[Sponsored Report] IFEZ sets new paradigm for future international city

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[Sponsored Report] IFEZ sets new paradigm for future international city

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The World Bank and IFEZ Authority officials take a group photo to celebrate the opening of the World Bank Group’s Korea office. Lee Jong-cheol, seventh from right, is the commissioner of IFEZ Authority. Provided by IFEZ

Incheon, the hub city for businesses in Northeast Asia, is quickly reaching its goal of becoming an international city. So far, 13 global organizations have opened their offices in its free economic zone, or IFEZ. The offices of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the World Bank Group Korea have already settled in, in addition to the UN bodies Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap). The organizations will deal with various world issues in their Incheon offices.

GCF, a multilateral organization that provides funding to countries to reduce their carbon emissions, takes an active role in helping developing countries adapt to climate change. The Korea office of the World Bank Group consists of the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, International Development Association, International Finance Corporation, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency and International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes. These organizations are expected to serve as the bridge that makes trading between developed and developing nations smooth and successful.

One of the reasons organizations and companies chose to move to Incheon is the Incheon International Airport, the largest airport in the nation. The airport, which connects the country’s residents in 61 cities with people from around the world, is only 20 minutes away from Songdo Business District in IFEZ. The airport is also known as the world’s best in terms of service quality. It has earned first place in service quality from Airports Council International for nine consecutive years.

The convenience in employment is another reason why companies move to Incheon. The city is close to many college graduates who attend competitive universities in Seoul and Gyeonggi, the country’s metropolitan area. Both Chadwick International School and Songdo Global University, which serves as an international campus for the State University of New York, George Mason University, Ghent University and the University of Utah, allow foreign workers and their families to settle down in Korea without the hassle of trying to find adequate schooling for their children. Many more higher education institutions such as the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Moscow State Ballet Academy and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, are planning to launch their campuses in Songdo Global University.

Another aim for the IFEZ is to become the paradigm of a future city that is compact, smart and green. In a compact city, residents do not need to travel further than 30 to 40 minutes to get to where they need to be. The facilities for business, leisure, education, medication and shopping, the necessities of life, are available within a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) radius. In this self-sufficient city, there is no need to go for a long and uncomfortable drive for shopping or medical care.

Incheon is also a smart city that has the infrastructure for its residents to be constantly connected to the Internet. People can connect to the Internet with their smartphones and find information about transportation, sewage, electricity, fire protection and medical treatment. The synchronized city management system will provide residents with the real-time services they need.

Songdo residents can also lead eco-friendly lives. In June 2011, the IFEZ Authority announced that the new Songdo city will be a low-carbon area, with the hopes of reducing 38 percent of carbon emissions from the current level. This is only the first step for Songdo to go green. In addition, Songdo Central Park is the first park in the nation to have seawater flowing through it. Used water or rain will be collected, reprocesses and reused for cleaning public bathrooms or watering plants in the parks.

For a greener city, an automated collection system for domestic solid waste has been installed in the area to remove garbage trucks. This reduces the regular car emissions from collecting garbage from each neighborhood. Additionally, possible contaminations of soil or water or spreading of disease, which can occur from the conventional garbage collecting system, are eradicated.

“We will strive to attract higher-value-added businesses such as education, medical service, distribution, tourism and leisure and turn IFEZ into the heartland of global business,” said Lee Jong-cheol, the commissioner of IFEZ Authority.

By Kim Young-shin [yskim11@joongang.co.kr]

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