Songdo International Business District
History and museums
Songdo International Business District (Songdo IBD) is a new smart city or "ubiquitous city" built from scratch on 600 hectares (1,500 acres) of reclaimed land along Incheon's waterfront, 65 kilometres (40 mi) southwest of Seoul, South Korea and connected to Incheon International Airport by a 12.3-kilometre (7.6 mi) reinforced concrete highway bridge, called Incheon Bridge. Along with Yeongjong and Cheongna, it is part of the Incheon Free Economic Zone.
The Songdo International Business District will feature the Northeast Asia Trade Tower and the Incheon Tower. Schools, hospitals, apartments, office buildings and cultural amenities are to be built in the district. Replicas of architectural hallmarks, including New York City's Central Park and Venice's waterways, will also be incorporated. This 10-year development project is estimated to cost in excess of $40 billion, making it one of the most expensive development projects ever undertaken.
A small number of Japanese residents have sought to live in Songdo IBD after the Tohoku earthquake.
Gale International, holds a majority stake of 61%, Posco 30%, and the remaining 9% is owned by Morgan Stanley Real Estate. The plan was designed by the New York office of Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF). Infrastructure development, labor, and funding are also being provided by the city of Incheon.
Built on 600 hectares (1,500 acres) of land reclaimed from the Yellow Sea off Incheon, about 56 kilometres (35 mi) from the South's capital Seoul, Songdo district is the largest private real estate development in history. By its completion date in 2015, the district was planned to contain 80,000 apartments, 5,000,000 square metres (50,000,000 sq ft) of office space and 900,000 square metres (10,000,000 sq ft) of retail space. The 65-floor Northeast Asia Trade Tower became South Korea's tallest building. Computers have been built into the houses, streets, and offices as part of a wide area network.
The Songdo IBD was part of former President Lee Myung-bak's effort to promote green and low-carbon growth as an avenue for future development after 60 years of reliance on export-oriented manufacturing. The nation launched a $38 billion economic stimulus package in January 2009, with over 80% of the total earmarked for green investment. The Framework Act for Low Carbon Green Growth, passed by Korea's National Assembly in 2010, increased this to $83.6 billion spanning five years. Under this initiative, the Songdo IBD is being developed as a sustainable city with more than 40% of its area reserved for green space, including the park of 40 hectares (100 acres), 26 kilometres (16 mi) of bicycling lanes, numerous charging stations for electric vehicles and a waste collection system that eliminates the need for trash trucks. Also, it is the second city in the world to have all of its major buildings in par or beyond LEED's requirements, after Greensburg, Kansas.
Three additional foreign university campus opened in 2014, for a total of four total universities located within an international business district some 60 kilometres (40 mi) from Seoul, including the first overseas university that opened in Korea, the State University of New York, Stony Brook. The schools will be funded by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, the Incheon Free Economic Zone and the Incheon Metropolitan Government. The development is part of a $35 billion effort by the Korean government to form an international business district that houses competitive universities from around the world. In spring 2014, George Mason University (Fairfax, Virginia) opened its Korean campus in Songdo to support undergraduate academic interests and professional development programming for local corporations. Additionally, University of Utah anticipated opening a satellite campus in March 2014 with several American bachelor's degrees offered in Social Sciences, along with an M.A. in Applied Linguistics
Songdo IBD has untypically wide roads and has a higher number of bicycle paths and walkways. The district is served by buses and by Incheon Metro Line 1, with eight stations, some with elegant interiors and interior sky-lit vistas. Although travel to Incheon International Airport is quick with the 12.3 km Incheon Bridge, transportation via subway to Seoul is less direct and requires multiple transfers but two Red class commuter buses offer direct routes to the capital city.
In 2003, Birds Korea called for a halt of the reclamation project due to concerns at the loss of important tidal flats. Prior to reclamation, the Songdo tidal flats had supported several threatened waterbird species, and provided a staging ground for migratory waders as they traveled between the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
Songdo International Business District provided the backdrop for the music video "Right Now", by Korean pop star Psy.