Feature Story

Cities of the Future: Songdo, South Korea – Lifestyle & Leisure

by Wendy Tanaka

Songdo International Business District brings together green space, accessibility and advanced technology to create an improved way of life for all its residents. Episode 4 in the series.


Songdo, South Korea, is fast becoming a model for cities around the world.

The new development, built from scratch, brings together green space, accessibility and advanced technology to create an improved way of life for all its residents.

Stan Gale, Chairman, Gale International: The reason people are attracted to Songdo International Business District, is (it is) adjacent to one third of the world's population, in terms of trade and business. But the reason they enjoy living here is because it's a walking city. We're a compact city; we're a green city.

Lee Jong-Cheol, Commissioner, Incheon Free Economic Zone: We have invested heavily in growing a significant number of trees. We have secured the maximum amount of space we can for parks. We're planning to develop a coastal paradise.

Scott Summers, Vice President, Gale International: Of the 1,500 acres, 40 percent of that is dedicated to open space. (And) you don't have to get in the car (to get around). We have 25 kilometers of bicycle lanes here in Songdo. It's faster to get on a bike

Ten percent of Songdo's land is dedicated to an enormous public park, both inspired by and named after, the world renowned Central Park in New York City.

Scott Summers: Central Park (is) a 100-acre, park with a seawater canal. (We also have) Canal Walk.  It's kind of modeled off of SoHo in New York. It's a four-story building.  The lower two levels is retail, and the upper two levels is residential. We've got a canal that flows through the middle.

Songdo also offers top attractions, like an 18 hole Jack Nicklaus championship golf course.  The site was designed by the golf pro himself.

Scott Summers: The Jack Nicklaus Golf Club (is) one of 25 signature courses in the world, and the only one in Asia. We held our first PGA champions tour, which is a senior tour, in 2010. And then just most recently held it for the second year. It's a gorgeous course.

Perhaps the greatest amenity of Songdo life is the advanced technology that will connect everyone to each other from anywhere through video.

Lee Jong-Cheol: What we are aiming for is an integrated information and communication system, where all business and individual life will become more comfortable.

Sixty-five thousand residents and 300,000 business commuters are expected to fill Songdo by 2016. By that time, similar cities will be under construction across the globe.