The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) named Suwon, South Korea, the nation’ s second largest city, as the Intelligent Community of the Year for 2010. ICF focused less on technology than on Suwon’ s development of the “human software’ within this highly-educated 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 government sets its sights and commits itself to resources that ensure that technology enhances economic and social development.’ said Louis Zacharilla, ICF Co-founder. 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.’
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.
- ICF: Suwon, Korea Named Intelligent Community of the Year 2010
- Suwon profile page on the ICF Web site
- Video of the awards presentation