Bundang is the southernmost district (gu) of Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. In addition to being the most populous part of the city, it also has the status of being one of the wealthiest regions in Gyeonggi Province. Unlike many other parts of the greater Seoul area, which developed naturally over many years, from the beginning Bundang was designed and built according to a detailed plan. It is a well organized city with well laid-out streets, new apartment buildings, numerous parks and good local infrastructure.
Bundang Central Park is the most famous of the numerous parks in the city. The Tancheon river runs through Bundang. The Seongnam Arts Center is also situated in Bundang. Bundang also has its own subway line which connects the city to the South Korean capital, Seoul.
Bundang has developed to the point where it has become a local political issue whether or not Bundang should become a separate city from the rest of Seongnam. According to its proponents, this would free up tax revenues currently being used in the other districts of the city to go towards public works in Bundang exclusively.
The name Bundang was first created while Korea was under Japanese rule, when colonial officials undertook a national reorganization of all administrative units in 1914. The villages of Bunjeom-ri (분점리, 盆店里) and Dangwu-ri (당우리, 唐隅里), were amalgamated to form the new village of Bundang-ri (분당리, 盆唐里). The first characters from the names of each of the original villages were merged to make the name, which continues to be used today.
However, it was discovered, during an investigation undertaken while Bundang was being developed, that the character for Dang did not correspond to the one used centuries ago. Soon after Korea was annexed by Japan, in fact, the traditional Chinese character used to write the Dang in Dangwu-ri had been altered. In another land reorganization conducted in 1906, soon after Ito Hirobumi was appointed Resident General of Korea, the character was changed from 堂 to 唐. The new character means the Tang Dynasty of China (pronounced Dang, 당, in Korean), which in 688, assisted the kingdom of Silla to conquer the other two Korean kingdoms of Baekje and Goguryeo, during the Three Kingdoms period. While this was the first unification of the peninsula, it was conducted through military conquest by a country conspiring with a foreign power. There have been various opinions as to why authorities made the decision to replace the character, none of which can be substantiated.
Nevertheless, the character for dang currently being used in Bundang today has a poor connotation, and so there is debate among scholars and administrators as to whether it should be reverted to the pre-colonial character 堂, which means house.
Since the Joseon Dynasty, the land Bundang currently occupies was a part of the county of Gwangju. This largely agricultural area was nothing like the present day, dotted as it was with dozens of small villages. Before the early 1990s, Bundang was a large farmland of rice paddies.
The local government announced on April 27, 1989, that it would undertake construction of a futuristic and environmentally conscious city with a population of 450,000 people. Sixteen dongs in the surrounding area were to be amalgamated into a single city. This would include nine dongs from Dolma-myeon: Bundang-dong, Sunae-dong, Seohyeon-dong, Jeongja-dong, Imae-dong, Yatap-dong, Dochon-dong, Yeosu-dong and Yuldong; in addition to six dongs from Nakseng-myeon: Gumi-dong, Baekhyun-dong, Dongwon-dong, Geumgok-dong, Sampyeong-dong and Gungnae-dong; and one dong from Daewong-myeon: Sasong-dong. Bundang was adopted as this new district's popular name.
In the early 1990s, the Bundang area became a planned community as a response to alleviating the excessive demand for apartments in the similarly affluent, but much older Gangnam area. Before this period of expansion, however, there was mostly farmland in this area. There are still a few farms in the Bundang area, particularly in the Pangyo area. As the demand for more housing continues, Bundang is expected to continue expanding.
The primary site of construction was situated along a ten kilometer strip of the Gyeongbu Expressway, with the expectation that high quality homes would be built there. The government assigned the heavy responsibility of carrying out its construction plans to the Korea Land Corporation, a government-owned construction company that had carried out other large scale construction projects in the country. Throughout the development process there were mass demonstrations of local residents protesting the construction, petitions, and demands for countermeasures against the redevelopment project. Despite these numerous difficulties, through dialogue and compromise residents, construction was completed with little incident. Construction began on August 30, 1989 and was completed on December 31, 1996 at a cost of 4.16 trillion won.
On the outskirts of Bundang there is an IB World School with a boarding program for foreign students called Gyeonggi Suwon International School (GSIS). Given its relative affluence, many private language academies are located in Bundang.
Bundang is home to Gyeonggi Province's only international banks, Citibank and HSBC. Their presence serves to further solidify Bundang's reputation as an upscale area. A total of 174 companies in Bundang employ 29,783 people. This also includes several notable corporations, including the corporate headquarters of Korea Telecom, better known as KT and leading Korean internet portal Naver. In addition, the state owned Korea Land Corporation and Korea Gas Corporation both have their headquarters in Bundang.
Culture and Tourism
Bundang is chiefly residential, so it is well off the tourist track. There are few ancient relics, sights or buildings of note. There are, however, two pleasant parks which have been established for residents' pleasure. Bundang Central Park, east of the road between Seohyeon and Sunae Stations, has a lake, fountain and several old houses, while Yuldong Park, to the east, has a larger reservoir and a bungee jumping platform, 45 m high.
Bundang is also home to St. John's Cathedral which is one of the largest Roman Catholic cathedrals on the Asian continent. It is conspicuously located on the eastern part of Bundang. It employs a balance of both modern as well as gothic-style architecture. It also features an authentic, detail-by-detail replica of Michelangelo's Pietà; one of only three in the world officially authorized by the Vatican.
Residents can enjoy musical and theatrical performances as well as art exhibitions at the recently opened (Oct, 2005) Seongnam Arts Center, which is located in Imae-dong. There are two public libraries in the Bundang area, the Seongnam Central Library in Yatap-dong and the Bundang Culture and Information Center in Jeongja-dong. The Bundang Museum of Nature is located in Jeongja-dong. The Seongnam Cultural Center is located in Yatap-dong.
There are several nightlife areas, most notably the streets around Seohyeon Station, the quieter, more restaurant-oriented area around Sunae Station, and the junction under which lies Migeum Station. The nightlife areas of Bundang are more wholesome than those in the rest of Seongnam (infamous for love hotels and places of dubious nature and the red light district in Joong-dong).
Bundang is served well by public transport, with many buses, and an underground railway. The Bundang Line connects to the Seoul Underground network at Moran, Bokjeong, Suseo, Dogok and Seolleung Stations. Recently, it has been extended south into the city of Yongin, and further extensions to this line are planned, with it being intended to stretch south to Giheung before sweeping west to Suwon and eventually even to Incheon, when, presumably, it will be renamed. The Airport Limousine, which runs to both Gimpo and Incheon airports, has several stops in Bundang including Seohyeon Station, Sunae Station, Jeongja Station, Migeum Station, Ori Station, Imae Station,and Yatap Station. The New Bundang Line which connects to the Seoul Subway at (Gangnam station) is being constructed. Bundang is also close to Seoul Ring Expressway and Gyeongbu Expressway.
Notable shopping malls include Samsung Plaza at Seohyeon Station, Lotte Department Store at Sunae Station, E-mart, New Core, Home plus and Kim's Club at Yatap Station, 2001 Outlet at Migeum Station, and Nonghyup Hanaro Mart, Homever at Ori Station. As another planned city called "Pangyo" is being built next to Bundang as of 2008 and many large-scale shopping malls are expected to come into that area, people in Bundang would enjoy better shopping experiences in the near future.
Bundang is divided into 19 dong (동, "neighborhoods"):
- Bundang-dong (분당동)
- Gumi-dong (구미동)
- Geumgok-1-dong (금곡1동)
- Geumgok-2-dong (금곡2동)
- Imae-1-dong (이매1동)
- Imae-2-dong (이매2동)
- Jeongja-1-dong (정자1동)
- Jeongja-2-dong (정자2동)
- Jeongja-3-dong (정자3동)
- Pangyo-dong (판교동)
- Seohyeon-1-dong (서현1동)
- Seohyeon-2-dong (서현2동)
- Sunae-1-dong (수내1동)
- Sunae-2-dong (수내2동)
- Sunae-3-dong (수내3동)
- Unjung-dong (운중동)
- Yatap-1-dong (야탑1동)
- Yatap-2-dong (야탑2동)
- Yatap-3-dong (야탑3동)
|Please help improve this section by expanding it. Further information might be found on the talk page. (May 2008)|
- Lee Jee Young (professional golfer, b.1985)
- Lee Eun-ju (actress, b.1980 - d.2005)
- Lee Soo Young (singer, b.1979, 1999 - present)
- Lee Yeon Hee (actress and model, b. 1988)
- (Korean) 김기빈, 분당의 땅이름 이야기(The story of the name of Bundang), 1999, 한국토지공사 토지박물관