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Songdo International Business District

Songdo International Business District (IBD) is a city being developed on roughly 6 km2 of reclaimed land in South Korea along Incheon's waterfront, 55 km from Seoul. According to developers Gale International and POSCO E&C from Korea, the metropolis will be a new benchmark for sustainable, city-scale development and innovation. International architects Kohn Pedersen Fox are responsible for the design of commercial office space, residences, retail shops, and hotels, as well as civic and cultural facilities. In 2015, when Songdo IBD will be the new home of 300,000 inhabitants, everyone will be plugged into the city's own giant network. In other words, the entire city can be regarded as a huge Meta Product.

Cisco, the manufacturer of the electronic data grid, has said the city will literally run on information. Everything will be connected to the grid, thereby making it possible to automate the lives of the inhabitants in entirely new ways. Health monitors will be placed in the workplace, computers will be integrated in every house and in the streets. Ubiquitous computing, as part of the smart infrastructure of the city, will be everywhere.

The large-scale implementation of ubiquitous computing is not only technically driven, care for the environment is equally important. Once it's completed, the whole of Songdo will produce a third fewer emissions than current cities of comparable size. For the field of Meta Products as a whole, Songdo is more than interesting, because it's a huge testing environment of possibilities. Potentially the city will provide us with information, and adapt instantly to our needs. It will be exciting to watch the results of people living in such a networked city. Failures will probably teach us a lot, since so many new interactions will be possible. Maybe the aspirations of future generations will lead this project into a direction not yet plotted by the architects. If you think Songdo is a one-time experiment, think again. Gale International is planning to build another 20 connected cities in China within the next 10 years. How do you think living in a connected city will differ from living in a traditional one? Which one will fulfil our aspirations? The fact is that the potential is there: cities will be living entities and will merge with us in everything we do. For you as a designer, this opens a lot of opportunities that will require your fullest empathy and reflective skills to design meaningful interactions.

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