Imagine that all the cars in your neighborhood were simply taken away and replaced with green alternatives. Living without fossil-fueled motor vehicles might seem beyond the realm of possibility, but the city of Suwon in South Korea is taking on the challenge this September. The densely populated neighborhood of Haenggung-dong has been designated as a car-free zone for the month of September, and citizens have been given a variety of human-powered and electric vehicles as part of the EcoMobility World Festival.
Inhabitants of Suwon are taking up a safe, low-carbon lifestyle in order to showcase the city’s new people-oriented green transport system. Mayor Yeom Tae-young said: “With this Festival, we strive to deliver the message that an ecomobile city is possible. We aim to lead and inspire other cities around the world to follow suit.”
Residents and visitors are currently testing a variety of human powered and electric vehicles from nearly 40 manufacturers – including prototypes such as the Minimove Kicktrike, foldable electric Yikebikes and even a customized ambulance bike from Gobax. Events such as races, street markets and an environmental film festival have created a interactive and inclusive celebration of alternative transportion. So far over 310,000 visitors have come to Suwon to take part, test out futuristic vehicles, listen in on presentations, and experience a car-free city in action.
Located 30 km from Seoul, Suwon was Korea’s first planned city. It’s hoped that the month of festivities coordinated by ICLEI and UNHabitat could pave the way for long-lasting changes in how urban spaces are used, starting a shift towards a fossil fuel-free future. Inhabitat also recently reported that Scotland will ban petrol and diesel cars from city centres by 2050. Which world city will be the quickest to take up the challenge?
Images © ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability