Seoul has become the first city to embrace the virtual landscape and dive into the culture of a new metaverse.
According to a report by UK news outlet Metro, Seoul is the first local government in Korea to develop a “comprehensive long-term plan” for the metaverse. The report claims the city intends to establish a platform for contactless communication by the end of 2022.
A virtual avatar of Mayor Oh Se-hoon announced in September the city’s emphasis on creating a digital landscape, indicating that the coronavirus has served as an expedient in the decision-making:
The fourth industrial revolution, and the explosion of the “untact” culture during corona, demand a change in the way we deliver public service by building a Metaverse Seoul platform.
The project is one proposal in Mayor Oh’s decade-long plan to position Seoul as a global hub for emerging technology. The project, which is tentatively named ‘Metaverse Seoul,’ is expected to cost $34 million over five years. The city’s goal is to create a metaverse ecosystem for its municipal administration in three stages starting next year.
The city will kick off its shift to the metaverse by hosting its traditional Bosingak bell-ringing ceremony on New Year’s Eve on the virtual platform. The city also hopes to provide a virtual Mayor’s Office and FinTech lab on the platform, in addition to consultation and civil services.
According to Metro’s report, the residents of ‘Metaverse Seoul’ would be able to “make reservations for city-run facilities, ride city tour buses, visit re-creations of destroyed historical sites, file administrative complaints with city bureaucrats and more. ” They would also be able to “visit cultural heritage sites throughout the city by accessing the metaverse on their cell phones.”
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