Jun 17 2016

Typology: New towns

Songdo, South Korea

Songdo in South Korea is among the most successful new cities of recent years, with ingenious ‘smart’ features such as self-emptying rubbish bins, which evacuate via vacuum chutes to a central location. Like all new cities, its growth has been slow, but it has now reached over half the target population. Transport links between Songdo and the capital, 65km away, are not yet up to scratch, and this may have contributed to the difficulty in convincing businesses to relocate here. But it is liked by its inhabitants, who enjoy cycling through the green space that constitutes 40 per cent of the city, including the 4.2 million square foot Central Park. However, all that greenery cannot hide the fact that the smart city is essentially a ‘test bed’ (as Cisco describes Songdo) for hyper-surveillance – by which measure London is already the ‘smartest’ city in the world.