South Korea proposes building high-tech city in just 10 minutes

An all-seeing centre at the top of an apartment block will provide real-time information on information

The Seoul city government has proposed building a high-tech city that can provide local citizens with everything from local municipal services to neighbourhood programs in a few minutes.

The planned Seoul 10-minute city would be built on the 36-acre (14-hectare) roof of an existing 42-story apartment tower, which would be enlarged to 75 floors. An “all-seeing centre” at the top of the building would provide real-time information on its inhabitants and services, 24 hours a day. The information could be shared with local businesses and residents, according to the city.

Residents of the building would also have access to virtual reality programs to learn about local community projects, held in nearby classrooms.

There are 2.3 million citizens in Seoul and city officials say a standard 20-minute daily commute would require 15 trips to 30 different spots around the city. However, the 10-minute city promises to reduce this number, which would reduce congestion and ease urban living.

Earlier this year, a South Korean construction company proposed a large-scale city that would be powered by solar energy and utilize renewable sources such as wind, tidal and thermal energy.

The project, called 100 Mile City, would cover an area of 869 square miles (2,196 square km) and is proposed to be built over the course of two decades. The plan includes 7,000 miles of solar-power stations, small underwater reservoirs that would re-create rainfall, seven wind turbines, two dams and one tidal power system. The project would also feature a “web of islands”, connected by virtual-reality systems, producing hydroelectric power for the city.

The 100 Mile City is one of several futuristic ideas to save the country from possible climate change and “nuclear-related disasters”. Last year, a group of students proposed replacing urban transport by running electric-powered bikes around Seoul. The professor behind the plan estimates that 90% of riders would use the bicycles to move without the need for fixed routes. The pedalled bikes would take in high-profile office blocks and would also cover areas such as the Lotte department store and the Stadium of Korea.

The 100 Mile City is to be completed in 2031, which is 20 years after Seoul experiences one of the worst disasters in its history, when a tidal wave from the tsunami-like earthquake of March 2011 flooded many parts of the capital.

A third model, the Housing 100 Megacity Campaign, is a more ambitious plan, estimated to be designed, built and inhabited by 2050. The goal is to build 30,000 “model” apartment complexes for low-income residents who could then rent an additional 2.7m homes. The residences would also use 75% less energy and water than current housing.

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