ENR annual awards program.
Courtesy of Gale International
Experimenter Gale is creating a city-in-the-box methodology to facilitate future developments.


Stanley C. Gale's grandfather made waves by moving east from New York City and building summer homes along Long Island Sound. Nine decades later, his grandson is making even bigger waves by moving even farther east to create the world's largest private development.

His grandfather's project sat on reclaimed land in Huntington. The $35-billion Songdo International Business District (IBD), which will enclose 100 million sq ft, sits on 1,500 reclaimed acres along the Yellow Sea in Incheon in the Republic of Korea. "We are the first non-Korean firm to own land in South Korea," says Gale, chairman of Gale International.

At 40% completion, Songdo IBD already is considered a model eco-city. It will soon be the planet's "smartest" city, with a population linked by information and communications technology.

The developer and its partners are archiving the Songdo IBD creation process to develop a "city in a box" methodology. The goal is to compress the development time line for future projects, hopefully by about two-thirds. "Songdo is the blueprint and DNA for making other cities, but each requires its own unique design and development," says Gale, who considers himself an experimental builder.

"Stan Gale is fearless and tenacious and willing to entertain [and execute] big ideas that might seem unrealistic to others," says James von Klemperer, a principal of Songdo IBD's planner, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, New York City.

"He's a great team builder," adds David Scott, a principal in the New York City office of engineer Arup, another Songdo team member.

Songdo IBD is sparking lots of interest. More than 50 visitors and delegations from other nations, including including China, Russia, India, Vietnam and Honduras, have toured the new town.