Director Elie Gamburg participated in a panel at this year’s NewCities Summit from June 7th to 9th, 2017. The summit took place in Incheon Songdo, South Korea, gathering diverse professionals to discuss the umbrella topic of “Thriving Cities: The Building Blocks of Urban Wellbeing.” NewCities, a nonprofit and think tank based in Montréal, Quebec, sponsored and organized the event.
The panel was the summit’s keynote conversation, addressing “The Story of Songdo” to a large audience. Representing KPF, Elie was joined by Wim Elfrink, President of WPE Ventures Digitized Solutions and Ashok Raiji, Principal at Arup. NewCities Senior Fellow Greg Lindsay acted as moderator. Here, NewCities elaborates on the conversation’s purpose:
“The key actors behind Songdo's development will come together to share their insights on building one of the world’s landmark greenfield cities. Songdo's design sets new standards in urban wellbeing and sustainability, both of which have been at the heart of the planning process since the onset.
Other panels addressed topics like healthy placemaking, the crowdsourced city, harnessing technology in health care, and the social infrastructure of the city.
Started in 2004, KPF’s design for New Songdo City is conceived as a pedestrian friendly city with walkable streets, 40% green space, and an urban density that promotes an active street life. More than 50% built, with 30,000 residents and 33,000 jobs created, the district is positioned to become a gateway to Northeast Asia and a model for future sustainable development of its size across the globe.
Elie, who has acted as a Senior Designer on the master plan, found his experience enriching, adding “I enjoyed returning back to the city that KPF spent so much time developing and that has now taken on a unique life of its own. It was an honor discussing our work in a convention center and mixed-use tower we designed, and seeing the final product in use made it all the more personal.”
The NewCities Foundation’s mission is to “make cities more inclusive, connected, healthy and vibrant […], focusing on people, places and policies [and bringing] together a global network of public and private sector leaders and Urban Tech innovators to foster results-oriented collaboration. Read more about the organization here.