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New Songdo, the South Korean "ubiquitous city" of the future

Ryan Block, @ryan

New Songdo

Sans flying cars and cold fusion, we were really just starting to let ourselves get acquainted with the idea of living in the future with our 3G and OQOs and what have you—then boom, the South Korean reality check comes and bursts our bubble yet again. Seems they're whipping up a brand new metropolis called New Songdo, a "ubiquitous city" being built 40 miles outside Seoul, which, like the world's largest gadget, will serve as one of the largest integrated technology testbeds ever conceived. Billed as the next stage of development for technology-enabled living, New Songo will equipped with a $297 million RFID research center when completed in 2014, and its 65,000 residents will all have homes with electronic locks, integrated videoconferencing, VoD, and unified systems and services down to details like each resident having a non-identity linked smartcard that transacts purchases, grants entry to mass transit, parking, and opens your front door at the end of the day (uhh). There are some seriously high hopes for the $25 billion project, of course, but we've still got another nine years until they've wrapped up their spankin' new city to see exactly how obsolete this now-futuristic lifestyle setup will really seem.

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