When we held the SIX Summer School, the concept of social innovation was still very unfamiliar to many people in Korea. The SIX Summer School in Seoul provided a platform for social innovators in Korea to come together, inspire each other and collaborate to initiate more innovation thinking in more diverse fields. It served as a catalyst for expanding the range of the social innovation field in Korea.

Wonsoon Park, Mayor of Seoul (2011-2020)

Theme and context

There are more people living in cities than ever, and the cities we live in are growing rapidly. The Mayors of the world’s 25 largest cities are now responsible for more people than most national prime ministers. The sustainability and resilience of our cities are therefore increasingly at the centre of the agenda of governments, policy makers, NGOs and corporations responsible for urban development. 

City leaders and urban planners all over the world are challenged with reshaping cities to make them thrive. How can we ensure social sustainability is at the heart of cities of the future? What role do communities, urban designers and technology leaders have to play in creating more liveable cities and communities? 

About the event

For three and a half days in Seoul participants from all over the world were hosted by Mayor Won Soon Park, to examine how cities can better harness the energy, knowledge and creativity of their inhabitants to ensure social sustainability.

The event drew together the best examples of city innovations from around the world, and enabled participants to learn from each other, while examining issues including:

  • Moving beyond smart cities: How can people and communities, not just technology, be involved in making cities smart?
  • Social justice and urban development: How can we create pro growth strategies that do not exclude the poor?
  • Discovering new insights for a better city: What can we learn from communities, regeneration and integration policies from the biggest cities in the world?
  • Identifying appropriate tools and frameworks for urban innovation models that can support sustainable cities: Who are the stakeholders that need to be involved and how should they be engaged?

Learning and outputs

The concept of social innovation was relatively new in Seoul City in 2013. The SIX Summer School in Seoul City created a space where local social innovators could connect with global collaborators and learn from each other about how we can make our cities more participatory and resilient. 

Reflection blog

Check out Eddy Adams’ (URBACT) blog, Meeting the Seoul Man.