Choi, 2015).
While the U-city was the establishment of an integrated system for the efficient use of information through the construction of ICT-based infrastructure, the smart city is a more expanded concept which means the creation of a lowcost, high efficiency space to build social capital in terms of the development of services related to urban life (Shin et al., 2015).
In 2008, the U-City project was commenced through the enactment of the “Ubiquitous City Construction Act”, and the master plan at the national level was suggested through the establishment of the 1st and 2nd Comprehensive Plans on Ubiquitous Cities (2009 to 2013, 2014 to 2018). While the 1st Comprehensive Plans on Ubiquitous Cities suggest a base for U-City’s growth and strategies to foster new growth projects, the 2nd Comprehensive Plans on Ubiquitous Cities suggest concrete strategies to spread the U-City domestically and expand to overseas markets.
Moreover, the U-Eco City R&D project was carried out for U-City technology development and application. The UCity advanced R&D project was carried out to find export models. The U-Eco City R&D project has invested approximately KRW 55.9 billion in the development of key smart-city technologies in 16 fields. After that, the U-City upgrading R&D project is being carried out from 2013 to 2019 to upgrade the integrated platform, to create a hands-on test bed, and to explore overseas export models. Also, the U-Eco city R&D project was conducted for the development and application of U-City technologies, and the U-City advancement project is being carried out to search for export models. Approximately 55.9 billion KRW was invested in the development of core smart city technologies in 16 fields in the U-Eco City R&D project. The U-City advancement R&D project has been underway from 2013 to 2019 to upgrade the integrated platform and look for hands-on test beds and export models.
While policies for the smart city have been developed and established to foster the smart city and expand to overseas markets, recent smart city policies of each ministry focus not only on developing technologies and establishing an integrated platform but also on finding consumer-oriented services (Lee, 2017). A smart city promotion committee was established in 2016, and the Smart City Act was amended to develop strategies that will help related industries grow in 2017. The MOLIT announced the “the Overseas Expansion Plan for Korean Smart Cities” in 2016 and established a plan to construct a specialized demonstration complex in new towns.
The first of the main points is to implement a construction project of the complex, which takes into account the possibility of export to overseas markets and the expansion of private markets. Related complexes will be created with a focus on fields which show potential for expansion to overseas markets, such as energy, culture, safety, and urban total solutions. Starting in July 2016, specialized demonstration complexes have been built by the Korea Land & Housing Corporation (LH), the Korea District Heating Corporation and SK Telecom, in Sejong, Dongtan District 2, Pangyo and Godeok, Pyeongtaek. The second key point is to establish the functions of each concept for the complex construction and to build a demonstration complex that is specialized for the city. The development for Sejong is a total solution type encompassing transportation, stability, urban management, and energy, while the development for Dongtan District 2 emphasized on energy-saving. Pangyo is a cultural and shopping type development, while Godeok, Pyeongtaek is a safety enhancement-oriented type. Completion of the demonstration complexes is planned to take place during the second half of 2020, with the objective of finding services which are interacting with citizens and achieve commercialization (Lee, 2017).
South Korea's Smart City policies began when the Ministry of Information and Communication (now the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT)) announced the U-City Construction Activation General Plan in December 2006. In this plan, the detailed tasks were set out for the construction of a futuristic high-tech city which combines an urban space with U-IT infrastructure, technologies, and services, with the vision of a “Korea of Hope” through the implementation of the world's best U-city. The main objectives of the plan are 1) to establish a convenient, safe, pleasant, and healthy city through the spread of U-services, and 2) to nurture a new advanced and integrated IT industry.
The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (now the MSIT) has been executing a global smart city demonstration complex establishment project around the Haeundae district with SKT and Busan Metropolitan City since 2015. The Ministry of Security and Public Administration (now called the Ministry of the Interior and Safety) had performed the U-service support project from 2008 to 2013.
3. A big Data-Based Analyses to Smart City in South Korea
This paper adopts the big data-based approach to take a closer look at the general trends regarding the smart city policies in South Korea. Recently, it is widely utilized to check how the public reacts to government policy in various fields due to technological development. To this end, three big data-based analysis methods (Google Trends, analyses using Korea News Crawler, and topic map from Shaping Tomorrow) were utilized.
3.1. Google Trends
Google Trends analyzes the topic of Google web searches. It shows the number of searches performed during a specific time period (Google Trends Lessens, n.d.). The numbers on the vertical axis of the graph do not represent absolute search volume. The data is normalized and shown on a scale in the range 0-100. Each point in the graph is divided by the highest point or 100. According to Google Trends (Figure 1), global interest in the smart city concept has been growing steadily since 2004.
Figure 1: World Trend of the Smart City (2004-2018)
Source: Google Trends
This suggests that the smart city has grown recently in conjunction with the implementation of new technologies from the Fourth Industrial Revolution along with social demands in various areas including transportation, energy, safety, and healthcare. This trend is reflected in South Korea, and the interest in the smart city is on the rise. Notably, the interest in the smart city increased sharply around 2005 but has not shown significant growth until quite recently (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Korean Trend of the Smart City (2004-201)
Source: Google Trends
3.2. Korea News Crawler
Korea News Crawler is software created with python. It was used to analyze the meaning of articles on the smart city from 2005 and from 2017. We used this crawler to crawl
Figure 3: Number of Newspaper Articles about the Smart City in Korea (2000-2018)
Source: Google Trends
According to a big data analysis comparing 2005 and 2017 when the trend index for the smart city was high, Daejeon lay at the center of the smart city issue in 2005 based on a Word Cloud analysis. This reflects the fact that the Korean U-city development project (Ubiquitous City) has been actively implemented since 2005. Also, the development of the high-rise apartment, Daejeon Smart City, which started in 2005 in Daejeon, seems to be the main issue. In addition to Daejeon, Jeollanam-do, the city of Busan and Gyeonggi-do developed U-city master plans and prepared for execution around the same time. However, it is noteworthy that the smart city boom of 2005 did not last that long. There are many reasons for this, but one is that there is no consistent government policy. While smart city projects were actively discussed in South Korea from around the 2000s, they were diversified under various names, such as the U-city and the e-city.
Objectives, directions, and strategies for the smart city development are inevitably different because various government departments such as the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, and Ministry of the Interior and Safety conducted projects separately.
Thus, the government's consistent and intensive policy enforcement on the smart city did not follow, and the driving force was lost for a while. Now, as the government's interest in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is on the rise, the smart city is attracting attention once again. It is thus essential for several ministries to cooperate toward one development goal, and not to repeat the error of dividing their powers.
A word cloud analysis shows that Daejeon was at the very center of the Smart City issue in 2005. The reason why Daejeon is represented as the core of the early stage of the smart city–bigger than even Seoul–is due to certain regional characteristics. Daejeon was an area where the science technology research complex was integrated. On the other hand, in 2017, the words that conveyed regional and spatial meanings disappear, and technology and business are located at the center. Furthermore, the smart city issues have shifted from local government policies and election pledges in 2005 to business, technology, and enterprises in 2017. (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Word Clouds for Smart Cities in Korea
The results of a word cloud analysis are also confirmed through the results from the association rule. Regarding the terms in Table 3, according to Han et al. (2012), “support” means the number of transactions which includes both of the antecedent and the consequent and the value is high when the rule involves a large part of the database. “Confidence” is a conditioned probability, and it represents the percentage of antecedent transactions that have the consequent. “Lift” indicates the correlation or interest between the antecedent and the consequent. When the lift is greater than 1, they are positively correlated and the rule is helpful in finding consequent item sets.
Table 2: Association Rule and Formula
Table 3: Comparison between 2005 and 2017 in Terms of Big Data Analysis Based on Association Rule
In 2005, there is a word connection network formed around the two axes of “Daejeon” which is one of the representative high technology cities in South Korea and “City.” On the other hand, the word network is constructed around the words “Technology” and “Project” in 2017. What is interesting here is that the medium of both axes is enterprise/development. This suggests that the participation of enterprises that can apply advanced technologies and active development efforts by the government (Figure 5)
Figure 5: Comparison between 2005 and 2017 in Terms of Big Data Analysis Based on Association Rule
3.3. Shaping Tomorrow Shaping
Tomorrow is a future issue analysis system developed for big data based futures forecasting activities. It provides collected results by gathering global issues provided in real time from reports and articles and sorting them into the forecast and insight-oriented data. Compared to Google Trends, the data collected through Shaping Tomorrow has the advantage of being more transparent in terms of the data sources. The system is generated by artificial intelligence-based data mining technology, which automatically extracts valid data from search results and provides refined data such as trends and summaries. In fact, global organizations such as OECD and Ford Motor Company also utilize the system to research and analyze future issues (Shaping Tomorrow, n.d.).
It is interesting to compare Korea’s smart city development and its characteristics derived from the big data analysis with the smart city topic map from Shaping Tomorrow. The topic map shows the importance of collaboration and networking between the public and the private sector and for the successful implementation of the smart city. Furthermore, it also suggests that a comprehensive and strategic approach is required, with the integration and application of advanced technologies, including the IoT led by the Fourth Industrial Revolution in various fields. The topic map shows that huge investments in technology by the private sector and governments alike will be needed to deliver the many social improvements promised by smart cities.
Figure 1: The Topic Map for the Smart City
Source: Shaping Tomorrow
The literature on initiatives of smart cities in South Korea shows that South Korea started to actively discuss the smart city project in the 2000s and was a pioneer in the global market thanks to the enactment of related regulations and laws, the establishment of pilot projects, and exporting to overseas markets. However, the smart cities in South Korea have relied on similar systems and services with no big advancements or developments. Also, the projects were diversified under various names, such as 'U-city' and 'e-city,' and were executed separately by many different ministries, resulting in different objectives, directions, strategies, and a lack of cooperation. As such, the government's consistent and intensive policy enforcement on the smart city did not follow properly, and the driving force was lost for a while.
The results of analyses using the big data-based approach clearly show the general trends of the smart city in South Korea. The results from Google Trends show that the interest in the smart city has been growing in South Korea as well as in the world. The smart city has emerged as a solution to various future urban problems to overcome the urban issues created by global warming, energy problems, and an increased population. There are expectations that smart city-related industries will be considered as the new national key industries and actively utilized to drive economic growth as well. Currently in South Korea, the smart city project is currently in the beginning stage; however, it is expected to create various opportunities from a new socioeconomic perspective based on the technologies and infrastructure accumulated after a certain period of time.
Based on the analysis using Korea New Crawler, we found that the smart city boom did not last that long. A lack of consistent government policies and government-led smart city policy could be plausible reasons for this. The smart city is a space for living that has a bi-directional relationship between suppliers and consumers through the implementation of advanced technologies in spaces called “cities.” In other words, it is not a digital high-tech city that experts create by supplying new technologies, but a civilized community whose members live convenient lives through new advanced technologies.
The word cloud for smart city reveals that people’s awareness for the smart city has been changed. This suggests that the rise of the development of technologies has not only heightened the interest in the smart city but has also realized the application of advanced technologies in real life. The big data analysis based on association rule comparing between 2005 and 2017 describes the changes in detail. This suggests that a social consensus was formed that the participation of enterprises that can apply advanced technologies and active development efforts by the government should occur at the same time.
The topic map from the Shaping Tomorrow shows the comprehensive and strategic approach for smart city development in the future is important as well as collaboration and networking between the private and the public. Social and governance networks enable cities to manage the risks associated with unexpected events, innovation, and contextual factors. When imagining smart cities, their cultural and social innovations should thus be as important an element as their technologies. Today, as the government's interest in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is on the rise, the smart city is attracting attention once again. According to Kireyeva et al. (2018), the future success of businesses depends on promoting high technology which ensures the transition to a new stage of the industrial revolution such as "Industry 4.0" emphasizing on using new methods of organization of innovation process. He (2018) found that a positive effect of artificial intelligence industry on the national economy such as GDP, employment, real income, and investment, while the industry has a negative effect on the nation’s import. Also, these high technologies can promote people’s health behavior. Kim et al. (2019) argue that smart health gadgets such as real-time watch/sports wristband can increase people’s health awareness and health-promoting behavior. It is thus necessary for several ministries to cooperate toward one goal and work together for smooth execution of the smart city.
Based on the results and discussions so far, we might suggest some future directions for the smart city development in South Korea. First, private and public corporations should be involved in the urban construction and services of the smart city in South Korea. To overcome the limitations on corporate participation and voluntary operations given the long-term, non-commercial and public nature of smart city projects, a strategic approach is needed that considers various new models from other countries as well. Second, cooperation between companies is required. It is realized that the process of internationalization and globalization became widespread in innovative activity (Dnishev & Alzhanova, 2016). The smart city's technologies and services need to be linked not only with the networks of telecommunications companies but also with various contents and platforms. The smart city can benefit from the consilience of different technologies and services. Third, long-term investments and attention are needed. Korea’s policies have tended to be short-term and visible performance-oriented and policies focused on short-term achievements can cause conflicts with existing cities as well. Fourth, the smart city should provide customized services considering each city’s characteristics like unique cultural identity as Han and Hawken (2018) suggested. The success or failure of the smart city is correlated with the participation of residents It might increase sustainable competitive advantage when cities or companies have a clean image (Lee and Dastane, 2019). Lytras et al. (2019) found that human factors are getting important than the technology and facilitating human needs such as social networking for achieving a value-adding purpose. Also, services that reflect the characteristics of the cities are required in terms of raising the interest of residents. Finally, consistent and intensive policy enforcement for smart cities is necessary. As Meijer and Bolı´var (2016) argues that smart city governance is a complex process of political understanding and acknowledge of socio-technical governance. This is why smart city governance in South Korea has been highlighted as a weakness in terms of competitiveness. Therefore, in addition to the central government and municipalities, companies involved in the construction of various smart cities need to establish cooperative systems and pursue them consistently through governance.