My name is Namji Kim. I am originally from Seoul, South Korea. I am on secondment to Social Life from Seoul Metropolitan Government where I work in the Social Innovation Bureau.
I have heard that there are three opportunities in life. The first of the three opportunities was to pass the Seoul Metropolitan Government exam as a public official and start working as a public official in Seoul, and the second was to gain the chance of a secondment in London. What will be the third? I'm looking forward it to it so much! :)
I arrived at London Heathrow on January 21 this year. With two immigrant bags equipped with various items from Korea. I heard that British houses were so cold indoors so many people recommended to bring electric boards, sleeping bags and home tent.
After several months I have been a bit cold because the under floor heating is rare. But not all of my supplies are have been needed. London is generally warm.
It's my second visit to London in my life. Ten years ago, when I was working in a cultural industry department of Seoul Metropolitan Government, I came to London to learn about the film and fashion industry. This time, I came back to London to learn Universal Design. London has many strong points. It is extensive in design, film, fashion, tourism, and regeneration.
Back to the square one, I finally came here to learn how to design for social substantiality with a lovely, kind, even very professional co-workers.
My learning place is Social Life who are conducting and making very interesting research. They create indicators with residents, city officials, and development staff on how to make communities sustainable with various methods.
What I feel is that London is too expensive. Of course, Seoul is also expensive. But house prices here are beyond my expectation. Also, as house prices are directly linked to safety, we avoid cheaper places, so finding the right house to fit our budget is an odd thing in the sky. Of course, if I had more zero at the end, I would have a lot of options, but I am not parvenu.
So the projects at the Social Life are dealing my real-world problems too, as a person who has to find a home in London.
The first thing I considered in looking for a house, except for the budget, was whether there was a park nearby. My current home is located in the middle of Primrose Hill and Hampstead Health, so I visit the park whenever I have time, I could feel the stability of the park. It makes me happier.
At one of Social Life’s workshops in late February, on Woodberry Down, someone commented that in order to create a good community, a good public space must be created. I totally agree with this. My acquaintance in Seoul said he wanted to sue the government because of the micro dust. Air quality is 100 percent linked to the quality of life.
The second was my determination not to deviate from Zone 1 and 2. In Seoul, one subway fare is £0.81, and buses and subways can be transferred, making it very easy to access public transport. The subway fare in London is very high, and if I come to Elephant and Castle from Swiss Cottage in the morning it will cost me £2.50. Simply compared to the regular subway ticket, the monthly fare in Seoul costs £38 pounds and £131 pounds a month in London. So people seem to walk a lot. So do I.It leads to a walking friendly policy.
There is a kind sign that I find whenever I get lost. I think it's a kinder sign than Google Maps. I wanted to go find out who made it.
I plan to live in London and post stories about my experiences. Please look forward to it. Hahaha!