Daegu Competes in the ‘2021 Global Mayors Challenge’

January 17 09:33 2022

Global Cities Compete to Scale Their Most Innovative Urban Solutions

Since its launch in 2013, the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge has empowered global city leaders to tackle their most pressing concerns. In 2020 alone, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.6 billion across 810 cities and 170 countries around the world to ensure better, more prosperous lives for their citizens.

The Global Mayors Challenge began with 300 cities in the United States and has since expanded to Europe and Latin America, but 2021 was the first year in which it invited cities from Asia and Africa as well. In total, 631 cities from 99 countries around the world submitted their ideas under the theme: “innovative urban solutions to emerge in the wake of COVID-19.”

Daegu, the First Champion City from South Korea

Daegu Metropolitan City is a central city in the southeastern region of South Korea and has a population of 2.4 million and an area of 883.5 sq. kms. It is a well-known metropolitan city with a beautiful environment and cultural and historical significance.

In 2020, Daegu made headlines in international news as the first major city in South Korea to experience the rapid, intense spread of COVID-19. Fortunately, that spring, the City was able to successfully contain the virus and prevent a nation-wide emergency. This was possible thanks to ingenious quarantine policies such as drive-thru screening clinics and active participation by citizens. Eventually, Daegu succeeded in reducing the number of daily confirmed cases, from a maximum of about 740 per day, to 0 in 52 days. This was widely publicized through leading media such as The Wall Street Journal, Der Spiegel, and the BBC.

For the Mayors Challenge, the city of Daegu came up with an innovative model to overcome the social and economic impacts of the pandemic. In order to rejuvenate the city’s public life after prolonged social distancing, the City proposed a real-time permissions system to facilitate the use of public spaces. Daegu has been chosen as one of 50 Champion Cities along with world-class cities such as Paris, London, Bilbao, and Rotterdam, to progress to the final stage of the competition.

Re-Permissioning the City

Daegu Metropolitan City proposed a project titled, “Re-permissioning the City.” The project aims to create a smart system that is designed to involve citizens in permissioning the use of under-utilized urban spaces for citizens. In the context of increasing commercialization and proliferation of single-purpose spaces, the City hopes to open up physical sites as civic, spatial commons, allowing flexible and hybrid uses of space for work, trade and cultural and social activities. The solution hopes to experiment with alternative models of urban utility, as more and more buildings and factories have become vacant in the past few years, and the pandemic has intensified this trend.

Through the permissions platform, citizens will be able to look up information about various available spaces and apply to use those spaces that suit their needs. Permits will be granted real-time, through an easy-to-access digital application. In addition, IoT sensors installed in each space will monitor and transmit environmental data such as noise levels, crowd count and footfall, so that spaces can be more self-regulated and maintained efficiently.

A Platform For Citizens

The city government has various indoor and outdoor public spaces, and spaces owned by local, district offices can be used as well. From 2022, the City will prioritize the acquisition of under-utilized spaces to renovate and re-purpose them for public use, so that spaces made available through the platform will increase gradually.

Collaboration With Placemakers From Around the World

In 2022, the final 15 winning cities will receive $1 million and technical assistance from Bloomberg Philanthropies to implement their ideas in the following 3 years.

During the Champion City phase, where the 50 finalists received support from Bloomberg to develop their ideas further, Daegu had the opportunity to engage with various researchers and placemakers from other global cities, such as London and Montreal, who showed keen interest in the idea.

The results of the competition have yet to be announced. However, this project, which systematically investigates the utility of urban civic spaces and proposes new ways to permission public spaces through more decentralized, automated, and more democratic processes, is expected to have great significance regardless of the outcome of the challenge.

Media Contact
Company Name: Daegu Metropolitan City
Contact Person: Media Relations
Email: Send Email
Phone: +82-53-803-0114
Country: Korea
Website: https://www.daegu.go.kr/english/index.do