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South Korea building ‘smart’ city in Kuwait in 2019

The US$4 billion project is expected to house 25,000 to 40,000 families

A consortium of South Korean construction companies will begin building a $4 billion “smart” city in Kuwait in 2019, Seoul’s infrastructure ministry said on Monday.

Yonhap News Agency reports the group is led by POSCO A&C and Hyundai Architects and Engineers Associates Co. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport says the eco-friendly and digitally connected urban hub will serve as a prototype for similar Korean projects throughout the Middle East. The new Kuwait city is expected to accommodate between 25,000 — 40,000 families.


Whole new cities, such as Songdo in South Korea, have already been constructed.

Its buildings have automatic climate control and computerised access; its roads and water, waste and electricity systems are dense with electronic sensors to enable the city’s brain to track and respond to the movement of residents.

Officially known as the Songdo International Business District, this 40 billion USD project is promoted as a smart, green, low-carbon city.(The fact that 1,500 acres of Yellow Sea marshland, home to several endangered bird species, was devastated for this ‘green’ city is another matter.)

Songdo- a new kind of city: completely artificial, painstakingly designed, without a hint of decay or poverty, and nearly empty. It’s a human desert. Characterless. Sterile and soul-less, the city looks different from Korean cities. There are no poor people, no street vendors, no old people.

Songdo is also a town under constant surveillance: 500 cameras ensure total grid coverage to regulate the traffic or detect ‘suspicious’ behaviour. Even the opening of a sewer cover is immediately notified to the IFEZ  management centre in one of the towers in Songdo. Who work in close collaboration with the police.


If an entire city has an “operating system”, what happens when it goes wrong? The one thing that is certain about software is that it crashes. The smart city is really just a “perpetual beta city”. We can be sure that accidents will happen – driverless cars will crash; bugs will take down whole transport subsystems or the electricity grid; drones could hit passenger aircraft. How smart will the architects of the smart city look then?

Park Seon-mi says “There are sometimes strange smells which come from the factories in neighbouring cities and we are not safe from the pollution from China”. “The buildings are totally transparent and it is impossible to open the windows”, says her friend Hong Ji-hyeon. “In summer and winter the air conditioning is on all the time. I wonder if I don’t use more than before”. She herself had not seen the link between smart city and environment.

“To me, it’s just digital and in this respect it’s not very different from Seoul”.

More than a decade on from its inception and the city is less than a quarter full, with just 70,000 residents. It’s an odd mixture of wastelands intermingled with random large-scale development. People aren’t coming and neither are businesses.

There are many UK smart city start up companies.

In a background paper on smart cities put together  by the United Kingdom’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills, ARUP estimates that the global market for smart urban systems (including transport, energy, sanitation and healthcare) This is a very lucrative area for business. It is already a £280m market that will grow to £1tn by 2020, according to UK government estimates. The UK’s share of this global market is estimated at 10%. other words, it’s a huge market opportunity.

One such company is Design for Social Change. (D4SC) is an urban innovation company based in London, Bangalore and Berlin. It develops collaborative urban technologies to co-create smarter cities. It was incorporated in the UK in 2013.

City authorities in Malaysia, Portugal and Denmark are exploring using D4SC’s citizen engagement and smart city planning.

According to D4SC founder Priya Prakash, one of the company’s most successful initiatives has been Changify SmarterStreets, a next-generation data platform that combines bottom-up citizen data – what he calls “little data” – with top-down statistical and historical city data (big data) to co-create smarter cities in real time.


“We are technically piloting this in Plymouth with an active local community of cyclists and local Amey maintenance crews to co-create intelligent service provisioning for road infrastructure through real-time feedback loops using social media,” says Prakash.

“This pilot is trialling a new bottom-up, citizen-driven approach using crowdsourcing, sensor data and voting. It could change the way that highways issues in cities can be managed.”




Urban Institute and Amey join forces for Smart Urbanism Experiments .

https://urbaninstitute.group.shef.ac.uk/researching-sheffields-diverse-landscape-of-smart-urbanism-experimentation/Sheffield, the lead university of the successful bid has been awarded £4.9m million by Research England’s Connecting Capability fund (CCF) to fund the Promoting the Internet of Things via Collaborations between HEIs & Industry (Pitch-In) project.






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