Biased Urban Planning…!


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If we build a new Green & Car-free city; why we use same pattern and morphology of Carbon & Car-based cities..??

Why we spend a lot on reclaiming from the sea; with standing & inevitable threats of raising sea water levels.. Should we utilize upper inner valleys for more sustainable planning of the future..?

Why we are much attached to the waterfront concepts that were created by real estate and merchandising tycoons.. Should we align to the common people – the true city owners..?

3_Songdo_skyline
The International Business District (IBD) in Songdo, South Korea.
 Gale International

When residents of the International Business District (IBD) in Songdo, South Korea go to work, pick up their kids from school, or shop for groceries, driving is optional.

That’s because the $40 billion district— currently a work-in-progress about the size of downtown Boston — was designed to eliminate the need for cars.

A project that began in 2002, the area prioritizes mass transit, like buses, subways, and bikes, instead of road traffic, according to Stan Gale, chairman of Gale International, the developer behind the IBD.

When completed by 2020, the district will span 100 million square feet. It’s located on the northwest side of South Korea.

Take a look at the IBD’s plan below.

In Songdo City, South Korea, Gale International is building the International Business District (IBD) on reclaimed land along the Yellow Sea.

In Songdo City, South Korea, Gale International is building the International Business District (IBD) on reclaimed land along the Yellow Sea.Consenti Associates

From the first planning stage, the developers aimed to make the district eco-friendly.

From the first planning stage, the developers aimed to make the district eco-friendly.Gale International

One strategy was designing the area to reduce the need for cars.

One strategy was designing the area to reduce the need for cars.Gale International

BD features a mixed-use urban plan, meaning its retail, office space, parks, medical facilities, and schools are all close to housing.

BD features a mixed-use urban plan, meaning its retail, office space, parks, medical facilities, and schools are all close to housing.Gale International

Apartment buildings and businesses were built 12 minutes within bus or subway stops.

Most non-residential buildings are walking distance from everything else.

Most non-residential buildings are walking distance from everything else.
Songdo’s convention center.
 Gale International

Fifteen miles of bike lanes go through the district, connecting to a larger 90-mile network in Songdo City.

Fifteen miles of bike lanes go through the district, connecting to a larger 90-mile network in Songdo City.
Gold medallist Ai Ueda (R) of Japan and Ma Claire Adorna of the Philippines cycle during the women’s triathlon at Songdo Central Park during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon September 25, 2014.
 Reuters

Around 40% of the area is reserved for green space (about double that of New York City), which also encourages residents to walk, Gale said.

Around 40% of the area is reserved for green space (about double that of New York City), which also encourages residents to walk, Gale said.Gale International

IBD’s largest park, measuring 101 acres, was inspired by Manhattan’s Central Park.

“What you see today in Songdo, a city that is compact and very much walkable, is a direct outcome of this thoughtful approach to planning,” Gale said.

The IBD is one part of a larger development, called the Incheon Free Economic Zone in Songdo City, spearheaded by the South Korean government.

The IBD is one part of a larger development, called the Incheon Free Economic Zone in Songdo City, spearheaded by the South Korean government.
A construction site of Songdo International City district, a part of the Incheon Free Economic Zone, is seen in Incheon, west of Seoul, December 11, 2008.
 Reuters

When the government started planning Songdo City in 2000, 500 tons of sand were poured into the marshland to lay the foundation.

Currently, 20,000 residential units are complete or under construction in IBD, where around 50,000 people live. Approximately 100,000 residents live in the greater Songdo City.

Another perk of living in the district: there are no trash trucks. Instead, a pneumatic tube system sucks the trash from chutes in residential buildings to a central sorting facility in seconds.

Another perk of living in the district: there are no trash trucks. Instead, a pneumatic tube system sucks the trash from chutes in residential buildings to a central sorting facility in seconds.Gale International

There, it’s either turned into energy or recycled.

IBD has over 100 buildings that are LEED-certified, the world’s most widely used green rating system.

IBD has over 100 buildings that are LEED-certified, the world's most widely used green rating system.Gale International

The development is shooting for LEED certification at a neighborhood scale, and plans to recycle 40% of the water used.

The development is shooting for LEED certification at a neighborhood scale, and plans to recycle 40% of the water used.Reuters

Songdo City produces a third fewer greenhouse gases compared to another city of the same size.

Songdo City produces a third fewer greenhouse gases compared to another city of the same size.Gale International

Source: Fast Company

However, some residents have complained that the IBD and the larger Songdo City are too remote from Seoul, the country’s economic, political, and cultural hub. It takes over an hour to reach the capital.

However, some residents have complained that the IBD and the larger Songdo City are too remote from Seoul, the country's economic, political, and cultural hub. It takes over an hour to reach the capital.
A man stands on a street in downtown Seoul, South Korea, April 18, 2013.
 AP

Around 70,000 people work in Songdo, which is far fewer than the 300,000 people the city government had envisioned.

Around 70,000 people work in Songdo, which is far fewer than the 300,000 people the city government had envisioned.Reuters

For that reason, it could be too early to say whether Songdo will become a thriving urban center.

For that reason, it could be too early to say whether Songdo will become a thriving urban center.Gale International

“In a lot of ways, it’s the city Koreans want to show the world, in that it’s a clean, futuristic-looking place with no visible poverty,” Colin Marshall, a Seoul-based essayist who writes about cities, told The Los Angeles Times.

When CityLab’s Linda Poon visited Songdo this spring, she spoke with residents who have had trouble building community in the new city.

When CityLab's Linda Poon visited Songdo this spring, she spoke with residents who have had trouble building community in the new city.Gale International

Source: CityLab

“There’s a ton of people living here, but you don’t really see them,” one resident, Lindy Wenselaers, told CityLab. “So the city is alive, but it’s invisible.”

“There’s a ton of people living here, but you don’t really see them,” one resident, Lindy Wenselaers, told CityLab. “So the city is alive, but it’s invisible.”Gale International

The IBD currently measures 60 million square feet. By 2020, it will nearly double.

The IBD currently measures 60 million square feet. By 2020, it will nearly double.Reuters

One thought on “Biased Urban Planning…!

Add yours

  1. Holger Mette
    If the Elimination of cars is actually a goal, why does the city need enormous 10 lane car-centric roads running though every section of it?

    Adding bike tracks and huge footpaths to even larger roads doesn’t make for a walkable or bikable city, the sum total just increases the distances people need to travel to go anywhere. Far from being a car-free model, this sort of place is the opposite – top down planning done that completely ignores human scale or granularity in its design. The inevitable result is that people still use cars to get around because that’s the scale the city has been designed on.

    The Citylab writeup probably gives a better idea of the reality of the place: “For a high-tech city of the future, parts of Songdo feel more like a sparsely populated American 1970s suburb—just arranged in a grid form—especially as you leave the business district. The wide roads and sprawling scale means that human activities are located far apart from one another. Occasionally you see small touches, like an artificial hanok village (a traditional village where houses with old-school architecture remain intact) to remind you that, yes, you are still in Korea. It’s not exactly a “Chernobyl-like ghost town,” as some reports have claimed, but is is eerily quiet as we drive past cluster after cluster of concrete residential high-rises, all identical. Many are empty, partly the result of Korea’s rush to build out Songdo in anticipation for the arrival of foreign workers.”
    https://www.citylab.com/…/sleepy-in-songdo…/561374/

    Like

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