At the New Cities Summit 2016 in Montreal, the New Cities Foundation announced this month that it will take its 2017 conference to a site that’s redefining sustainable urban development: Songdo International Business District (Songdo IBD), located in Incheon, South Korea. The conference is taking its attendees, who are working to develop cities that drive economic, social and environmental progress, to this greenfield city to get insight into how it has quickly become touted as one of the smartest and most sustainable new cities in the world.
Songdo IBD is an all-in-one urban development, international business hub and free-trade zone, and is being built on 1,500 acres of reclaimed land along the Yellow Sea. Nearly 70 percent complete, Songdo IBD is already gaining notoriety for:
- Being home to more than 40,000 residents, on track for the 65,000 expected by the project’s 2020 completion.
- Boasting the largest concentration of LEED buildings in the world, with more than 22 million sf of LEED-certified space. It is expected to become one of the first urban areas to earn the new LEED-ND (Neighborhood Development) certification.
- A slew of new hotel openings, in preparation for the 2018 Winter Olympics and other international events.
- Becoming a center of sustainable finance and startup incubator. World Bank Korea and the Green Growth Institute have located here. Tech companies Cisco and SparkLabs have also made the city their hub of Internet of Things development and smart-city initiatives.
Designed with 40 percent open space to maximize a connection to nature within the city, Songdo IBD’s shining gem is the 101-acre Central Park. Plus, all blocks within the city connect pedestrians to open space, walking or biking corridors, and public areas.