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Suwon, Korea Named Intelligent Community of the Year
Second Korean Community in three years receives ICF’s Top Honor in New York during NYU/Polytechnic Event
New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham named Visionary of the Year; Educational initiatives of China’s Tianjin Binhai New Area; America’s Pew Internet & American Life Project; and Besancon’s “Digital Schoolbag” initiative presented with annual Founders Awards during Luncheon Ceremony
(New York City, 21 May 2010) – The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) named Suwon, South Korea, the nation’s second largest city, as the Intelligent Community of the Year for 2010 at an awards ceremony this afternoon at Steiner Film Studios in Brooklyn, New York. Suwon, which made ICF’s list of the Top Seven finalists for the first time, was represented by a delegation led by Heung Soo Park, the Director of Suwon’s International Trade Division, who represented the city’s leadership. ICF Co-Founder Louis Zacharilla presented the award to Suwon, which succeeded Stockholm, Sweden, the 2009 recipient. Representatives from Stockholm were also on hand to see the succession, as were officials from former recipients from around the world, including Gangnam, the high-tech district in Seoul, which received the honor in 2008, Glasgow (2004), Waterloo, Canada (2007) and Taipei (2006).
Also honored were the recipients of ICF’s Visionary of the Year Award and ICF’s three Founders Awards. The awards are presented by the independent think tank as part of its annual summit, Building the Broadband Economy, produced in association with the Institute for Technology & Enterprise at New York University’s Polytechnic Institute. The goal of the awards is to increase awareness of the role that broadband communications and information technologies play in shaping the economic and social development of communities worldwide. Mayors, city managers, CIOs and executives of leading technology companies from around the world are part of the Intelligent Community movement and were on hand throughout the three day, invitation-only Summit and awards program.
Intelligent Community of the Year 2010: Suwon, Korea
Suwon, which is not well known outside of Asia, has created an economy whose growth is based on small-to-midsize enterprises specializing in IT, biotech and nanotechnology. The government has not been shy about backing that goal with public investment. Today, two-thirds of Suwon companies specialize in one of its targeted industries and companies with 50 or fewer employees make up 94% of all employers in the city.
Suwon’s efforts to develop a 21st Century information infrastructure and quality of life have been no less bold. In 2005, city government established the Ubiquitous Suwon Master Plan, branded as U-Happy. The goal was to make Suwon’s government more transparent, more responsive to citizens and more cost-effective. The city decided to develop its own governmental network despite South Korea’s impressive broadband infrastructure, currently ranked number one in the world. It was able to trim operating costs by eliminating leased lines, and the use of conduit already installed for the transportation management system kept construction costs low. Control of its own network allowed Suwon to boost connection speeds from 32 Mbps to a blazing 1 Gbps.
In naming Suwon its Intelligent Community of the Year, ICF focused less on technology than on Suwon’s development of the “human software” within this highly-educated community.
“Investment in education,” said Suwon’s mayor Yong Seo Kim, “is one of the most sound and rational outlays of capital that a government can ever make.” Between 2002 and 2009, the city backed his words by investing more than USD$360m in upgrading school facilities, opening new schools and expanding staff. A further $186m is funding the 2010 Suwon Education Development Support Plan, which includes 74 individual projects focusing on education for a global economy and workforce. In addition, as the city replaces computers in its offices, the old units are refurbished and distributed to children’s centers, libraries and social welfare facilities. Suwon is also a leader in providing education in multiple languages to equip students for work in a global economy.
More information is available on the Intelligent Community Profiles pages of the ICF Web site.
ICF Co-Founder Louis Zacharilla congratulated the new Intelligent Community of the Year, saying, “We had a very strong group of seven this year, and while this could have been a seven-way tie, Suwon demonstrated to our jurists and proved in the quantitative review what can be achieved when government sets its sights and commits itself to resources that ensure that technology enhances economic and social development.” He added, “The levels of educational investment in Suwon, which is not a large city, sends a signal that, as we emerge from the global economic crisis, it is the investment made in people that produce the truly impressive financial return. Suwon, which is named ‘Happy Suwon’ by its citizens, offers many best practices that we are proud to share with the world today.”
ICF also recognized the previously announced recipients of the Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year award and the Founders Awards during the awards ceremony:
Shawn Graham, Premier of New Brunswick, Canada: ICF honored Premier Graham as its Visionary of the Year for his dedication to making New Brunswick the first complete broadband province in Canada and transforming its educational system to prepare students for success in a knowledge-based economy. During his term in office, two of New Brunswick’s communities – Fredericton and Moncton – were named Top Seven Intelligent Communities.
Digital Schoolbag, Besançon, France: ICF honored Besançon for its “Digital Schoolbag” project, which provides all 3rd grade students with a multimedia computer package and includes workshops for the parents in order to enable them to participate in their children’s learning at school.
Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project: ICF honored the Pew Research Center’s project for conducting pioneering original research that explores the impact of the Internet on American children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care, and civic/political life.
Tianjin Binhai New Area, China: ICF honored Tianjin Binhai New Area for creating what may be the world’s most comprehensive effort to equip vast numbers of students with skills to compete in the broadband economy and integrate graduates into employment or entrepreneurship in the local economy.
The Intelligent Community Forum is a New York-based think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community and helps their leaders create inclusive, sustainable prosperity using the fundamental infrastructure of information and communications technology. Whether in industrial or developing nations, communities are challenged to create prosperity, stability and cultural meaning in a world where jobs, investment and progress increasingly depend on broadband communications and access technologies. The Intelligent Community Forum shares best practices and offers research and insights into the success of the world’s Intelligent Communities. ICF develops criteria, conducts research, hosts events, publishes reports and newsletters and produces an international awards program. In May 2010, ICF will announce the establishment of the Intelligent Communities Association, a non-profit trade association and working group for the world’s nearly 90 Intelligent Communities. ICF has partnered with the Polytechnic Institute of New York University since 2005. The Intelligent Community Forum was founded by Robert A. Bell, John G. Jung and Louis A. Zacharilla. In 2009 ICF published Future Cities and in 2008 authored Broadband Economies.
For more information, contact:
Orly Konig Lopez
240-425-3283 (mobile) or +1 917-715-0711