The city of Suwon, South Korea hosted the EcoMobility World Festival 2013, a month long event held in the Haenggung-dong neighborhood modeling a progressive, car-free environment. Fresh from the Festival, Suwon is making many changes permanent, such as wider sidewalks, cycle lanes, and bike rental stations. For these long term improvements, catalyzed by the Festival, Suwon is a finalist for the 2014 Sustainable Transport Awards.
For the month of September, Suwon recreated itself to be an experiment and demonstration of an ecomobile city. As part of the EcoMobility World Festival, residents of the city’s Haenggung-dong neighborhood voluntary gave up their cars, allowing space for pedestrian and cycle activity to flourish, showing that being car-free is a viable option and that basic needs can be fulfilled without being dependent on an automobile. Additional changes include the expanded use of a bike rental system, the opening of five ssamzie parks (pocket parks), and extensive pedestrian-friendly improvements.
Moving forward, Suwon is making many changes permanent. Haenggung-dong will continue to have car-free weekends, preserve many of the parking reforms, preserve the cycle lanes installed, and maintain bike rental stations throughout the area. Discussions with local residents continue to produce permanent changes from the Festival, as well as expansion into other parts of the city. The lessons learned will also be used to inform future transport planning the city.
As city resident’s enjoy the social and environmental benefits of living car-free, the legacy of Suwon’s success will inspire cities throughout the world to move toward a sustainable transport model. For more information on the EcoMobility World Festival, visit www.ecomobilityfestival.org.
Since 2005, the STA has been given annually to a city that has implemented innovative and sustainable transportation projects in the past year. These strategies must improve mobility for all residents, reduce transportation greenhouse and air pollution emissions, as well as improve safety and access for cyclists and pedestrians.
The 2014 finalists will be honored at a reception at the Washington Hilton International Ballroom on January 14, 2014, during the Transport Research Board annual conference in Washington, DC. If you would like to attend the STA ceremony, click here to RSVP.
Past winners of the Sustainable Transport Award include: Mexico City, Mexico (2013); Medellin, Colombia and San Francisco, United States (2012); Guangzhou, China (2011); Ahmedabad, India (2010); New York City, USA (2009); London, UK (2008); Paris, France (2008); Guayaquil, Ecuador (2007); Seoul, South Korea (2006), and Bogotá, Colombia (2005).