Changwon has won the Presidential Prize at the fifth Green City Awards. The ceremony is sponsored by the Ministry of Environment and organized by the Korea Environmental Policy and Administration Society.
Twenty-two local governments submitted entries to the organizing committee. Following two rounds of screening, five applicants, including Changwon, were chosen to share the award.
Changwon won the highest distinction for its project to become a special city for bicycles, implementing a public bicycle policy aimed at helping resolve urban transportation and environmental problems.
The “Ride a Bicycle” campaign started at the initiative of Changwon Mayor Park Wan-su and other city officials and gradually adopted by the citizens. The city built new infrastructure, including paths exclusively for bicycles and encouraged people to cycle with a variety of incentives. The establishment of the Bicycle Culture Center encouraged people to insure themselves against possible accidents and an ordinance to help spread the use of bicycles was enacted.
The centerpiece of the Ride a Bicycle project is the free “Nubija” public bike system. As Nubija bicycles are installed with a GPS (global positioning system), people can rent and return them at any time and any place that stations are set up.
Work is underway to link Nubija bicycles with smartphones. The city is seeking to export the Nubija technology to foreign countries.
Changwon is the first city in South Gyeongsang Province to receive the coveted Presidential Prize.