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Bloomberg Checks in on Songdo, the KPF-Designed Smart City

The video includes interviews with KPF President James von Klemperer alongside academics, urban planners, and Songdo residents, looking back on the success of the South Korean city that was planned from scratch to incorporate smart technology and support a sustainable urban lifestyle.

Part of Bloomberg’s “Quick Take” series, the piece chronicles the past two decades of development on the site, which was “built from scratch.” von Klemperer explains, “The master plan starts with a blank page. There’s not a line for a road, there’s no dot for a subway stop. It was landfill.”

Now home to 167,346 residents, the interviewees recognize that the city can and will keep evolving to improve against its goals as a pedestrian-focused, sustainable, smart model for other international cities. “As the urban population grows, so does our need for new cities, and there are hopes that Songdo could be a blueprint for other developments around the world,” notes Bloomberg. Urban Planner and Songdo resident Alberto Gonzalez adds, “I think Songdo is a successful story. It’s definitely something that is going to be a work in progress, and the typical question is: ‘Can we replicate this?’”

Positioned as the gateway to Northeast Asia, the 1,500-acre Songdo International Business District (IBD) is a model for future, sustainable city-scale developments, not only in Asia but across the globe. The Songdo IBD includes a diverse array of programmatic elements and is conceived as a pedestrian friendly city, with walkable streets, 40 percent green space, and an urban density that promotes an active street life. The residential neighborhoods have large green areas, with all parking below grade. A 100-acre recreational park is woven into the center of the city’s rich urban fabric, while a network of sea canals is powered by wind turbines and refreshed every 24 hours.

“We don’t make a city without any kind of templates, without precedents that inform us about urban life. As they say, we stand on the shoulders of others, and rather than trying to start with some new theory about human interaction, building density, form, and urban patterns, we borrowed pieces of solutions from other cities,” says von Klemperer of the design process that is now informing future cities around the world.

Watch the full video from Bloomberg here.