EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013
Suwon City

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Serious Traffic Problems in Suwon Suwon has played a pivotal role in administration, education, culture and economy as the capital of Gyeonggi Province. The city is also an important traffic center of southern Gyeonggi in connecting national highways Nos. 1, 42 and 43 and other roads to each direction. As Suwon is located in a major traffic point, where 80 percent of intra-city bus routes pass through the Four Gates, with a total of 46 million vehicles of annual traffic volume – 16 million, 17 million and 13 million on national highways Nos. 1, 42 and 43 respectively as of the end of 2013, the number of vehicles has grown rapidly since the 1990s, causing congestion especially downtown. Do Cars Own the City? Suwon has been adopting a wide range of transportation policies over the past 30 years to solve its serious traffic congestion. The policies, however, have been “car-centered” rather than focusing on people. To alleviate traffic, more roads have been constructed and extended, and this has limited right of way given to pedestrians. They have had to cross overpasses or underpasses to cross streets more frequently. In particular, mobility for the disadvantaged such as the disabled, elderly and infirm, infants and toddlers has been severely encroached. High thresholds, buses and taxis inaccessible for wheelchair users and sidewalks full of obstacles have increasingly pushed such disadvantaged people out of the city. ‘City of Uncomfortable, Uneasy and Unfavorable Walking: Suwon’ Suwon is furnished with 779km of road networks which 410,000 cars use as of the end of 2013. In a sense, it is natural more roads have not alleviated the problem of traffic congestion because the number of cars keeps surpassing that of newly built roads. As roads are limited in capacity, traffic congestion keeps getting worse and worse. The result is a vicious circle of people preferring to use their own cars instead of public transportation, which causes inconvenience. With the full-scale development of a new town in Suwon, the entire city is trapped in such a vicious circle. Consequently, Suwon has been criticized as a city where walking is “uncomfortable, uneasy and unfavorable” and where driving a car is preferable. ‘Doughnut Phenomenon’ in Old Towns and Rapidly Aging Population In old downtown Suwon, Hwaseong Fortress surrounds an area that has been designated as a restricted development zone to protect and preserve cultural assets. Meanwhile, a new town around Suwon City Hall in eastern Suwon is being developed. It is natural that the old town, due to burdensome restrictions, is suffering from a rapidly aging population as well as a greater sense of deprivation. Especially in the neighborhood of Haenggung-dong, where Suwon Hwaseong Fortress is, the elderly account for 48.5 percent of the population, tenants 79 percent, and decrepit buildings more than 30 years old 67.1 percent. This so-called doughnut phenomenon is deepening.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Declaration on Suwon, the Capital of Environment and Residents' Choice Previous transportation policies of Suwon adopted vehicles, ownership and growth as core values, while EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 provided an opportunity for shifting the focus to people, sharing and environment and reflecting aspects of social change such as the rapidly aging population, improvement in quality of life, climate change and energy depletion to develop the will to build an eco-city and pedestrian paradise. The municipal government declared on September 26, 2011, the city as “Suwon, the Capital of Environment.” Based on a 2005 initiative the goal of reducing CO2 emissions 40 percent by 2030 through civic group meetings. Prior to this, Suwon accepted the Community Participation Demonstration Project for EcoMobility Festival proposed by ICLEI in July and adopted this as its core policy. The 1st EcoMobility World Congress was held on October 24, 2011, in Changwon, Gyeongnam Province, where ICLEI and UN-HABITAT selected Suwon as a pilot city of the EcoMobility Festival. When the city was designated the ideal place for the realization of ambitious demonstration, the following characteristics of Suwon were considered: Hwaseong Fortress, designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, and the city’s historic sites and cultural assets are evidence of rich tradition, mature citizenship, passion for and experience in the environment. Residents Standing in the Center Above all, the key to the success of the EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 is the voluntary and active participation of residents. Without them at the center, this project would be impossible to carry out and meaningless. Over the whole month of September 2013, all cars from the Haenggung-dong (Sinpung and Jangan) neighborhood, an area deemed the heart of Suwon, disappeared. An estimated 4,300 residents from 2,200 households live there, and they had to walk or use alternative forms of transportation including bikes, non-motorized vehicles and public transportation such as buses instead of driving cars when commuting, going shopping or enjoying leisure time. This globally recognized project has helped Suwon achieve the world's first future city of transport centered on people. Changes in Urban Infrastructure Living without a car for one month does not mean snubbing cars. It also entails a change in the center of urban infrastructure itself from cars to people. As soon as cars were removed, the lifestyle of Suwon residents started to change. On roads from which cars disappeared, children played around there and residents began gathering in small groups. Walking slowly, they grasped the true meaning of peace of mind. The change in paradigm was not limited to residents. The project offered the opportunity to share the precious values and experience of EcoMobility with a lot of people, attracting more than a million visitors who enjoyed international events, cultural performances and educational programs in September. Cooperation of Residents, NGOs, Suwon and Global Organizations The EcoMobility festival was co-hosted by ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) and UN-HABITAT (United Nations Human Settlements Programme) as well as Suwon City Hall. The project is one of the best in urban transportation and was promoted through the cooperation of EcoMobility experts, a provincial governor, staff from international organization and NGOs with the focus being on residents.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Unprecedented Car-free Village An inconvenient truth is that fossil fuels such as oil and coal will be depleted in 20 to 30 years. It is time for the world to recognize the reality that the age of oil is coming to an end. More action is needed. Eighty percent of greenhouse gases are discharged in cities, where more than half of the world’s population live. This is why cities must change. True Meaning of Car-free Life in Old Towns EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 is a festival held not in a new town, but an old town of a city where all cars were removed for a month and residents were encouraged to exclusively use non-motorized vehicles and public transportation. This festival ushered in a new paradigm and epitomized administration convergence to actively cope with climate change. This event is also not a one-off occurrence. It aims at changing urban infrastructure so that an entire village can live without a car. New urban structure, new lifestyle with a renewed mindset. Through this, we can experience a bit of the future, “today”.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Feasibility Study via Joint Debate of Civic Groups Including Experts and Workers In January, 2012, a joint debate of civic groups for the EcoMobility pilot project was held for the first time. This was when people showed high interest in the world’s first experiment of its kind while simultaneously doubting the possibility of success for this unheard-of event. Since then, about 10 workshops and debates have been held in which experts in the field and working groups took part and started having a better understanding of the issue and reaching a consensus. With Suwon and ICLEI playing a central role, foreign and domestic experts, NGOs, ordinary people and working groups held a total of 85 workshops, discussions and site visits from January 2012 to August 2013. Visit to Each and Every Household The evaluation of the EcoMobility pilot project resulted in the Haenggung-dong neighborhood of Suwon being selected. Much was said for and against the unprecedented campaign called “Car-free Life.” So surveys on the perception of EcoMobility were done on 4,603 Haenggung-dong residents for one month in August 2012 to measure their awareness and prepareness for the event. Thirty survey staff were chosen from residents to avoid causing resistance. They visited each household to study 58 items in four fields in detail: the status of family members, the expected effects from the project, the status of household members and passage, and that of independent businessmen and other business owners. Pleasant Rehearsals for Car-free Streets Preliminary events had been held a year earlier before the EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 to experience car-free villages in advance. The celebration for “D-365 EcoMobility” was followed by a variety of events. The themes were different, but the intended message was the same: enjoy car-free days. Expanded Urban Infrastructure Cars that had occupied alleys were forced out, a product of what was called “people's culture.” For this, infrastructure improvements were made around Haenggung-dong: expansion of amenities such as 1 parking lot, counseling and culture centers, and 5 parks; housing improvement and maintenance such as housing renovation; enhancement of energy efficiency; renovation of walls and rooftops; installation of 1,050meters electrical wires underground; 1,250meters pavement of roads and organization of 165 signs; spicing up the neighborhood’s characteristics with its story such as better use of historical and cultural assets; improvement of 1,760meters alleys and old streets; building unique commercial streets; revitalization of the village community such as building a local community; formation of a consultative residents’ group; and consulting on housing welfare. Streets Attracting More Foot Traffic EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 introduced the new concept “Barrier Free”; a design that even those disadvantaged in using transportation, including infants in strollers, the elderly in wheelchairs and the disabled, could easily use was applied at each alley. Also programs for mutual understanding were introduced, headlined by the “Blind Wheelchair Heart (Maeum) Tour.” In the tour, the disabled served as guides and the non-disabled rode wheelchairs or were blindfolded, then both groups went on a tour of Haenggung-dong. Through this experience, the non-disabled realized that the right to mobility is universal.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Piece of the Future Borrowed by Residents, Governments, Communities and the World This was an international event co-hosted by ICLEI and UN-HABITAT with Suwon City Hall. Above all, its success was mainly attributed to the active participation of Suwon residents. Furthermore, EcoMobility experts, a provincial governor, staff from international organizations and NGOs all worked together to the best of their abilities. This way, EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 was the fruit of administrative convergence through the cooperation of residents, government, communities and the world. Of Residents, by Residents and for Residents! EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013, once considered a reckless challenge, finally saw completion through the voluntary participation of residents. At first, residents had formed a group and staged a mass demonstration against EcoMobility, demanding financial compensation for sales losses due to infrastructure construction for the project. Nevertheless, the sincere efforts and support of the administration persuaded the residents to voluntarily cooperate with and participate in the project, and this led to huge success. To promote EcoMobility Suwon 2013 and encourage the public to participate and make it possible, 1,280 people started the Residents Promotion Team for EcoMobility. The team carried out governance for neighborhoods participating in planning and producing events for EcoMobility in seven sections: EcoMobility, organizing streets, neighborhood economy, festivals, green living, alley academy and teens. They shared their ideas on the problems facing the neighborhood, considered what residents asked for, explored how to make a better neighborhood everyone wants to live in, and played an important role in promoting and supporting residents' activities as advocates for EcoMobility Suwon 2013.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Best Use of Residents' Self-governing Organization The project was directly connected to the lives of residents, so forming an effective self-governing organization of residents was crucial. This is why the “Resident Committee for EcoMobility Promotion” was launched by 1,280 residents of Haenggung-dong and played a leading role in the project and resident participation programs. Prior to the main event, the “Citizen Volunteer Corps” was launched in August 2013, when up to 5,936 people participated in tasks such as supporting events, translating and controlling traffic. Their activities played an important role in making the event successful. Setup of Joint Organizing Committee for Thorough Preparation The joint organizing committee is the top decision-making body with 11 members from organizations such as the central government, National Assembly, Suwon City Hall, Suwon City Council, businesses and civic groups. This governance body is for establishing a cooperative relationship between the central government and international organizations and thoroughly preparing for and implementing the event. An executive committee was also organized to get everything ready. Reorganization of Public-private Partnership The EcoMobility Promotion Team as an administrative organization of Suwon supervised the setup of infrastructure, promotion of the project at the working level such as supporting residents, and control of traffic. In the civic sector, the EcoMobility Secretariat had the Suwon Secretariat responsible for resident cooperation, cultural performances, external cooperation and public relations and the secretariat of Bonn, Germany, took charge of overseas public relations for co-host ICLEI and organizational management of international networks. In addition, administration supporters made up of 240 veteran Suwon officials greatly contributed to supporting 2,200 Haenggung-dong households on an individual basis, promoting the event and persuading residents to participate. Guarantee of Residents’ Convenience The city lent about 400 bicycles free exclusively to Suwon residents and operated transport rental centers for visitors. By regularly running carts and bicycle taxis, Suwon supported residents' mobility and delivery under the control of the 24-hour all-source situation room operated by the city. Electric vehicles were also on constant alert. Six shuttle buses ran two courses between temporary parking lots outside of the city, bus stops and other venues. Heavy loads were delivered to stores in the neighborhood by electric-powered carts or motorcycles. So what happened to cars occupying every nook and corner of Haenggung-dong? They were moved to the temporary parking lots prepared by Suwon City Hall in Yeonghwa, Yeonmu, Jangan and Yeonmu Elementary School. Suwon operated its 24-hour call center and all-source situation room and ran shuttle buses. Traffic control was implemented to control vehicles. Emergency vehicles were ready for dealing with urgent patients at any time. In case of fire, firefighting trucks were also prepared to control fires quickly. For security, a mobile police station was in operation. Police officers moved around venues on Segways and the electric bikes.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Change in Residents’ Perceptions The greatest accomplishment of EcoMobility was the change in residents’ perceptions after having lived without their cars for a month. They expressed high satisfaction for general living conditions including walking, air condition and noise, and this changed their perception, by 29 percent, of EcoMobility, which is environment-friendly and considerate to the socially disadvantaged. How amazing that after the project, 7 percent of residents switched their mode of transportation -- 3 percent to public transportation, 3 percent to bicycles, and 1 percent to walking. Planting of 470,000 Pine Trees and Creation of 1,400 Jobs The EcoMobility project proved environmentally and economically significant. In the environmental aspect, it led to the reduction of approximately 190 tons of carbon dioxide a month, an effect to planting 470,000 pine trees. Economically, it had a production inducement effect of 103.2 million dollars at home and created about 1,400 jobs nationwide. Huge Possibility Seen in Future EcoMobility Suwon 2013 was a transportation policy that experimented with advanced means of future transportation. Residents discovered the possibility of change in the existing car-centered transportation to a people-centered system. During the event, delegates from 93 cities in 37 countries adopted the declaration and the charter expressing the will of the global cities to propel EcoMobility in the EcoMobility Congress 2013. Governance Ability Strengthened Through Participation and Communication EcoMobility Suwon 2013, which was planned and carried out by the participation of residents and public-private cooperation, was a long and specific activity that went beyond precedent. This experience led to the revitalization of the residential community and local network and the build-up of residential autonomy and governance, instilling pride in Suwon residents. Worldwide Recognition Through Awards In the seventh session of the World Urban Forum in April 2014, Suwon won the U.N. Habitat Award, which is given to individuals or organizations who have made great contributions to the development of sustainable cities such as housing and improvement in quality of life. Suwon is thus the first Korean city to win this award since UN-HABITAT, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, established it in 1989. The city had earlier received an honorable mention at the 2014 Sustainable Transport Award in Washington in January 2014. In addition, Suwon won an award for excellence in urban landscape at the 2013 Korean Cityscape Grand Award sponsored by the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Public Offer Process for Selecting Demonstration Area A judging committee of four experts was set up to select the demonstration area. The committee quantitatively evaluated the residents' participation (40 points), the project’s feasibility (40) and effectiveness (20), and also qualitatively evaluated whether the area’s history and culture could be coupled with tourism, if the district could provide places for running the event effectively, and whether such investment in infrastructure would be reasonable. As a result of the evaluation, the Haenggung-dong (Sinpung and Jangan) neighborhood was selected. Evaluation and Monitoring System for General Promotion Process First, a working-level advisory committee of internal and external experts was launched. From the beginning of the project, five committee members gathered for advisory conferences at least 20 times to reflect the results on the promotion process. Second, relevant organizations, religious organizations, a shopkeepers’ association and residents of Haenggung-dong held dozens of meetings and briefings and reflected the problems brought up in the plan. The offices of the Suwon mayor and the EcoMobility Promotion Team moved to the venue so that any resident or whoever could visit and propose an idea. Third, surveys on resident satisfaction conducted by research agencies before and after the project and the results were shared with residents through public hearings. Resident Satisfaction First The Suwon Development Institute and Suwon Research Institute started doing various analyses based on the results of surveys on resident satisfaction. They then suggested reasonable solutions to improve the living environment, publicize EcoMobility, induce residents to participate in the project, operate alternative modes of transportation and cope with emergencies and business support. Such results were useful as data for devising detailed plans.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
‘How Can One Live Without a Car for a Month?’ The EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 required residents in Haenggung-dong to actively take part. At first, however, lots of them opposed this event so even holding a presentation was tough. Residents and shopkeepers simply could not imagine “car-free streets,” believing that without cars, few people would visit there and thus bring down the economy of the neighborhood. The shopkeepers protested and held rallies against the project. Door-to-door Visits But this event would simply have been impossible without residents' participation. In the end, the city had staff visit each and every resident household, sending 240 government officials who served as administrative supporters. Each team of officials were in charge of 10 households, met the residents in person, explained the project’s necessity and checked inconveniences reflected in the policy to minimize problems. The officials came up with ideas for business owners to take part in the project, provided substantial support and arranged loans for them. For the neighborhood economy, 3,000 government workers in the campaign encouraged people to go shopping in Haenggung-dong. This is how city officials met people living there. The intent was a slow but steady approach for “a walk in the city.“ Residents as Subjects of ‘EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013’ After a while, residents began to understand the project staff’s sincere efforts and open their minds. The residents started playing leading roles in the EcoMobility Suwon 2013 and prepared events such as a food festival, exhibitions, traditional activities, and a traditional Korean music festival.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
A City Owned by People, not Cars The EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 caused the future traffic system of Suwon to undergo changes. The city will put aside its pro-vehicle policies such as building overpasses and pedestrian bridges, and seek to become an eco-friendly green traffic city through a people-centered system such as designating public transportation-only districts, introducing Tram(Urban Eco-Railway) and promoting public biking. The most amazing change has been with residents. People who fought with each other due to parking spaces started meeting and communicating with each other. This change was surprising after cars disappeared. Suggesting a new paradigm of living without cars and experiencing it firsthand, residents saw a major change in their awareness. Old Town Reorganized and Infrastructure Expanded for EcoMobility EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 was a municipal policy for urban regeneration meant to organize the underdeveloped old town and revitalizing its economy. The infrastructure built for EcoMobility will set an important precedent for regeneration of residential community that leads to revitalization of a regional economy such as stimulating the environment by reducing greenhouse gases and creating jobs in connection with the revitalization of traditional market culture. Suwon sought a new model for regeneration of an old town in connection with EcoMobility. The governor had a strong will to instill vitality into the city through setting up a car-free neighborhood where people want to take a walk. This was the first attempt to transform the pro-car municipal policy to one that favors pedestrians. The goal is to make “a city you want to walk around” that is not only comfortable to walk in, but also pleasant to do so. When well-organized sidewalks, pleasant streets and attractive landscapes are in harmony with the rich history of a city, the area’s competitiveness and quality of life will be enhanced. Possibility for Future Eco-city Proven EcoMobility Suwon 2013 had meaning for the rest of Korea, too. Through the project, the possibility of EcoMobility’s industrial development was shown through a variety of events such as exhibitions of eco-friendly transportation, while the effects of job and income creation were also displayed. Also, it provided an opportunity for establishing an advanced foundation of EcoMobility policy through sharing the results of studies on applicability between cities, and for spurring civic participation in and understanding of EcoMobility. Suwon, EcoMobility-centered City EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 offered a chance for invigorating the Suwon economy, tourism and culture as well as promoting the city’s image as an EcoMobility city. The world’s first creative event of its kind that drew international acclaim, the project provided Suwon with specific goals and practical tasks given the city’s desire for a long-term vision as an eco-friendly provincial capital through the establishment of a green traffic system and the realization of a low-carbon green city. A platform was also provided for stimulation and further development of the municipal economy as its ecological values and the cultural values of the region were combined to maximize tourism effects and establish the city brand.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Global Attention to EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 Through EcoMobility Suwon 2013, participants shared their recognition that the city’s car-centered policy should be changed into an EcoMobility-centered traffic system including walking, biking and taking public transportation. This became a new EcoMobility model and the old town regeneration connected with it. International discussions have started based on the results of EcoMobility Suwon 2013. More than 590 leaders of 93 cities in 37 countries the world over will demonstrate their leadership for having their cities or regions adopt green traffic systems immediately and will come up with indicators and indexes for the realization of EcoMobility. Non-stop Car-free Village Residents of Haenggung-dong gathered at a roundtable after the project. As a result, they decided to implement regular “car-free days” voluntarily to develop their town. Based on the valuable experience of Haenggung-dong, car-free days need to be run continuously and expanded to other areas in Suwon. The Suwon model of car-free days, permeated with diversity, can be created if regional characteristics are added based on voluntary resident participation. For this, Suwon will promote car-free days with resident participation. Every car-free street run by a neighborhood can be a venue for the creation of new street culture using EcoMobility. Residents can share their talents, communicate with neighbors, and utilize it as a platform for self-governing activities. Butterfly Effect throughout the World Dozens of cities and institutions in Korea have visited Haenggung-dong for benchmarking EcoMobility. Prestigious schools including Seoul National University, University of Seoul, Ajou University and Kyung Hee University have used EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 as the subject of theses and lectures to study and evaluate the effects and value of this project. From abroad, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, the Traffic Policy Office of Thailand and the Social Innovation Tour Group of China have visited Suwon to learn the key to success for EcoMobility Suwon 2013. Johannesburg, South Africa, is a strong candidate to host the second EcoMobility World Festival slated for October 2015. Suwon is planning to join next year’s festival as a demonstration city.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
New Possibility via EcoMobility City Discovered We are confident that through active civic participation and cooperation, EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 offered important lessons to the world as well as Korea. EcoMobility means not simply improving traffic, but also cleaner air, a better environment, improved public health, boosted economic development, and above all, better quality of life for residents. EcoMobility Suwon 2013 had plenty of influence overseas. The event is a world conference on EcoMobility attended by NGOs, EcoMobility experts, international organizations, delegates from global cities and countries such as the U.S., Germany, Japan, Sweden, Spain, Mexico and Columbia. They discuss diverse methods for vitalizing EcoMobility to prevent climate change and global warming through sustainable traffic systems, as well as international trends and efforts for the realization of EcoMobility. Through EcoMobility Suwon 2013, they shared the recognition that the car-centered policy should be changed into one focused on an EcoMobility-style traffic system including walking, biking and taking public transportation. New Paradigm for Right to Mobility Change is expected in Suwon’s policy toward the mobility disabled. Securing the disabled's right to mobility and sustainable EcoMobility even with difficulties is the core of the city standard we aim to set. Achievement of ‘Governance’ Having planned the EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 and preparing for two years, we have seen the limitations and achievements of governance, which could be realized by cooperation of residents, civic and social groups and administrative organs rather than administratively led practice, and identified the potential for improvement on this experimental stage. Above all, this event provided an opportunity to think of the channel and method for inducing active self-governance by residents rather than unilateral governmental rule. Such experience in governance will help set the direction of administration in the future. Opportunity for Fundamental Insight into the Future and Life People in modern times would most likely feel inconvenience without cars. Yet most never contemplate much what lies beyond the inconveniences. When EcoMobility started, residents were not used to life without cars. Before long, however, the irritation in their faces made way for smiles. EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 asked a basic question to humans. This is not only because cars disappeared, but because people’s attitudes toward life have changed. The slow step of thinking deeply instead of running fast with no meaning, Walking together instead of competing alone! The reason we can talk about the future through EcoMobility World Festival Suwon 2013 is that we can ask more essential questions.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Suwon City
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Jeeyoung Kim
Title:   Manager  
Telephone/ Fax:   82-31-228-2242/3769
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   241 Hyowon-ro(Ingye-dong), Paldal-gu
Postal Code:   441-701
City:   Suwon
State/Province:   Gyeonggi-do

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