Seoul’s municipal government has announced it is developing a new concept for public service – a virtual communication channel for all of its administrative services. Initially named Metaverse Seoul, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) will invest 3.9 billion-won ($3.3 million US) to create the metaverse platform. Metaverse refers to a 3D virtual shared world in which all activities can take place with the help of augmented- and virtual reality services.
According to the city’s five-year “Metaverse Seoul Basic Plan,” the stages will be: ‘introduction’ (2022), where they will establish the platform and introduce seven services and the economy, education, and tourism sectors; ‘expansion’ (2023 to 2024); and ‘settlement’ (2025 to 2026).
The project will begin by creatin a virtual Mayor’s Office, Seoul Fintech Lab, Invest Seoul, and Seoul Campus Town on the metaverse platform. In 2023, a virtual general civil service office – tentatively called the Metaverse 120 Center – will also be created, where citizens will be able to meet avatars of public officials, resolve civil complaints, and benefit from consultancy services without having to be present in municipal offices. Some of Seoul’s tourist attractions will be virtually created on the platform as a “special zone for a virtual tour, ” and there are also plans to reanimate destroyed historical sites in the virtual space. Festivals, including the Seoul Lantern Festival, will be held in the metaverse so that everyone around the world can experience them.
“Seoul will pioneer a new continent called ‘Metaverse Seoul’ by combining public demand with private technology,” said Park Jong-su, a ranking municipal official in charge of the project.