While economic gloom hangs over much of the world, electronics giant Cisco and other businesses are drooling over the business potential in a new wave of “instant cities” designed for up to a million people each.

Songdo, a new city along South Korea’s western coast, opened for business in 2009 and is still growing. A product of government encouragement and private developers, the $35 billion project “boasts the wide boulevards of Paris, a 100-acre Central Park reminiscent of New York City, a system of pocket parks similar to those in Savannah, a modern canal system inspired by Venice and convention center architecture redolent of the famed Sydney Opera House,” according to the city’s website

The city is designed to be hardwired for technology from the ground up, and so environmentally friendly that it will emit just one-third of the greenhouse gases one would expect from a city its size.

Chinese officials are reportedly visiting Songdo for a close look. With huge chests of money and even more people back in China, they’re looking to purchase their own instant cities — possibly 500 of them. And, experts say, 300 new cities of similar size are needed to house the burgeoning population of India. It’s no wonder that business people are pumped: the investment bank CIBC World Markets has estimated that governments will spend $45 trillion in public works projects during the next two decades.

 While the notions of a “city in a box” inspires business folk with visions of dollar signs, I can’t help but be reminded of another new city, the New Jerusalem, the “city built foursquare.” Revelation 21:16 describes the eternal city as being shaped like a cube, 1400 miles on each side. Imagine how many people that city could hold!

In the divine economy, there’s room for everyone.

[Photo from www.songdo.com.]

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