This study aims to examine the relationship between urban development by the private sector and the urban planning incentive policy “FAR (Floor Area Ratio) bonus” and its effects on the city of Seoul in Korea. The results and characteristics of the incentive policy in the development process over the last five years in Seoul are investigated. An in-depth analysis of the mechanism of the floor area ratio incentive was conducted alongside measuring public design elements and the additional floor area compensated by private sectors for public benefit. The outcome of summarizing incentive implementations via quantitative analysis indicated that the policy focused on a narrow scope of target items, resulting in an imbalance in the implementation of public benefits and inflated incentive provisions. These quantitative results, exceeding those in non-special planning districts, misleadingly suggest a significant effectiveness of the incentive policy in generating operative public space. This study argues that the standards for establishing a balance between public and private benefit need a reform toward practical and qualitative impacts, while currently it is evaluated based on mere quantification. In conclusion, it is critical to implement policies that designate necessary public amenities in a selective manner and provide more judicious incentives to achieve a better-balanced planning system.
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