The ability of virtual reality to stimulate communication among people without physical contact seems like a great solution for post-pandemic cities.
Other than overcoming the request for physical distance, the Seoul city council also believes that virtual reality projects have the power to bypass language barriers. Thus, the interrupted connections between people could be restored in unexpected and innovative ways.
South Korean capital is going to be the first place in the country with metaverse platform for public services.
The project is still in development and is unofficially named Metaverse Seoul, and the estimated costs are over $33 million. The first of three provisioned implementation phases is expected to start by the end of 2021.
The idea of the new platform is part of a broader long-term project Seoul Vision 2030. In this document, Seoul is imagined as a leading city, that is “future emotional”, safe, and fair.
In order to make sure that the plan is executed properly, the city administration will assign a director to each project and actively oversee the implementation process with regular evaluations. The main goal is to bring back dignity and joy to the everyday life of its citizens.
The entire municipal administration, including tourism, culture, and education services, will get their simulated replicas and will be accessible for citizens through Metaverse Seoul. Avatars of various public officials will work just like in the past, only in the virtual space of Metaverse 120 Center.
Some important community events, such as Seoul FinTech Lab, Seoul Lantern Festival, and Seoul Campus Town will move to the virtual realm of the Metaverse Seoul platform.
Tourism, one of the most painful spots of every economy after the lockdowns, deservedly got special attention from the city fathers.
Tourists coming to Seoul will have the opportunity to go to the Virtual Tourist Zone and see the virtual recreations of Gwanghwamun Square, Namdaemun Market, and other city landmarks. What is expected to especially attract visitors is the ability to visit the monuments and historical places that no longer exist, such as the famous Donuimun Gate.
Local districts and the Seoul Metropolitan Government are also considering opportunities virtual reality could have in improving administrative efficiency, infrastructure, and even employee training.