Friday, August 27th, 2010

2010 U-City World Forum

The Korean Ubiquitous City Association is organizing a first U-City World Forum this year, calling for international participation.

A U-city is a city where you want to live, by definition. South Korea has seen an astounding rate of urbanization. A large part of the country’s population lives in Seoul, a megacity. No wonder building attractive and sustainable cities is a hot topic in Korea. Large-scale projects are underway to take principles to practice.

The Korean U-city concept includes a strong technology component. Information technology is regarded as a utility that is woven into the infrastructure from the beginning, just like water and electricity. This is not without reason. Korea has been very successful in building an IT industry, winning a big chunk of the world market. It is one of the pillars underlying Korea’s current high standard of living.

President Lee, who took office in 2008, quickly proclaimed “Low Carbon, Green Growth” as the national vision. The vision has been picked up by the Korean Ubiquitous City Association. The most prominent U-city keywords are green (referring to environmental considerations) and smart (referring primarily to information technology).

In Europe the “U”/”ubiquitous” terminology is a barrier to understanding concepts like U-city. This terminology is unique to Korea and Japan. See the U as in Ubiquitous blog category for more information.

The Korean U-city concept envisions tight monitoring of public resources and the public space. In my opinion Europeans are more apprehensive of such surveillance than Koreans.

Resources: The U-City World Community is a new Korean web site promoting the U-City World Forum.

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