Brasilia, Canberra, Sejong and Songdo all share a common trait: They are planned cities. Despite mixed assessments of the success of cities built from scratch worldwide, South Korea has repeatedly embraced the concept.
The Seoul satellites of Ilsan and Bundang were built as planned developments in the 1990s. Today, the partially completed Songdo International Business District and Sejong City stand as the latest experiments with meticulous planning. Both aim to take congestion away from the capital and enable smarter and more environmentally sustainable ways of living. Both, too, make audacious claims.
Singapore's latest development opens this month, with imposing 50-meter-tall artificial trees towering over botanical gardens.
The man-made mechanical forest consists of 18 supertrees that act as vertical gardens, generating solar power, acting as air venting ducts for nearby conservatories, and collecting rainwater. To generate electricity, 11 of the supertrees are fitted with solar photovoltaic systems that convert sunlight into energy, which provides lighting and aids water technology within the conservatories below.