Daegu City, the hottest city in South Korea partly driven by the urban heat island effects is poised to be a ‘sustainable, eco-cultural city‘. As part of the this sustainability initiative, the Daegu Council would like to enhance the ecological value and reduce urban heat island effect by reducing management costs, inspiring eco-awareness and promoting the community spirit in the realization of Daegu Sustainability City.
With this the aforementioned efforts, Daegu had received a silver prize for the first time in 2006 at the International Environment Award Ceremony, which had become a stepping stone for the movement.
Oh Yong-Seok, the Secretary General of Daegu Council for Sustainable Development, expresses his insights exclusively with AsiaGreenBuildings on how the Council engages with the citizens at large in making Daegu Sustainable City happen, along with its main issues, and how the green building plays a role in this initiative.
What are the main issues you’ve encountered in pursuing sustainability in Daegu?
The main crisis of Daegu is climate change, so we encourage citizens to save energy. In order to achieve this, we created an energy campaign that promotes the use of energy-efficient practices through marketable strategies. By spreading awareness of using renewable energy, we operate citizen’s sun power plant and this in turn may encourage citizens to participate in our sun power plant factory to make renewable energy. We also encourage the citizens to ride bicycles instead of riding cars in hopes to make Daegu an eco-friendly city. In conjunction with this, we carry out bicycle mileage campaigns with citizens.
How do you engage the citizens of Daegu in making this ‘sustainable city’ happen?
We hold bicycle campaigns every year by securing the public roads solely for bicycle users. Every year, we witness thousands of people participating in this event to support a healthy and fit lifestyle. We promote this campaign extensively to bicycle clubs and stores that are related to bicycle organizations.
And as mentioned, we also do mileage campaign by giving speedometers to participants to measure their distance with bicycles. After the campaign is over, the participants are able to check their bicycles’ mileage on our homepage. Our website homepage shows how much greenhouse gas is emitted through the use of their bicycle and compare it to if, for instance, they were to ride a car. This shows just how much greenhouse gases they help reduce without using carbon-emitting vehicles.
For energy campaigns, we cooperate with Daegu’s government bodies. We promote the campaign in apartments and residential areas to increase the likelihood of people’s interest. The people who are willing to participate in the campaign would then contact us, and our consulting expert would afterwards arrive at their location and tell them how to save energy effectively.
For citizen’s sun power plant campaign, we also promote to citizens in various ways. We raise funds for building a photovoltaics (PV) plant and we give back to citizens with profits from the PV plant.
To what extent does green building help the realization of Daegu Sustainable City?
Daegu is one of the hottest cities in Korea, so it is important to cope with the heat wave. To mitigate this issue, we have enforced many policies. Beyond that, green buildings are the most important policy we have facilitated. To make buildings green, the temperature of buildings should be reduced so we can save energy as well as to prevent greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere. We are now expanding this green building policy and the Daegu government also supports this policy very well.
How do you envision the future of Daegu Sustainable City?
Given the hot weather in Daegu, we compensate with solar power and Daegu is now trying to be an energy self-reliance city. This is not led by government; it is led by citizens and non-governmental organizations. Daegu’s citizens make substantial effort in making Daegu progress to become an energy self-reliance city. In the past, we had received very positive feedback and suggestions from citizens for greening this city and making it more sustainable. We hope that in the near future more people can participate in our go-green campaigns and we continuously try to think of ways to increase participation for these events.
This exclusive interview is facilitated under a Media Partnership with the Green Energy Expo 2016 as part of the 2016 International Sustainable Development Forum Daegu.
About Korean Council for Sustainable Development
Daegu Council for Sustainable Development is a part of Local Sustainability Alliance of Korea (LSAK) – a network organization carrying out initiatives to comply with the “Agenda 21” (voluntary action plan of the United Nations on sustainable development) at a local level. The activities may include exchange of information, mutual cooperation, education, and training.
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