Songdo: The Future Of Cities
This film explores the future of urban life with a deep dive into Songdo — the most technologically advanced city in the world that built from scratch on reclaimed land on the coast of South Korea.
Everything about the new city of Songdo is artificial — even the land it’s built on. Twenty years ago the place didn’t exist in any form, being located on soil that had been reclaimed from the sea. Songdo can be described as a “city in a box” that was purchased by the Incheon government from foreign developers for $40 billion and snapped together, piece-by-piece, like a pop-up tent. Originally envisioned to become the preeminent international economic hub of northeast Asia, its dreamers did not take a few epic geo-economic plot twists into account.
Songdo was also meant to be a the most futuristic city in the world, a smart city where all municipal services and even traffic would be controlled from a central command center. The place was loaded with all kinds of IT gadgets that were at the time state of the art but are now somewhat ordinary, providing the world with an important lesson that technology changes faster than new cities can be built.
Opening in 2015, Songdo was meant to show what is possible when a consortium of development firms are given a blank canvas to paint a city on. Completely privately owned, this city was meant to elevate our concept of what a city could be — the streets would be decked out with thousands of cameras monitored from a central command station, homes would be equipped with computers that connect directly to municipal service providers, and all waste would be recycled making garbage cans a thing of the past.
It all sounds like a futuristic fantasy, but the reality is a little more sobering. This film takes us inside the city of the future and paints a picture of what urban life may soon be like everywhere … whether we want it to or not.