Some four years ago Seoul declared itself a “Sharing City”. The result: financial savings, more jobs, lower CO2 emissions – and international awards.
Sharing goods and services has been a growing global trend in recent years. The basic idea is that by sharing items such as cars, more people gain access and at the same time consumption of natural resources is reduced.
One of the frontrunners in this movement is Seoul. The South Korean capital declared itself a “Sharing City” in 2012, and since then, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has designated various organizations and businesses as “sharing”, providing 37 of them with administrative and financial support.
Sharing has proved popular. By the end of 2015 car-sharing companies had about 400,000 members, and some 850,000 car shares had taken place. Modu-Parking had shared 2,000 parking spots in seven districts in its parking-lot-sharing scheme, and Kiple, a company that shares children’s clothes, had shared about 8 million items of clothing.
As a result, Seoul has received international recognition, including the Metropolis Award, and more than 100 cities from all over the world have sent delegations to South Korea to learn about Seoul’s sharing policy. SMG estimates that Seoul residents have saved 12 billion won (9.7 million euros) annually, that 1,280 jobs have been created and that CO2 emissions have been reduced by 30,000 tonnes.
A driving force in these efforts is Park Won-Soon, who has been mayor of Seoul since 2011. With his background as a human rights activist, Park has also integrated social issues into the project. For these efforts, Park was honoured with the 2016 Gothenburg Award, an international prize that recognizes and supports work towards sustainable development.
“Under the leadership of Park Won-Soon, Seoul has taken a global lead in developing the ‘sharing city’,” the award jury said in a statement. “The city has also raised public awareness and supported companies and initiatives in the sharing of information and assets.”
The SKF Group is one of the partners supporting the Gothenburg Award.