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Residents share their daily data to help build a new city in South Korea

Eco Delta Smart Village // Courtesy of Eco Delta

Residents share their daily data to help build a new city in South Korea


Future. A neighborhood in Busan, South Korea — the Eco Delta Smart Village — has recruited residents for a three to five-year experiment that will track every aspect of their lives in order to create the blueprints for the city of the future. While there are several smart city projects all around the world (Neom, Saudi Arabia; Woven City, Japan), South Korea may be the first to turn those smart city blueprints into an exportable good.

Busan in beta

The South Korean city of Busan wants to know how it can build a new metropolis around its residents.

  • 54 households are being studied in the Eco Delta Smart Village — a “smart,” sustainable neighborhood that measures residents’ daily habits, energy and food consumption, and trash volume.
  • The residents — who are living there rent-free for three years (with a possible two-year extension in exchange for their data) — are monitored and looked after by a system accessible via a three-foot-tall mirror and a smartwatch provided by Samsung.

The data will be studied by developers, appliance manufacturers, the government, and health care experts with the goal of creating a smart city from the ground up, using residents’ needs as building blocks.

Build Back Smarter

That smart city — the Eco Delta Smart City, which will technically be part of Busan — will eventually total 30,000 homes across 4.5 square miles near the Nakdong River delta. It’ll cost a proposed $5.6 billion. 

The city will be fully sustainable (recycled sewage water to upkeep green spaces, solar-power and hydrothermal tech to power homes), will use drones to deliver packages, and will be filled with small robots to keep it clean. 

Lee Jae Min, deputy director of the smart city project with the Ministry of Land, Industry and Transport, said that the grand ambition of the project is to not just create “a more comprehensive city” but have “a standard model of a smart city and export that to the world.”

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