Songdo: Tomorrow City
Away from the neon explosion of Seoul and west into the port city of Incheon is a suburb, Songdo, that challenges all of Seoul’s ultramodern melodrama with an imagining of the future that is straight out of science fiction.
Intending to turn Songdo into “Tomorrow City,” the government pumped millions into the area to create this high-tech steel and glass cityscape that serves as a transit center and showcase for the kind of gadgets, innovations and conveniences the future will offer. The district is the latest example of a so called Ubiquitous City (U-City), or Smart City, whereby all information systems are connected and nearly everything is linked to an information system via wireless networking and RFID tags.
Currently the development is caught somewhere between a functional city and a museum, with its u-transit and u-vision centers each boasting visitor centers, tour possibilities and information desks. The U-Transit Center allows for speedy transportation to and from the airport via numerous buses or the subway and has a specially designed depot for taxi pick-up and drop-off.
Let your imagination wander, it even appears that the center could be easily redeveloped to accommodate all manner of flying vehicles.
The U-Vision Center allows close interaction with robots in its cavernous confines as well. Technology is imagined here as being fully integrated into our daily lives. Once it is fully completed in 2014, the center will have monitoring systems in place for pollution, emergency services, crime prevention, and more, streamlining technology to fit the individual and societal needs of the entire city.
As with all futuristic envisages, it is likely that this could quickly become an outdated pastiche. At the moment, Tomorrow City is the closest imitation we have. It is still young, having only opened to the public in 2012. Currently, the area is not largely populated, giving the space-age building a slightly post-apocalyptic feel.
However, the Korean government is dedicated to the concept and already has U-Cities in progress in other regions of the country with a total of 15 in the works, although the Songdo complex is still the most true to the future city dream thus far.
by Samantha Farrel
Gloobbi Contributor based in Seoul