Urban Areas

1995 census data
City name City Proper
Andong 188443
Ansan 510314
Anyang 591106
Changweon 481694
Chechon 137070
Cheju 258511
Cheonan 330259
Cheongju 531376
Chinju 329886
Chonchu (Jeonju) 563153
Chuncheon 234528
Chungju 205206
Eujeongbu 276111
Hanam 115812
Inchon (Incheon) 2308188
Iri 322685
Jeongju 139111
Kangnung (Gangreung) 220403
Kumi (Gumi) 311431
Kunsan (Gunsan) 266569
Kwang myong 350914
Kwangchu (Gwangju) 1257636
Kimhae 256370
Kyong ju (Gyeongju) 272968
Kuri 142173
Kunpo 235233
Masan 441242
Mogpo 247452
Pohang 508899
Puchon (Bucheon) 779412
Pusan (Busan) 3814325
Seongnam 869094
Sejong City
SEOUL 10231217
Shihung 133443
Suncheon 249263
Suwon (Puwan) 755550
Taebaek 59397
Taegu (Daegu) 2449420
Taejon (Daejeon) 1272121
Ulsan 967429
Wonju 237460
Yosu 183596

Sejong City

Sejong is the de facto administrative capital city of the Republic of Korea. The USA has Washington DC, Australia has Canberra, Brazil has Brasília, and the Republic of Korea has Sejong. Or rather, it tries to have Sejong. Sejong City is a new multifunctional administrative city in Chungcheongnam-do. The city was named after Great King Sejong, who invented Korean characters, Hangeul, and secured the northern provincial areas of the Korean Peninsula. Sejong City becomes the 17th metropolitan city in Korea as of July 1, 2012. The distance between Seoul and Sejong is only 120 kilometers, and ultimately, Sejong may become one of the mega metropolis of Seoul. Sejong is about 70 percent the size of Seoul. It is currently in the first stage of its development plan, erecting a cluster of concrete buildings to be used as government agencies.

Sejong City is located in the central inner area of Chungcheongnam-do, and stretches south-north. Consequently, from ancient times, the current city areas were divided by the Charyeong Mountains and the Geum River into parts of Jeoneui, Yeongi, and Geumnam. However, with the recent road construction, those areas were combined into one.

The Sejong Government Complex is a 3.5 kilometres long mega structure that holds 10 ministries as well as a number of other government agencies. All government buildings in the government complex in the center of Sejong City are connected via bridges. It is the longest green rooftop in the world. Multiple level-bridges link the ministries with each other.

The Sejong Lake Park has Korea’s largest artificial lake, which is 62 times as big as a soccer field and has 3m of average water level. . The Sejong Lake Park has five artificial islands: the Festival Island as a place for various festivals, the Stage Island that can boast of being the best floating stage in Korea, the Pool Island that associates with the seashore in the city, and the Water Flower Island and the Marsh Island with various water plants and ecological marshes. Plus, a trail and bicycle road near the lake can be a place for Sejong citizens to have a leisurely and relaxed time.

Starting in the 1970s proposals were advanced to relocate the national capital from Seoul. In part this was a desire to relieve the population pressure on Seoul, in part it was a desire to make government administration more effective by having various ministries and other government functions located in close proximity of each other.

Sejong City was the idea of President Roh Moo-Hyun when he ran for the President in 2002. The motivation was to minimize Seoul’s strong dominance and to promote regional development in other areas of Korea. Seoul was (and still is) overcrowded, expensive and dominant in the local economy. This led to a huge pressure on all functions and it caused bottlenecks. There was a huge opposition to his plan and the Saenuri Party (it was called Grand National Party back then) blocked to change of the nation’s capital to a new location. The Act for the establishment of Sejong City was declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court, and accordingly revised in a downsized manner. President Roh Moo-hyun made the relocation of the South Korean capital to the swing region as the centerpiece of his administration in 2003, but the ambitious plan faced setbacks after the Constitutional Court ruled it unconstitutional in October 2004.

The Constitutional Court held that President Roh's bill to relocate the Capital City to Chungcheong Province, which was enacted to keep his election pledges, unconstitutional because the Special Act is contrary to the "constitutional custom" and lacked the necessary referendum for its amendment. The Constitutional Court Justices said that the Sejong City cannot take away Seoul's capital status as the Constitution refers to Seoul as the capital of Korea. As a result, the construction work of Sejong City had been drifting for more than two years even after ground was broken in July 2007 during the Roh administration.

Meanwhile, lawmakers from Chungcheong Province and opposition party lawmakers including presently Saenuri Party leader Park Geun-Hye, claimed that construction of the city should be carried out according to the original plan. Ruling Democratic Party lawmakers stuck to the revised plan and the City has been further downsized. Roh modified the project and planned to move the majority of ministries and government institutes to the city which would become a special administrative city.

In 2007 Balmori Associates won a competition to design the Master Plan for South Korea’s new administrative city. In February 2012, the Board of Audit and Inspection painted a grim picture for Sejong City, saying it has little potential to become a self-contained city. It said the city is unlikely to have the targeted population of 500,000 by 2030, as it failed to attract private construction investment, necessary for creating a viable residential complex. It cited insufficient benefits for private investors as such as tax incentives and government subsidies as the main reason.

The construction of central government department buildings is partly completed. By the end of 2015, only two-thirds of anticipated government functions had moved to Sejong. By that time, the city counted just over 100,000 inhabitants. By 2016 the city had one town(eup), 9 townships(myeon) and 14 administrative neighborhoods(dong). It borders Cheongju-si, Chungcheongbuk-do to the east, Gongju-si, Chungcheongnam-do to the west, Daejeon Metropolitan City to the south, and Cheonan-si to the north.

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