By the waterfront of Incheon in South Korea lies Songdo. Dubbed as the country’s “smartest” city, it’s been built from the ground up to become the ultramodern city it is today–a wonder of technology bringing the term “eco-friendly” to a whole other level.
Think built-in computers in every building and street, as well as garbage chutes which suck waste underground.
But Songdo’s claim to fame doesn’t stop there. It’s modern utopia-like surroundings has made it popular among filmmakers as a filming location for multiple dramas, movies and even music videos.
Among them include “Descendants of the Sun”, where the Songdo G-Tower made an appearance. The rooftop of the 33-floor skyscraper is also accessible to members of the public looking for a panoramic view of the city.
Not too far away, also in Songdo Central Park is the Northeast Asia Trade Tower. Filming for “Goblin”, another household name for fans of Korean dramas was held here as well.
In the romantic fantasy “My Love From The Stars”, the character Do Min-Joon heroically saves Cheon Song-Yi from falling down the cliff. This setting was made possible at the Incheon Songdo Mountain, an abandoned quarry. The same male lead also played the role of a university professor at the Songdo campus of Incheon University in the drama.
And surely many can recall the infamous music video of PSY’s “Gangnam Style” which took the world by storm at the time of its release in 2012. The underground parking lot? That was the parking lot of a building in Songdo. And that bawdy scene where an actor dances on top of PSY as he’s on all fours? Filmed in an elevator of the same building too!
So, if one weren’t in the know, they’d probably say that Songdo is the “Tomorrow City” it boasts itself to be, flocked day and night by tourists. But what if that wasn’t so?
Even with a slew of triumphs behind its back, the city hasn’t been seeing nearly as much tourism as it should have as a result of being host to so many filming locations. To the extent of being called a No Man’s Land, the unsettling emptiness of the city has even been compared to the desolation of Chernobyl.
We can only hope that the pristine metropolitan will be able to spike tourism with the help of more and more established film projects in the area.
• In Songdo, there are no trash cans or garbage trucks!
• An impressive 40% of the city is to be made up of green parkland.
Text by Ng Shen Lee