Busa Eco Delta Smart City

On the 21st of October, in the afternoon, we had our last excursion of the Study Tour at the Busan Eco Delta Smart City. This smart city is located on the western side of Busan, between the Nakdong and West Nakdong River.  Even though it is officially part of Busan, some citizens of Busan do not agree on this and therefore it is also referred to as part of the Busan Metropolitan area.

We started the excursion with a presentation from Dr. Edward Yang inside the observatory of the Busan Eco Delta Smart City. He gave an introduction regarding the Smart city. In 2013 the project started as a new urban development plan called the Busan Eco Delta City.  It was only in 2018 that the vision of the plan changed and it became a ‘Smart’ city. This also led to a decrease in the project area because the implementation of Smart solutions to the area would enhance much more challenges and research. A map of the location of the Eco Delta City can be seen in Figure 1 below. In Figure 2, the concept map can be seen on how the city should look like.

Figure 1: Scope of the Eco Delta Smart city (dark blue)
Figure 2: Concept picture of the Eco Delta Smart city and all its features

Furthermore, Dr. Yang formulated the Eco Delta City according to ten innovations that add value to urban living, such as smart safety, smart mobility and smart water. Besides, six objectives and 28 Key Performances Indicators (KPI’s) were stated that the city must comply to in order to become a successful Smart city. The six objectives are:

1.            Work & Life should be in balance (50/50 division)

2.            Five years longer health life

3.            28,000 jobs should be generated

4.            125 saved hours each year

5.            Everything should be 100% recycled

6.            20% more energy must come from renewable sources

Out of the above six objectives, Dr. Yang elaborated explicitly on two of them: five years long health life and 125 saved hours each year. In this visit report we also elaborate on these two objectives.

Dr. Yang mentioned that studies have shown that by increasing the time people walk each week, the longer their expected life span will be. By stimulating walking up to 7.5 hours each weak, the expected life time of a person increases by 4.5 years. Besides, improved flood forecasting, early fire detection, early earthquake warnings and improved water quality should increase the life span of people living in the Eco Delta City up to 5 years. Besides, the Eco Delta City should save people 125 hours per year. This includes for example savings in mobility, productivity, healthcare and Smart parking. The largest contributor to the total potential time saving is in mobility (60 hours). By implementing Smart traffic lights, increased vehicle speed, decreased accidents and by optimizing public transport routes, these savings can be achieved.

During the presentation it was stated that there are three phases for the establishment of a smart city, namely planning, construction and management. Currently, the smart city is in the construction phase. It will take approximately 10-15 years before the construction is finished. However, it is hard to say since technology requires frequent updates and new innovations may be implemented along the way. Another problem posed by Dr. Yang was the problem of data acquiring and storing. In order to have all aspects of the city connected to each other, a lot of data is transmitted from and to devices. In order to store this, large data centres should be built, which require extreme amounts of energy. Because of this problem, autonomous driving was not feasible to implement in the Eco Delta City. In order for autonomous vehicles to be implemented, 3 Gigabytes of data per second is required to make driving safe. The city does however focus on renewable energy generation. In the city, energy is generated by using solar, water, wind and earth energy.

After the presentation, we went upstairs to the observatory deck (see Figure 3). Over there, an overview of the construction site could be seen.

Figure 3: Observatory tower and deck. Here we saw the presentation of Dr. Yang and we had a view of the project area.

After the observatory deck, we went to the smart village. This is a test pilot for the smart city and is used to obtain data on the way of living in the city. In this pilot, residents can live for 5 years without paying rent, but they have to cooperate in the research of the pilot city. This includes delivering data on power and water use, fitness hours, vehicle routes, and more. First, we visited the platform centre (Figure 4). At this centre, all information is gathered from the smart village and displayed on a large monitor. This information is used to recognise patterns. With this information the smart city can be optimised. After the platform centre, we could walk through the smart village ourselves and explore the features.

Figure 4: Monitoring screen in the Smart Village

This excursion was a good elaboration on multiple Macro and Meso studies which were conducted during the educational program as preparation for the study tour. For example the Meso study Climate adaptation and mitigation was pointed out during the excursion due to the innovations which are implemented in the smart city that mitigate and adapt to climate change. Also, the excursion was related to multiple Macro studies. Among others, the difference in the legal system of the Netherlands and South Korea emerged during the excursion. Also the technologies used in order to make the Eco Delta city Smart, and thus the Macro topic technology, was a topic which was widely discussed. Besides the connection to the Macro and Meso studies which were conducted, the excursion also contained useful for some of the Micro studies. The main focus of the excursion corresponded with the Micro studies with the topic Smart cities and Smart and sustainable transport. 

So to summarize, it was an interesting excursion in which we gained information on how South Korea incorporates smart technologies in urban context.