In September 2013, the Haenggung-dong neighborhood in Suwon City, South Korea tried a bold experiment: have the locals go car-free for 30 days as part of the EcoMobility World Festival. Looking back on the event a year later, Sustainable Cities Collective reports, residents are still feeling the impact of those 30 different days.

Media reports right after the car-free month ended were positive but this is one of those times when local changes are the most important. There is no EcoMobility World Festival in Suwon this year, but there was a single car-free day recently and residents are being encouraged to find private car alternatives all month long this month. Finding another way to get around is easier since everyone in town has experience. SCC quotes one local resident saying, "If the Festival had not happened, we would still be living with a mindset that cars are the only way of adapting to an urban lifestyle. The Festival offered us an attractive, feasible, more sustainable alternative, and for that we are forever grateful." The city has also discussed car-free weekends, adding more bike lanes and improving the local public transportation network.

Suwon City is not the only place where people are trying out or thinking about a car-free lifestyle. For other examples, visit Bogota, Hamburg or New York City. And you can try it yourself when World Carfree Day comes around later this month. Watch a video on the South Korean experiment below.

Showing the future today - 11 min from The Urban Idea GmbH on Vimeo.


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