Was South Korea's smart city experiment a success?

It takes more than technology to attract people to a city, especially one built from scratch.
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

There's no denying that Songdo, a smart city built from scratch outside Seoul, South Korea, has amazing technological features. Take the city's waste system, for example, via BBC:

The waste disposal system is also impressive - or it would be if you could see it. Because there are no rubbish trucks trawling the streets or vast bins dotted around blocks of flats. Instead, all household waste is sucked directly from individual kitchens through a vast underground network of tunnels, to waste processing centres, where it's automatically sorted, deodorised and treated to be kinder to the environment.

That's incredible.

But as connected and sensor-filled as the city is, it's struggling to find people that want to join the experiment of living in smart city. According to BBC, less than half of its population capacity has been filled. Even worse, less than 20 percent of its commercial space is occupied.

And that's the challenge of building smart cities from scratch: All the innovation and technology in the world can't recreate the synergy that's present in established cities. Convincing a business to move its headquarters to a half-empty city is a tough sell. Convincing residents from Seoul to move away from friends and family to a place that has few businesses is equally difficult. That's not to say Songdo will never gain traction of established cities, just that it will take time. The problem is, by then residents might be ready for Songdo 2.0.

Read more: BBC

Photo: Flickr/we_like_it

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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