Saturday, December 12, 2009


This isn't Gangwon-related, but I lived in Masan for a year-and-a-half so I feel connected to the area.  A number of in-laws live there, as well.

Three cities in Kyeongsangnam Do are integrating, to become a super-city.  Masan, Changwon and Jinhae are three cities which already share a public bus system.  Their city councils have already approved the plan and are waiting for approval from the Provincial Council of South Gyeongsang Province (Yes, 'Province' is in the title twice -I'm copying from the Herald). Since the Provincial Council is based in Changwon, I guess disapproving of the plan would make things uncomfortable.

From the Herald:

The Provincial Council of South Gyeongsang Province is scheduled to put a bill on the merger of the three cities to a floor vote next Monday.
If put into practice, the plan will give birth to one of the largest cities across the nation, which will have a total population of 1.08 million.
The Times includes the same material but also points out some opposition:

However, the new city comes at a cost because it is being pushed by the government with little consensus among residents of the three cities. As a matter of fact, Changwon's council vote was conducted in an up-and-down manner, after a residents' referendum plan was ditched. The two other cities also didn't conduct a referendum, citing administrative inconvenience. 

Critics claim that the big city will siphon off all resources for the region, making it hard for the remaining 18 local governments to set up their own development plan. 

"It will result in a vicious cycle of the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer," said an official from a local government that is not included in the three-way merger.

The new city will face a number of problems starting with its name and location of its City Hall, among others, an urban expert said.

I don't know what to think about the merger.  The three cities are close together and are basically merged in fact if not officially.  Jinhae -and I was only ever a tourist there- seems to have a different feel than the other two cities.  Masan and Changwon can both be considered beautiful, but are definitely industrial towns, while Jinhae is more of an oversized fishing village. Just as everyone should visit Kyeongju while in Korea, everyone should visit Jinhae in mid-Spring to see the cherry blossoms.

Her blog is more slice-of-life than political news, but Live From Masan may have more details.  She may have to change the name of her blog soon.

Oh, I think the name of the new city should be Gaya.

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