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With less than a month remaining until the deadline for applications for the Seoul Smart City Prize, the city government is continuing to promote the international award, which acknowledges the self-improvement and innovation of human-centered candidate cities.

According to the Digital Policy Bureau under the Seoul Metropolitan Government on Tuesday, applications for the award will continue until the end of this month. The authority started registering candidates in March. The assessment of candidates and the selection of winners is due by the end of July. The invitation, celebration and presentation of winners will take place at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in downtown Seoul in September.

The award plans to acknowledge six winners from the "Project" category, two from "Leadership" and three from the "Special" category.

In the country's first international smart city award, the city government, together with the co-organizer WeGO, is looking for local government, business entities or organizations that have improved the quality of living for its constituting members in the most innovative ways using digital technology.

WeGO, a Seoul-based smart city-promoting agency, under the Seoul Metropolitan Government, told The Korea Times that the award is not about competition among candidates and crowning victors with the highest points. But rather, it is about recognizing a candidate's self-improvement to the point members of the candidature city or entity thrive with a higher quality of living than before.

"We cannot put together one city from a developing country and another from a super-advanced country and compare them under a singular set of standards because that would be just unfair," said Elena Cho, head of the Program Department under WeGO. "So we wanted to look at each and every candidate closely and examine how rigorously and innovatively they overcame their own thresholds."

The award looks for how inclusive ― or human-centered ― each candidate's policies are through the use of digital technology and other ICT breakthroughs. One of the smart city campaigns promoted by the Seoul city government is benefiting as many community and organization members as possible under one roof, instead of a few gifted groups. In partnership with the winners, the award thus aims to provide models for the digitally vulnerable around the world and help them better cater to their people.

To guarantee the quality and fairness of the award, the city government said they have formed an organizing committee with different experts and staff members from international organizations.

After first announcing the prize in September 2022, the Seoul city government has come out as a facilitator for the smart city award rather than a flamboyant and experienced contender against other international cities in the field.

Last February the authority sent letters about the award to over 300 mayoral offices across the world in English, Russian, Kazakh, Japanese and Chinese. The city authority also started globally promoting its daily smart city practices, like real-time public transit waiting-time tracking systems, an alarm system sent from a personal banking system to a personal smartphone, and AI-based home appliances that can be remotely controlled.

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said the award exists to resolve exclusion issues caused by digital polarization. "We hope the world can go together with us to create people-centered inclusive smart cities where digital technologies connect each other," he said.


Autor(en)/Author(s): Ko Dong-hwan

Quelle/Source: The Korea Times, 10.05.2023

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