Spain's Bilbao wins Singapore 'urban excellence' award

18th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Authorities in the Spanish city of Bilbao were awarded a new urban excellence prize by Singapore on Tuesday as the Asian city-state tries to position itself as an urban design powerhouse.

Named after Singapore's founding father, the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is a biennial award presented for the first time this year and comprises 300,000 Singapore dollars (200,000 US), a gold medallion and certificate.

Bilbao City Hall, which beat 77 other nominees, was praised for transforming the largest city in Spain's Basque Country from an "obsolete and dilapidated" industrial town into a vibrant metropolis.

The jury praised Bilbao's rejuvenated waterfront, enhanced metro system, new airport and galleries such as a striking branch of the Guggenheim museum.

"Bilbao City Hall has improved Bilbao's environment and quality of life significantly, strengthened its social cohesiveness and cultural vibrancy, as well as sharpened its economic competitiveness," the jury said.

Lee, 86, led Singapore's transformation from a third world colonial trading port into one of Asia's wealthiest cities in just over 30 years.

© 2010 AFP

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