Cities of the Future: Songdo, South Korea – Transportation

Songdo International Business District is a compact and accessible city designed so efficiently, planners around the globe are taking note. Episode 5 in the series.


Songdo, a new city, is being built from the ground up in South Korea.  By the year 2016, more than 365,000 people will live and commute here. 

A major challenge to Songdo's success is how will all those people get around?  The answer: a compact and accessible city designed so efficiently, planners across the globe are taking note. 

Scott Summers, Vice President, Gale International: This is an international city that is to attract people from overseas, as well as attract Koreans from other cities.

Lee Jong-Cheol: Nearly two billion people are living three hours away by plane. We're directly facing China. This is a great place for people to live and work.

Stan Gale, Chairman, Gale International: Where in the world can you get on a plane that's 18 minutes from your doorstep and be in Shanghai in an hour and a half, have lunch, home in the evening?

We're a walking city, we're a compact city. We find if that if people need to walk more than 10-15 minutes they will tend to get in their car, so from Central park all of our venues are within 15-minute walks.

Peter Lee, Sustainable Design Specialist, Cosentini Korea: Sustainability was a critical feature for the city, so we maximize the green space and place the parking spaces underground, and give preferential parking spots to fuel efficient vehicles.

Scott Summers: People can use multiple types of transportation. We have 25 kilometers of bicycle lanes. And by 2016, there'll be an express train that links our development with Seoul and we'll cut travel time down to less than 30 minutes. If you want to be part of the Northeast Asia hub, this is the location. We offer a quality of life that is much different than the developments in Asia as well as other parts of the world.

As the world's population increases, the demand for newly constructed cities with highly efficient transportation systems will also rise.  Songdo shows what's possible. 

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Songdo IBD

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