Feature Story

Cities of the Future: Songdo, South Korea – Roadmap for a New Community

by Wendy Tanaka

Building Songdo required more than just big ideas. Developers needed to find the right technology company to make the city a reality. Episode 9 – the final episode - in the series.

Full Transcript

A decade ago this was a barren mudflat.  Today, it is Songdo - a city built entirely from scratch in South Korea.

Located just three hours from China, Songdo's developers describe it as a new, international business hub in northeast Asia.  It is also one of the most eco-friendly and technologically advanced cities in the world. 

Getting Songdo off the ground required more than just big ideas. Developers needed to find the right technology company to make songdo a reality.

Stan Gale, Chairman & CEO: Gale international: In 2001, at the time that gale international was first contacted to be a partner in building this new city, we had to plan out and think out who were the critical players to be on the team.

Scott Summers, Vice President, Design & Construction Gale International: We had a blank canvas to work from and there was a lot at stake, because there hasn't been a city like songdo, where we've built something from scratch. Cisco’s involvement in the early phases of the project is critical.

Jean-Louis Massaut, Director, Smart+Connected Communities, Cisco: We map what user experience do you want to have for the people who are working in the city or people who are living in the city? And we do master planning. We decide on what technology needs to be deployed in the city. And then we build it.


Today, Cisco’s it network enables telepresence to connect every home, office and school through video. It also helps regulate electricity and water use in all the city's buildings, curbing waste and cutting operating costs. The system even gives residents the power to control their own energy use.

Casper Herzberg, Managing Director, Smart+Connected Communities Advisory Practice, Cisco: The underlying technology infrastructure that links all of these buildings together allows some dramatic benefits of 30% energy reduction.

Cisco’s involvement didn’t end once the technology was deployed.

John Baekelmans, Chief Technology Officer, Smart+Connected Communities,Cisco: Once you’ve installed all the technology you want to roll out a managed services company, in this case u life solutions in songdo to ensure all of the technology components keep on running on a 24 by 24 basis.

Stan Gale: The importance of having cisco in songdo as a partner is really a game-changer. We have the finest hardware but we also have the extended lifestyle experience and that is invaluable.

Sondgo's developers view their city as a model for future cities everywhere.  Around the world, cisco is already building dozens of smart connected communities that foster economic, social and environmental sustainability.