Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon wants to turn his city into a green mega city. (Photo of Seoul by Eric from Aiea)

About us
Mayor Monitor

Green mega cities
Green cities initiative
Green mayors
North America's greenest cities
Scottish Green energy
Toronto's Rouge Park
Europe's greenest cities
Greenhouse gas emissions
Green finance
Africa's water crisis
Mexico City's Green Plan
Mexico City garbage disposal
Saving energy by using contrast
New capital for South Korea
S Korea - local government
Seoul development
Cities' future
Urban development in Asia
South Korean Intelligent Cities
Europe's cities and suburbs
New Urbanism

US cities to go green

City Mayors reports news from towns and cities around the world. Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa |

City Mayors ranks the world’s largest, best as well as richest cities and urban areas. It also ranks the cities in individual countries, and provides a list of the capital cities of some 200 sovereign countries. More

City Mayors profiles city leaders from around the world. More

City Mayors describes the history, architecture and politics of the greatest city halls in the world. More

Mayors from The Americas, Europe. Asia, Australia and Africa compete for the World Mayor Award. More

Mayor Monitor to rate the performance of mayors from across the world More

In your opinion: Praise Criticise. Write

City Mayors reports political events, analyses the issues and depicts the main players. More

City Mayors describes and explains the structures and workings of local government in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa. More

City Mayors deals with economic and investment issues affecting towns and cities. More

City Mayors describes and explains financial issues affecting local government. More

City Mayors reports urban environmental developments and examines the challenges faced by cities worldwide. More

City Mayors reports on and discusses urban development issues in developed and developing countries. More

City Mayors reports on developments in urban society and behaviour and reviews relevant research. More

City Mayors invites readers to write about the people in their cities. More

City Mayors examines city brands and marketing. More

City Mayors lists and features urban events, conferences and conventions aimed at urban decision makers and those with an interst in cities worldwide. More

City Mayors deals with urban transport issues in developed and developing countries and features the world’s greatest metro systems. More

City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas. More

City Mayors investigates health issues affecting urban areas with an emphasis on health in cities in developing countries. More

City Mayors reports on how business developments impact on cities and examines cooperation between cities and the private sector. More

City Mayors examines the contributions history and culture make to urban society and environment. More

City Mayors examines the importance of urban tourism to city economies. More

City Mayors questions those who govern the world’s cities and talks to men and women who contribute to urban society and environment. More

City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More

City Mayors reports on major national and international sporting events and their impact on cities. More

City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More

Scientists from Germany and Korea
work on creating green mega cities

A report by Fraunhofer Institute*

3 September 2008: Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a typical mega city: vast, pulsating, noisy and full of exhaust fumes. This is the setting in which researchers from the German Fraunhofer Institute are developing new building concepts and IT solutions. which will save energy, cut pollution and make living in the city a more pleasant experience.

Housing as far as the eye can see – Seoul is one of the world’s mega cities. South Korea’s capital city has undergone exponential growth over the past few decades: Its population has quadrupled in fifty years. Ten million people live within the city boundaries today. If the count is extended to cover the metropolitan region surrounding the city, it comes to over 20 million. The population growth has had a dramatic impact on the environment, bringing about a huge increase in traffic noise and air pollution.

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon is no longer willing to stand by and watch this happen. If things go as he would like them to, Seoul will soon be a green city with clean air – a role model for other mega cities that are contending with similar problems. The city is investing in innovative technologies and building projects, and it is supported in its ambition by Fraunhofer, one of Europe’s largest research and development institutions. On 3 September 2008, a Fraunhofer Representative Office opened in Seoul to coordinate projects between the Institute and its Korean partners. One of its core activities will be to develop technological concepts that make life in tomorrow’s mega cities easier, kinder and more pleasant to the environment.

Using renewable energy sources
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg are now developing an energy-efficient prototype building on behalf of the city of Seoul. It will be designed to incorporate all the principles of modern energy-saving technology, and will be heated and cooled using sustainable energy sources.

Professor Volker Wittwer, deputy director of the ISE said that the building would show the population what kind of potential there is for using renewable energy. “We are planning to build seminar rooms, research facilities and private dwellings that will demonstrate the technical possibilities for gaining energy from sustainable sources, but also for saving energy,” he explained.

“We want to demonstrate that the zero-energy house is feasible, averaged out over the year, and that it is pleasant to live in: It will be equipped with the latest building technologies and integrated in the usual national power supply networks.”

Construction work on the new building is to begin next year – in time for the annual convention of the mega city working group in Seoul. “Our goal is to produce an exemplary building that will provide an incentive for industry to invest in low-energy technology,” adds the researcher.

In the ‘zero-energy house’ project, team from Freiburg is contributing its know-how on the utilization of alternative energy sources such as sunlight, geothermal heat, or wind.

Energy efficiency and comfort
The quality of living can be improved even in existing buildings. In the spring of 2008, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP in Holzkirchen (Germany) signed a cooperation agreement with Samsung Engineering & Construction, one of the largest construction companies in Korea. “We are aiming to increase the comfort and energy efficiency of residential buildings,” reports IBP-reseacher Dr Andreas Holm.

Over half the population of Korea today live in high-rise apartment blocks that were built in the last few decades. By German standards, these buildings are poorly insulated. The residents require a great deal of energy to heat or cool the rooms. Overheating in summer and the growth of fungus are also a problem.

The causes are now being systematically examined. By the end of this year, the researchers from Holzkirchen will have equipped 24 apartments in Seoul with sensors that monitor temperature and humidity 24 hours a day. With the aid of these readings, the experts can simulate the indoor climate and make recommendations on how to increase energy efficiency and comfort. “Our goal is to cut the loss of energy even further by using better-insulated windows and facades, at the same time creating a pleasant indoor climate for the residents without unnecessarily pushing up the costs. We are keeping the mass market in mind,” sums up institute director Professor Klaus Sedlbauer.

One highly critical research topic in Seoul is soundproofing. The traffic in the streets of the capital city produces an incessant background of noise, and the high-rise blocks are not well soundproofed. New laws are now to give the citizens more peace and quiet. A new regulation on reducing impact noise – which is incidentally far more stringent than the regulations applicable in Germany – has been in force since 2006.

The acoustics experts from the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP in Stuttgart (Germany) are now cooperating with Korean engineers to devise innovative, soundproof building materials. “We have developed a novel composite-based insulation system that meets the Korean requirements and opens up new prospects of high-quality soundproofing in Germany,” reports Dr. Philip Leistner, head of the acoustics department. “But when it comes to buildings, the interests of large Korean enterprises such as LG Chemicals and Samsung actually go a lot further than that. What they want to achieve are holistic, sustainable concepts for residential and working areas in buildings. This is one of the big issues for the future at Fraunhofer as well. And it applies not only to Korea and Germany, but all over the world.”

Citizen-friendly administration
Services for citizens is another area in which the city of Seoul plans to employ state-of-the-art technology in future. The objective is to make dealings with public authorities simpler, more convenient and less complex. “The National Information Agency NIA is developing special IT services for the government which will not only provide information and reproduce application procedures online, but will also directly involve the citizens themselves and accept their inquiries and reports,” explains Nils Barnickel of the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS. In collaboration with Korean IT experts he is currently planning a research project in the field of telephone-based e-government services.

The two sides have signed a memorandum of understanding in which they have agreed to develop a range of services for the mega city that will be similar to the planned service hotline in Europe. In future, all European citizens will be able to obtain comprehensive information and assistance in their dealings with public authorities, including the end-to-end handling of application procedures, simply by calling 115. Seoul would like to offer this attractive service to its own 20 million citizens.
*Adapted from materials provided by Fraunhofer Institute, via AlphaGalileo

World Mayor 2023