Urban planners around the globe are directing their attention to deserts, derelict brownfield sites, and drainable swampland with the view to build new cities, from the ground up. With a blank canvas to play around with, these cities have the luxury of being conceptualized in new, more sustainable and technologically rich ways.
Consider Songdo in South Korea, a ‘new’ city on the outside of Seoul. A quality of life is the number one priority for its developers meaning it’s being “designed around the people who live there”.
As a spokesperson for the burgeoning city explained: “To be competitive, both new and existing cities have to provide clean air as well as reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible energy. We believe that people come first and today’s urban residents have said they are happiest with a sustainable, green lifestyle.”
Songdo takes its green credentials extremely seriously – as well as 25 km of bike paths and walkways, charging stations have been built for electric vehicles throughout the city; garbage is disposed of using a pneumatic waste disposal system; and solar energy is utilised for air-conditioning. These are just a few of its characteristics that allow it to confidently call itself a smart city.