For more than 20 years I have worked for Chadwick School on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Southern California. For 16 years I was the Director of Communications and for the past four years I have continued to work part-time as the school archivist, or historian. Chadwick School was established as a home school by Margaret and Joseph Chadwick in San Pedro and moved to its present site on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in 1938. You can read all about Chadwick at the link above. A few years ago Chadwick was invited to establish Chadwick International School in a brand new eco city called Songdo, outside of Seoul and near Incheon. We have some exchange students this semester from Chadwick International and some of our faculty and administrators are helping to establish the school there so we hear wonderful stories about the new green city--and the new, state-of-the-art school.
At an assembly today at the Palos Verdes Chadwick campus, Stephen Gale of Gale Associates, one of the developers of the new city, spoke proudly to the students and faculty about Songdo; he calls it "city in a box." Thoroughly planned in advance, it is being built quickly; it is scheduled to be completed in 2016. Sustainable cities like this are springing up around the world, he said, and he encouraged students to Google and find out more about them. I Googled before the kids, I assure you, I was so fascinated. It almost seemed like science fiction.
Dazzled as I was with the presentation, it also made me realize that I’m back somewhere in the 20th century in my world of communication. The world is definitely proceeding globally and in a visionary way thanks to people who think out of the box. I'm not that kind of thinker. I'm one of those thinking globally-acting-locally kind of people, I'm afraid, but fortunately there are visionaries out there.
I loved this description of Songdo as it appears on their website, linked above.
"Every country needs their own master-planned eco city. Germany will have aptly named ECO CITY Hamburg, the UK has Hanham Hall, Sweden has Super Sustainable City in Gothenburg, Spain has Logroño Montecorvo Eco City, and the UAW has Masdar. But South Korea seems to have two master-planned sustainable communities, we saw this super sustainable city by Foster + Partners earlier this week, and now we are taking a look atSongdo International Business District or Songdo IBD. This new eco-city will be impressive with its list of eco-credentials - tons of beautiful open space and parks, green roofs, solar passive design, mass transit and over 120 buildings built to LEED standards.
Songdo IBD, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, is located on the waterfront of Incheon, South Korea covering 1,500 acres. It is expected to cost over $30 billion and house 75,000 residents, and handle 300,000 commuters. Of the 1,500 acres, 40% of that will be open, green space, park and golf course, and the city will be easily traveled by foot and mass transit.
The first phase of the city has already been completed and Central Park, the large 100-acre green space, which was modeled after New York City's Central Park, has already been completed. Besides the expansive park, Songdo takes inspiration from many other famous attractions from around the world. Songdo will also include Italianate canals, Savannah-style parks, Parisian boulevards, and a convention center modeled after Jørn Utzon's iconic opera house.
The impressive open space will do wonders for storm water retention and reduction of urban heat island effect, but that's not all the environmental tricks Songdo has up its sleeve. The whole city is based on LEED green building standards and over 120 buildings will seek LEED certification, which will make Songdo the largest private LEED development in the world. Songdo is also part of the LEED ND development program as well as Korean Green Building Certification System (KGBCS). The list of green design features includes, green roofs, LED lighting, co-generation, 75% of construction waste to be recycled, waste management system, low-VOC materials, expanded mass transit service, native landscaping and more."
Further Googling brought me to several other links about the new eco cities under construction, but I especially liked this one called The Rise of the First Smart Cities.
If you take the time to read this post in depth, I'd be really interested to hear your reaction. I feel like I'm in a time warp, but I must admit, I hope I get to visit Songdo someday.