If you are looking for the perfect house to buy, why not go for the smartest? On an artificial island west of Seoul, in South Korea, is one of the largest private real estate developments in the world: Songdo. Debuting in 2000, this several billion pound project seeks to build an entire new city from scratch, and not any city, but the smartest one in the world…

First – Songdo promises to be a tech city like no other. Cutting edge technology will be embedded in every corner of Songdo’s 1500 acres. The entire city will be cabled with fiber optic broadband so that its inhabitants can stay connected at all times. Computers will be built within every home. TelePresence screens will be installed in every house, office, hospital and shopping center so that video calls can be made at any time and any place.

Second – a landmark for green urban living. The city will be designed to absorb storm water and sunshine, rechanneling them to be used for and within the city. Electrical charging stations and bicycle lanes will be pervasive. Rubbish will be sucked through a pneumatic collection system of waste removal. Home energy systems will be monitored so that power demand can be dealt with more efficiently.

Third – the Internet of Things at its best. Sensors will be implanted in the city’s streets and buildings to keep track of virtually everything in it: the weather, traffic, road conditions and what not. Continuous data will be sent to a central hub by these sensors so that Songdo can respond instantly to any problem and run at maximum efficiency.

To give just a few examples, whenever jammed traffic occurs; sensors will send data to the central hub, which in turn will adjust traffic lights to calm congestion. If a street is left unfrequented at night, sensors will send data and lamp lights will be turned off automatically. If a bus is coming sooner than expected, sensors will send data to alert residents so that they can catch it.

Time will not be wasted, energy will be saved, air will be clean and problems will be avoided, or quickly fixed. Songdo is planned to be completed in 2015 and will have 80,000 apartments. Like a mind, constantly fed with data stream, Songdo will be a city that thinks… Now, only time is left for us to find out how successful this project will be.

Songdo is not alone in the rise of smart, tech-oriented cities. Stay tuned to find out more about Masdar city, another, similar smart city currently being developed in the United Arab Emirates as we travel to Abu Dhabi to learn more about this equally fascinating new piece of urban landscape.


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