Seoul clinches Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize honouring urban initiatives
A natural haven exists today at Cheonggyecheon after the removal of an elevated highway. (Photo: Seoul Metropolitan Government)
SINGAPORE: Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, has won the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize for its contributions to creating an “inclusive, creative and sustainable city with a high quality of life”, its organisers said on Friday (Mar 16). The biennial international award, jointly organised by Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), aims to honour cities that create liveable, vibrant and sustainable urban communities.According to the organisers, Seoul was chosen for its model strategies, including its “bold leadership with innovative solutions”, communication with citizens and stakeholders, its shift away from car-oriented transportation to people-centric spaces as well as its creative rejuvenation of heritage buildings.
Overview of Seoul, including Seoullo 7017 – a lushly planted elevated walkway with activities along the way. (Photo: Seoul Metropolitan Government)
“With a leadership that dares to take bold decisions and a government that devised innovative problem-solving methods, the city has successfully turned itself around from a highly bureaucratic top-down city with rising tensions between the government and its people, into the inclusive, socially stable and highly innovative city of today,” the jury citation stated.The nominating committee picked Seoul out of 28 other contenders, and the decision was approved by a six-member council.
The prize council included individuals such as Mr J Y Pillay, chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, Mr Flemming Borreskov, the president of the International Federation for Housing and Planning in Denmark, as well as Dr Qiu Baoxing, counsellor of the State Council in China.Four cities - Germany's Hamburg, Russia's Kazan, Indonesia's Surabaya and Japan's Tokyo - received special mention for their best practices in city management. Seoul will receive an award certificate, a gold medallion and a S$300,000 cash prize at the Lee Kuan Yew Prize Award Ceremony on Jul 9 during the World Cities Summit.