T+L Reports: Korea's New City: Songdo
Published: April 2009
By Luke Barr
From KL to Shanghai, Asia is teeming with new large-scale airports, business developments,
and high-rise residential buildings—and now cities are springing up, too. The latest
big venture to break ground, New Songdo (www.new-songdocity.co.kr),
lies 40 miles south of Seoul on a 1,500-acre stretch of landfill. Evincing a "if you build
it, they will come" optimism, the developers, New Yorkbased Gale International, plan to plagiarize
from spots around the world: there will be a Central Park, a Grand Canal, even a Champs-Élysées.
Indeed, there's little chance the $25 billion New Songdo, set to be completed in 2014, will
be a paragon of original design—the mode here is garish, postmodern pastiche. Other
elements include Savannah's "pocket parks" and Boston's Quincy Market. This so called global
destination city (official language: English) will be the world's biggest private development
project—or its biggest theme park, depending on your perspective.