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  • Mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon Tours Central and South America for Urban Restoration and Transportation Innovation

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    Mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon Receiving the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize at the Award Ceremony Held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Singapore, in July

    Mayor Park Won-soon will tour Central and South America from the 8th to 17th (for 10 days and seven nights). It has been seven years since he officially visited a region in Central or South America. Last time, he visited Brazil and Argentina in 2012.

    He will visit three cities, including Mexico City, the capital of Mexico and the largest trade partner of the Republic of Korea in Central and South America, Medellin, the innovative small but thriving city in Colombia and also the country’s capital city Bogota. The keywords for his tour of Central and South America this time are the “urban restoration” and “transportation.” Mayor Park plans to mutually exchange innovative policies and policy case studies related to urban restoration and transportation innovation by visiting exemplary sites where local problems are being solved, and by sharing about cases from the city of Seoul as well.

    First, Mayor Park Won-soon will visit Santo Domingo in Medellin, Colombia, an area that has evolved from a poor village on a hillside that was a hotbed of crime into an icon of urban restoration thanks to the establishment of the cable car for public transportation for the first time in the world. Medellin won the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize—the so-called Nobel Prize in the field of the city administration—in 2016, in recognition of the urban restoration of the Santo Domingo area. Seoul won the prize right after Medellin (in 2018).
    Mayor Park will also inspect the escalators used as public transportation in the mountainous regions of Medellin that have helped improve convenience and security in the hilly slums, and he will see the TransMiCable in Bogota where he can examine the free-of-charge transfer system between the cable car and intra-city buses. After that, he will visit Ciclovia in Bogota, Colombia, an area well known as the world’s largest car-free street and a pedestrian-friendly space which is globally unique. This will help him in his search for ways to make Seoul more people-oriented and pedestrian-friendly, which is a policy which has been accelerated since his inauguration.

    Bosque de Chapultepec in Mexico City, the second-largest urban park in South America, will be the place where Mayor Park will find out whether there are any innovative ideas that can be applied to revitalize urban parks that are being pursued by the city of Seoul. He will also visit PILARES, a social innovation center in Mexico City, which invests in the younger generation so that they may pave a path forward into the future for other young people who are underprivileged.

    During his tour of Central and South America, Mayor Park Won-soon will enthusiastically share the excellent policies of Seoul, including Seoul’s unique type of urban restoration.
    Invited by the Mexico City Architects Association, Mayor Park will attend the “Seoul-Mexico City Sustainable City Forum” to pass on Seoul’s unique kind of urban restoration. At the WCS Mayors Forum 2019, which will be hosted centered on the recipients of Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, he will introduce what kind of breakthroughs Seoul has accomplished using its ICT, which is the most advanced in the world, including the night bus system and the citizen’s digital mayor’s office.

    In addition, during the tour, Mayor Park Won-soon will serve as the catalyst for solidifying a collaborative relationship with countries in South and Central America that will be of useful for citizens’ lives by overcoming limitations of physical distance. An MOU will be created between Seoul and Mexico City to strengthen their ties as there is a philosophical consensus between Claudia Sheinbaum, the Mayor of Mexico City who was inaugurated at the end of last year, and Park Won-Soon, the Mayor of Seoul, and a MOU will be signed between Medellin and Seoul to initiate a collaborative and friendly relationship as well.

    In Medellin, Colombia, Mayor Park will participate in a meeting with the steering committee of the Global Social Economy Forum, an international organization in the field of social economy of which the city of Seoul is serving consecutive terms as the chair city. In Bogota, he will visit the Korean War monument to pay respects and lay flowers. Colombia is the only country in Central or South America that sent soldiers to Korea during the Korean War.

    Mayor Park will have meetings with Lawrence Wong, the chairperson of the WCS Mayors Forum and the Minister for National Development of Singapore; Enrique Penalosa, the mayor of Bogota; and Anies Baswedan, the governor of Jakarta to expand the diplomatic network between cities.

    Mayor Park said that “This tour is expected to diversify diplomacy by visiting these nucleus cities in Central and South America that have been a blind spot for urban diplomacy due to the physical distance, and this will become a catalyst for sharing policies that have actual impacts on the lives of urban residents, including policies for urban restoration and transportation” and “the cities in Central and South America have abundant natural resources, being one of the regions that has immense potential for development.

    The tour will help Seoul expand the scale of its urban diplomacy to include Central and South America and search for ways to interact and collaborate with companies that have entered into foreign markets and support the advance of Korean companies into new markets. I hope the tour will be an opportunity to pursue the goals of creating sustainable and livable cities, a goal shared by cities all across the world.”

    < Source: Newsis >