Singapore's Garden City [Credit: pixabay]

Knight Frank’s recently published Global Cities report, sheds some light on the advances of human civilization, which began in cities, in city building. In an editorial entitled Paradise City, the editor sought to answer the question; If one built the ideal city today, what elements would it combine from the Global Cities? This brought to the fore cities where extraordinary innovation has taken place including Denver’s Lifestyle, the Architecture of Paris, LA’s Silicon Beach and Melbourne’s Waterfront, all teaming with pragmatic urban awe. Two of these best in class cities were particularly astounding. In the editors own words, here’s how and why:

Seoul’s Smart City Tech

South Korea is arguably the world’s most technologically advanced nation, so it is no surprise its capital leads in smart city technology. In the newly built Songdo smart city, near Seoul airport, there are no rubbish bins or garbage collections – litter is sucked into an underground disposal system, where it is either recycled or burnt as fuel. Parents can use Songdo’s CCTV network to watch their children playing outdoors, while sensors in car parking spaces inform residents that a spouse has arrived home. Energy use per person in Songdo is 40% less than in urban districts of comparable size.

Singapore’s Garden City

Today, green areas now cover 30% of the city, which has over two million trees. There are an estimated 100 hectares of rooftop gardens and greenery in building façades, with The Pinnacle@ Duxton as an example. The development boasts two 1,600 ft sky gardens linking seven 48-storey towers, as well as a park at ground level. The upcoming Paya Lebar mixed-use development will contain 100,000 sq ft of green space on its four hectare site.

Not so long ago, the sublimity of such urban ingenuity would have been dismissed as mere utopia. Now it is simply impressive.

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