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(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. www.icfsummit.com
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: http://www.intelligentcommunity.org/index.php?src=news&refno=304&category=Community
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