Day Two – Category D (Population 200,001-750,000)
What the judges said: “These were two very large cities with great challenges offering quite different solutions. They could perhaps learn from shared experiences and I hope that thanks to LivCom they may exchange ideas.”
Claudette Savaria, Head Judge
SONGPA, SOUTH KOREA: POPN 680,000
With a history dating back 2000 years, the transformation of Songpa as a modern city began in the 1970s. The city’s growth began as part of the national government’s aim of dispersing the population. Ambitious to become an important economic hub in north east Asia, Songpa is currently carrying out various development projects to transform the cities skyline.
Developments include a 112-story skyscraper, 24,000-household residential developments and a major industrial complex. This is against a background of efforts to “green” the city (which has 140 parks) and create a safe, healthy, global centre.
To enhance the green spaces springing up throughout the city, planners are also developing a complex of waterways and artificial lakes as part of a “blue network” project. There are four streams surrounding the city and a key element of the project will see the four streams connected over a distance of 27km. Frequent flooding was a feature of the life of the city until the creation of concrete barriers. Recognised as ugly, work began in 2000 to re-evaluate the layout of the city and to transform these man-made barriers. In one, the concrete wall of the artificial Seokchon Lake was replaced with organic matt. Aquatic plants were introduced to clean the water and the lakeshore was turned into an environmentally friendly place of relaxation now enjoyed by around 20,000 residents every day.
SHILONG,CHINA: POPN 201,200
Shilong is a northern suburb of Dongguan nestled in the Pearl River Delta. Along with the rest of the region, both Shilong’s economy and society have developed fast. Since 1991, the town’s GDP growth rate has reached 18.8% pushing Shilong to 19th among China’s 1,000 most developed towns.
Rapid growth brings certain challenges – located to the south of the tropic of cancer, there are more than 1100 different species of mammals and plants which have adopted to the region’s hot and humid habitat. Shilong protects its 27 ancient trees, one of which is more than 300 years old. There are also 28 historic sites and 14 parks covering 78 ha. In the town’s developed areas, green spaces cover 39% of the area – 20 square metres per person.
Among measures to repair, protect and maintain its natural ecological environment, one of the major initiatives was to close down polluting enterprises on both sides of the river and build five riverside parks.