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Green Building & Sustainable Development

New Songdo in Korea Named as 'Green Urbanism' Pilot Project

The New Songdo City International Business District in South Korea being developed by New York's Gale International has been accepted as a pilot project and partner by the US Green Building Council for its LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) certification, the first national standard for neighborhood design.

The LEED-ND rating system for green urbanism will be a tool to help planners and developers create communities that not only protect the environment, but also address important public health issues. Songdo International Business District will play a pioneering role in helping to set this standard for sustainable urban planning and smart growth based on criteria such as density, proximity to transit, environmental preservation, mixed housing type, and pedestrian-friendly design.

Songdo International Business District (IBD) is unusual in that it is seeking LEED-ND certification for an entire city. By its very design -- the result of a ground-up, master plan based on sustainability principles -- Songdo will be an environmental standout not only in Asia, where many urban areas are in a state of environmental crisis, but the world.

Songdo is one of only three LEED-ND projects in Asia (two much smaller projects are in China), and one of only five outside the United States and Canada. Indeed, Songdo IBD is by far the largest project outside North America to be included in the 18- month pilot program.

"LEED-ND is about more than green buildings -- it's about enhancing and protecting the overall health, natural environment and quality of life of a community," said Stanley C. Gale, Chairman and Managing Partner of Gale International.

"We believe LEED-ND will set the standard, both in the U.S. and internationally, for sustainable neighborhoods and cities for decades to come," said John B. Hynes, III, CEO and Managing Partner of Gale International.

"The LEED for Neighborhood Development program goes beyond individual green buildings and focuses on community-wide design and development," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. "Our pilot projects are pioneers, and are leading the way for the development of smarter and healthier communities."

Gale International is a premier international real estate investment and development company with headquarters in New York and offices in Boston; Irvine, California; Seoul and New Songdo City, South Korea. Gale began constructing the $25 billion, 1,500-acre Songdo International Business District in 2004 in a 70/30 joint venture partnership with POSCO E&C.

It is estimated that when completed in 2014, Songdo will be home to 65,000 people and that 300,000 will work there. Songdo is located along the coast of Incheon, 35 miles southwest of Seoul, and will be linked directly to Incheon International Airport by a 7.4 mile highway bridge.

Songdo IBD's participation in the LEED-ND pilot is being overseen by YRG Sustainability Consultants. Whitman Strategy Group, Gale International's primary environmental advisor, and Terrapin Bright Green are also key contributors to the initiative. In addition Gale International intends to work closely with the recently formed Korea Green Building Council.

Long-term sustainability and the minimization of the city's carbon footprint have been considered in every design and engineering decision by master-plan architect Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC, and chief engineers Arup and Cosentini Associates.

"Green principles permeate Songdo's DNA making it a model of the best environmental practices not only today, but also adaptable for future challenges," said Christine Todd Whitman, President of the Whitman Strategy Group and former Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mrs. Whitman is a member of the Gale International Advisory Board.

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