The United Nations has dedicated this year’s World Habitat Day to urban mobility, highlighting how tackling urban mobility will lead to benefits for cities from the economic, environmental and social perspectives. This year, the annual celebration falls one week after the close of the inaugural EcoMobility World Festival in Suwon, South Korea.
Jointly organized by ICLEI, UN-Habitat and host city Suwon, the Festival piloted an inner city neighborhood living without cars for a month drawing over 1,000,000 visits during September 2013.
World Habitat Day sets out to remind us of our responsibility to build more accessible cities and encourage a shift towards more sustainable modes of transportation. The Festival set out to provide an international example of a car-free neighborhood using 35 unique types of alternative vehicle. Local households and business owners in the 4,300 strong neighborhood were provided with car substitutes on their request such as velo-taxis, light-electric vehicles, bike trailers, reclining bicycles and three-people cycles. In addition, more unique vehicles were available to visitors for testing on various test tracks and at free rental stations throughout the Festival area.
The four day EcoMobility 2013 Suwon Congress opened the Festival drawing over 500 representatives from local governments, policy makers, businesses and mobility practitioners from over 40 countries to Suwon. The congress resulted in the adoption of the Suwon EcoMobility Impulse, a guiding document for cities in their future urban transport development.
The Suwon EcoMobility Impulse suggests that cities reprioritize the current and future transport developments to focus on people and their needs rather than on automobiles. Furthermore, the EcoMobility Impulse recommends:
- Creating a brighter and a more sustainable future for the coming
generations is also a target of the EcoMobility Impulse.
- Integrating various transport modes in a city to reduce dependence
on one mode and encourage modal choice
- Recognizing the needs for all transport users namely, children, women,
elderly and transport disabled
- Closer cooperation between the local, sub-national and national
governments in the area of EcoMobility planning and implementation in
- Encouraging the international community to implement EcoMobility
solutions, improve and innovate existing transport options
Together with UN-HABITAT this World Habitat Day, ICLEI would like toemphasize the need for our cities to move away from fossil fuel powered automobiles. ICLEI also highlights that human powered, active transport and cities created with people in mind are the cities for the future, and that future transport must keep the values of people as the crux for development.
City leaders willing to partner with ICLEI in creating people focused future cities through urban transport can download the EcoMobility Impulse document here and discuss with ICLEI their views on the principles expressed in this document.
ICLEI currently assists cities worldwide through its EcoMobility program. Cities can benefit from ICLEI through the following EcoMobility initiatives:
EcoMobility SHIFT: Cities can assess their current transport performance and integrate EcoMobility into their future transport plans. Cities can also have their performance audited and labeled.
EcoMobility Alliance: Cities in the EcoMobility Alliance are committed to change the transport in their cities. Alliance cities implement and promote EcoMobility and aim to lead other cities towards greater implementation of ecomobile initiatives.
EcoMobility Festival: Conducted for the first time in the world in Suwon, Korea. EcoMobility World Festival is a month long car-free event. EcoMobility World Festival is a testament to the commitment of city
leadership to create a city for people.