Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Songdo City

I'm impressed by the scale and magnitude of this project...

"New Songdo City is a fascinating globalised interzone, designed specifically for international capital and its needs. And so ‘nonplace-making’ strategies include populating the development with a Canal Street, a Park Avenue, a Central Park, a Broadway (interesting to see that Manhattan is seen as the space to draw symbols from - rather than, say, Shanghai, Tokyo, or Beijing, never mind London, LA, Paris etc. It was planned by the New York office of Kohn Pedersen Fox, but still.)"

"And I would later realise that the way the areas 'rez up' in that promotional video above, incongruously overlaid onto langorous Sigor Ros, is pretty much how it feels when you're standing and looking across to these giant cranes. You half expect a block to be completed, and then copy-and-pasted, right in front of you."

"As I return from the lake to the hotel, I have to pause for some minutes at the pedestrian crossing across the 10-lane highway. It really is a very, very wide road, entirely out of kilter with the prevailing winds in western urban planning. In former Soviet republics, planning codes inherited from another age ensure that military aircraft can land on roads if necessary - surely Seoul has no such equivalent stipulation."

"While the existence of the highway will generate large amounts of traffic at some point, there is very little traffic at the moment. When there is, New Songdo City is to file it away every single bit of it in underground parking; an approach that is traditionally very difficult to finance and build, yet will do something to lessen the impact of cars on the immediate environment. But the expanse of the street is so overwhelming, even when empty, that it’s difficult to see how a active non-car street life will emerge in these conditions."

"While Songdo is positioned to draw ‘western’ capital to a strategic intersection between South Korea, China and Japan, Philip Bowring recently noted that Korea’s links with Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand are just as crucial. This economy is extremely well-placed."

So it occurs to me that the logical thing to do would be the greatest engineering project of the next centuries; quite possibly the greatest diplomatic and economic project of the next centuries too, linking Japan with China via Korea via a high-speed rail link across gigantic bridges. (Of course.)

Construction site
Girls on bike by water
Track through Central Park
Central Park track
Scaffold trees
Scaffold trees
Songdo boulevard
Songdo boulevard
Songdo girls on bikes
Songdo girls on bikes
Songdo girls on bikes
Convention centre, adjacent to hotel
Large road, lower buildings
Walking past Sheraton
Convention centre

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