Model Cities across the South Challenge Old Ways
Pioneering thinking about how resources are used and how people live their lives is taking place in the dynamic economies of the global South. Facing a vast population surge to urban areas, it includes attempts to build “green” cities and low-waste, smart and digital communities.
These model cities are clever solutions for the world’s growing – and urbanizing – populations coping with a stressed and damaged environment. Unlike one-off technologies and ideas developed in isolation, the model-cities approach starts from scratch. The cities become living laboratories in which research and development take place at the heart of the community and are not just the preserve of aloof academics hidden away in labs.
This is critical work because the world is rapidly urbanizing and needs solutions to ensure that this process does not lead to chaos and misery. How these cities turn out could help to determine the fate of humanity.
By 2025, Asia could have 10 or more cities with populations larger than 20 million ( Far Eastern Economic Review). People will be living in densely populated cities and they will need to be smart cities if they are to work.
In the Republic of Korea, the Digital Media City (DMC) in Seoul bills itself as a “harmony of nature, hi-tec, and culture”. The Seoul municipal government devised the DMC in the 1990s to capitalize on the economic and social benefits of being the world’s most digitally wired country.
The DMC project serves the country’s larger goals of transitioning from a manufacturing to an innovation economy and promoting Seoul as an East Asian hub for commerce. The DMC is about creating new business opportunities.
But this isn’t just about business and research and development: it is a comprehensive digital-economy experience, with schools, housing for the affiliates of international firms, moderate and lower-income housing, commercial and convention facilities, entertainment zones, and the city’s central rail station, all located in or near the Digital Media City. – (February 2012)