The IBD currently measures 60 million square feet. By 2020, it will nearly double.
For that reason, it could be too early to say whether Songdo will become a thriving urban center.
Around 70,000 people work in Songdo, which is far fewer than the 300,000 people the city government had envisioned.
However, some residents have complained that the IBD and the larger Songdo City are too secluded from Seoul — the country's economic, political, and cultural hub. It takes over an hour to reach the capital.
Songdo City produces a third fewer greenhouse gases compared to another city of the same size.
IBD has over 100 buildings that are LEED-certified — the world's most widely used green rating system.
Another perk of living in the district: there are no trash trucks. Instead, a pneumatic tube system sucks the trash from chutes in residential buildings to a central sorting facility in seconds. There, it's either turned into energy or recycled.
The IBD is one part of a larger development, called the Incheon Free Economic Zone in Songdo City, spearheaded by the South Korean government.
Around 40% of the area is reserved for green space (about double that of New York City), which also encourages residents to walk, Gale said.
Fifteen miles of bike lanes go through the district, connecting to a larger 90-mile network in Songdo City.
BD features a mixed-use urban plan, meaning its retail, office space, parks, medical facilities, and schools are all close to housing. Most non-residential buildings are walking distance from everything else.
From the first planning stage, the developers aimed to make the district eco-friendly. One strategy was designing the area to reduce the need for cars.
In Songdo City, South Korea, Gale International is building the International Business District (IBD) on reclaimed land along the Yellow Sea.