02 September 2013

Bold Songdo ~ BBC on Korea's Green Smart City

The BBC's Lucy Williamson reports in their Tomorrow's Cities series asking Just how smart is Songdo? the new city 40 km from Seoul...
"On the technological front, a brand new city offers the chance to build some futuristic hardware. Songdo has been designed with sensors to monitor temperature, energy use and traffic flow. These sensors can -- in theory -- alert you, personally, when your bus is due. Or let the local authority know about any problems. A lot of these innovations are designed with the environment in mind -- charging stations for electric cars, for example, or a water-recycling system that prevents clean drinking water being used to flush office toilets. The waste disposal system is also impressive -- or it would be if you could see it. Because there are no rubbish trucks trawling the streets or vast bins dotted around blocks of flats. Instead, all household waste is sucked directly from individual kitchens through a vast underground network of tunnels, to waste processing centres, where it's automatically sorted, deodorised and treated to be kinder to the environment."
I've been paying attention to the Songdo development for years now since hearing about it from the Gale International developers here in Boston. And it's exciting to see how many things they've gotten right, including the district waste scheme, close links with airport and some transit, and interwoven greenspace. But I fear they're missing some key dimensions of what make for vibrant innovation hubs, the subject of our MIT CityScience workshop this coming Fall 2013.

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