Updated: Sep 26, 2020
After reading this article, you are going to want to move to South Korea! Songdo is the most advanced and sustainable city in the world. They don't even have trash trucks.
Instead, they have pneumatic pipes that suck trash to central sorting facilities. How cool is that? Without the diesel trucks, their carbon footprint is far lower. In fact Songdo's is a third of cities the same size.
Just by living here, you're saving the world
About the City
Songdo is near the megacity of Seoul. So though many similar cities have failed at attracting people, Songdo will grow. Seol's population of 9.7 million people needs a place to expand to, and that place is the sustainable Songdo.
When it comes to city planning, we tend to think that it's already done. What can I do now? But this was a fresh slate and an opportunity to do it right. So the government of South Korea invested 30 billion dollars.
That's a lot of money, but it's an investment in our future.
Trees and convenience
When people move to cities, they start missing fresh air. "I love the convenience", they say, but "I miss the trees".
Songdo is the best of both worlds. It's hard not to feel good when 40% of the city is green space. Walking paths take priority in the streets, in addition to fifteen miles of bike loops interwoven into the layout.
There's even a 101-acre park in the middle of the city. Made in the image of Central Park, it's a great addition to a sustainable place.
With all this green space, you would think you’d have to sacrifice transportation. But you would be wrong!
The creators wanted to give up on cars. After all, they create a big carbon footprint. So they studied the patterns of the individual. How can I convince them to be green? The studies revealed that people were willing to walk 12-minutes on average. After that, they’d be taking a car. So that’s how the city is designed. Every 12-minutes there is a transit stop. Now anywhere in the city can be reached by walking!
However, if you still need your car. There are innovations for you too. All the parking spaces are underground. Not only is this aesthetically pleasing, but it decreases the heat produced by cars in the summer.
Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
After reading all this, you know they must be recycling. But how?
Once all the trash is sucked down the pipes to the collection facility, the trash is automatically sorted. The remaining waste is either burned for energy or buried underground.
Songdo is also very smart with their water system. 40% of it is reused for flushing toilets and cleaning the streets. They even collect the rainwater to irrigate the green spaces.
Everything in this city is being reused, reduced, or recycled. There is no reason for you to waste anything while living in Songdo.
The Smart City
It’s no wonder that Songdo is nicknamed the “smart” city. Their innovations could save cities all around the world. Imagine a world where there are no trash trucks?
That little solution alone could change the way we know our planet. Yes, city planning is better as a forethought. But that doesn’t mean we can’t incorporate these concepts into already existing cities!
Our state representatives are here to serve us. Write them a letter. Let them know how this would make life better for their citizens.
And if that doesn’t work, you could always move to Songdo.