Korea’s ‘u-city’ or ubiquitous city is a concept that involves a high-speed wireless network with networks of sensors. The wireless communication capability provides free Wi-Fi access, but also is used for citizen-facing applications such as digital city guides or city services and business directories. The network of sensors includes video surveillance and environmental monitoring. And there’s even a network of intelligent street lamps.
I learned about the Incheon u-city project as part of Autodesk’s Digital Cities pilot city program, and I was intrigued to learn more. The u-city concept has been deployed in Seoul on a few different test projects. The first-phase is the recently renovated Cheonggyecheon stream, and the second phase is Seoul Forest Park, a 286-acre green space that opened in 2005.
The Cheonggyecheon stream is a redevelopment project at the heart of the city that was once covered by an elevated highway. The city spent $900 million to reclaim and restore the stream, and it’s now a very popular destination for citizens and tourists. The u-Cheonggyecheon test bed project includes a wireless network and an integrated 3D GIS operating platform. The 3D GIS models the whole Cheonggyecheon area andis used as a virtual reality platform for a GPS-based history tour for visitors. There’s also an interactive media board with a video about underwater ecology.
The Seoul Forest Park project includes wireless Internet applications including media services, free public Internet access, and ecological monitoring. There’s even a service where parents can request necklaces to track their children and help locate them if they get lost. And visitors to a special medical booth can to measure their vital statistics and even opt to send them to the Seoul City medical center for evaluation. Seoul doctors that are part of the program provide diagnostic counseling to individuals by e-mail.
The concept of ‘u-city’ is a fascinating evolution of urban life, and is said to be uniquely Korean. I’ll be sure to continue coverage of this topic as the concept evolves and is implemented.