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Gunpo, Republic of Korea

  • City population: 
    283,311
  • City/Urban area: 
    36.41
  • Population Density: 
    More than 500 inhabitants per km²
  • GDP – city: 
    Between USD 15,000 and USD 25,000
  • GDP - country: 
    USD$ 27,221
  • Average number of years of schooling: 
    16

Small city, big citizens

Gunpo is a typical, planned boom-town located in the south-western part of Gyeonggi Province. Featuring a comfortable transportation network and the outstanding natural beauty of Mt. Suri and Lake Banwol, Gunpo is Korea’s most liveable city, where people can come to relax.

Vision and motivation

Gunpo has led the way in developing a Learning City model. For example, it was the first municipality in Korea to enact a local ordinance establishing a Commission for the Promotion of Lifelong Learning (11 October 1997) and to convene the commission (28 August 1998). Gunpo also launched Korea’s first community service centres running various lifelong learning programmes. Furthermore, Gunpo has created a ‘sustainable lifelong learning culture’ by ‘enhancing citizens’ humanities knowledge’ through a series of lectures on literature, history and philosophy, and by ‘building a book-reading environment’ that allows citizens to read books whenever they want, wherever they are.

Challenges and goals

As Gunpo’s ageing population increases, so do its welfare costs. As a result, a number of strategies must be developed to prepare for a drop in the number of school-age children and economically active inhabitants. Moreover, as the ratio of women to men in the labour force decreases, plans should be established to improve full-time homemakers’ job skills and provide them with pathways to employment.

Plan and implementation

Gunpo has 80 libraries and 84 per cent of its citizens are library members, thus contributing to an infrastructure of lifelong learning. To foster reading, Gunpo will build cooperations between global Learning Cities and regional entities, and encourage citizen participation by setting up learning circles. Moreover, the city aims to tailor learning provisions to meet its citizens’ needs. Gunpo is operating village learning venues, using family living areas as learning spaces, and providing facilities such as the Gunpo Community Lifelong Learning Centre and Lifelong Learning Town. Through these projects, Gunpo will foster social integration, cultivate community spirit and enhance its competitiveness.

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