With the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, our society intersects with technology at every point, hence, the understanding of policymaking needs to be on par with the regime of innovation. The curriculum at KDI School is organized and routinely revised to keep up with this modern need. However, learning has never been restricted to the four walls of our institution. Frequent field visits, discussions with subject matter experts, and global seminars have been an important part of the academic experience. But upon our recent discussion with some students, we realized that the ideal geographic location of our school has played a vital role in enhancing their perspective and ideas towards development and planning.
The KDI School is located in the special self-governing city of Sejong, a smart city that reflects innovation in its design and function. It was established and inhabited less than a decade ago with development plans all mapped out until 2030. From its transportation model to solar-powered benches, waste management systems to ongoing construction of infrastructure, everything adheres to a sense of organization. A personal experience of this fresh city has inspired many of our students to focus their research around it.
Jazmin Ageeb, our Fall 2019 MPM student from The Bahamas, was intrigued by the city’s waste management system from the very beginning. After observing and understanding its inner workings, she decided to design a similar plan through citizen engagement and policy reform in her country as part of her dissertation. During our conversation, she mentioned, “I have been inspired by the depth and cohesiveness with which Korea has developed its waste management system, particularly in Sejong City. Two themes come to mind: efficiency and modernization, both of which have shaped Sejong’s development as a smart city. In order to learn how The Bahamas can improve its waste management system, I have drawn useful strategies from Sejong’s model on the one hand, and KDI’s curriculum on the other.”
Andrea Romo, our student from Ecuador who previously worked with many international organizations and city councils has a similar experience. While taking a course on “Smart Cities” during her first semester, she savored the fact that she would be living in one for the next year. As a policy expert in the making, she believes that smart components do not only enhance a city in terms of modernity, but also increases livability for its citizens when integrated with aspects of public life like green public spaces, safe walking areas, biking roads, etc. She was most impressed with how the city was accessible on foot. She adds, “I really enjoy walking in the city. I’m inspired by the design of the spaces that provides safety to walk or uses bikes while surrounded by many trees. Also, there is a great integration of public and private spaces. I would love to replicate this pedestrian-friendly concept in my hometown.”
Jazmin and Andrea are but a few of many students who have found inspiration in Sejong, truly an experience that they will cherish and take with them anywhere. The KDI School wishes its students the best with their research and its implementation in the future.