European Mobility Week 2021 launched in Uzbekistan
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) – Uzbekistan is participating in European Mobility Week 2021, the third time that the country has marked in the European Union’s global initiative to support sustainable mobility. A special art exhibition entitled “I Love My City: Artistic Visions of Sustainable Urban Mobility” opened at Tashkent’s Mirzo Ulugbek Central Park to launch European Mobility Week.
The exhibition features artwork specially created for European Mobility Week. Five acclaimed Uzbek artists and designers – Rushana Alimova, Lilia Ashrapova, Aisha Imamturaeva, Dilorom Mamedova, and Azukar Moreno—applied their “artistic visions” to bicycles, turning the bicycles into pieces of sculpture that communicate the ideas of safety, healthy, and caring for one’s own city.
The exhibition, which is open to the public until September 22, was curated by G’uncha Art Space, an artistic community, and includes a range of paintings by young Uzbek artists on similar themes.
The exhibition was organized by the Delegation of the European Union to Uzbekistan together with the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Tashkent Municipality, and Toshshahartransxizmat JSC, Tashkent’s public transportation operator. Support was also provided by two community groups, Tashkent Runners Club and the Bicycle Community of Uzbekistan.
At the opening of the exhibition, the Ambassador of the European Union to Uzbekistan, H.E. Charlotte Adriaen, noted:
“The choice of this year’s theme pays tribute to the hardships felt by Europe – and the world – throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It also reflects on the opportunities for change resulting from this crisis. Cities and urban administrations have established creative, resilient responses to the pandemic. This year, European Mobility Week celebrates the resilience of cities and their achievements. Trends that began last year, such as increased active mobility and the use of low- or zero-emission mobility, require further promotion. We are delighted that the creative community of Uzbekistan has made a huge contribution to celebrating European Mobility Week in 2021.”
Tashkent is making important strides towards sustainable mobility with plans to upgrade infrastructure to make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians to move around the city. The city is also upgrading the public transportation network to reduce emissions, including through the purchase of 900 electric buses. In a speech at the exhibition opening, Chairman of the Board of Toshshahartransxizmat JSC Anvar Juraev explained his organisation’s priorities:
“Sustainable urban mobility is one of the main priorities of our work. Through actions such as the European Mobility Week, supported by the European Union, we see that citizens want Uzbekistan’s cities to become more convenient. We work hard to meet their expectations by planning the future. We also encourage Tashkent residents to change their cars for bicycles, scooters, and other alternative means of transport for seven days during the upcoming Mobility Week.”
For Inessa Boltyanskaya and Natalia Akhmedova, founders of the G’uncha Art Space community and curators of the exhibition, European Mobility Week provided an opportunity to use art to remind Uzbeks about the connection between movement and feeling. They explained:
“In our childhood, the word 'street' had a sacred meaning for everyone. There was freedom in every sense of the word – we ran, jumped, rode scooters, rollerblades, bicycles. We were active, healthy, and happy. Having become adults and serious, we run on treadmills and have moved onto cars and motorbikes. Through this exhibition, our community wants to remind everyone how great it is to take a morning run in the park or around the house, to go for a bike ride with friends, to take a scooter ride to the nearest cinema. It’s good for your health, your mood, and the environment.”
Road safety is another important theme of European Mobility Week this year. LED screens in Tashkent, Samarkand, and Navoi will display a special awareness campaign encouraging drivers to follow road safety rules and abide by speed limits. In Tashkent, city planners are working to alter traffic flows at large intersections to increase the capacity for vehicles by 15 percent, while reducing downtime by 30 percent. Overall, these changes could reduce the environmental impact of road traffic by 35 percent.
Commenting on the message of European Mobility Week, Fakhriddin Davrukov, Deputy Mayor of Tashkent city, said:
“This is the third European Mobility Week in Uzbekistan. I would like to note that our country is the first of the Central Asian states to join this remarkable campaign. This initiative supports the national policy of Uzbekistan, which is promoted at the highest level. By taking simple steps – walking and cycling – we are not only making our city cleaner and safer, but also helping ourselves to breathe. And most importantly, this is how we show our love for the place where we and our loved ones live.”
Individuals are invited to get involved in European Mobility Week through the 7-day #Ilovemycity Facebook and Instagram challenge. Members of the public are encouraged to show their commitment to personal heath and a cleaner environment by going on a walk, a run, or commuting to work by bicycle or public transport. Participants in the challenge will then post a photo making a heart with their hands, adding the #Ilovemycity hashtag related to their city, such as #IloveNavoi.
Community groups have also planned actions for European Mobility Week. Tashkent Runners Club will gather for two days of “plogging”—jogging while also picking up litter along Tashkent’s waterways. They will meet on 16 September along the Ankhor River and on 21 September at River Park.