Songpa-Gu, Seoul, Korea, Sisterhood Partnership
Area: 13.09 sq. mi.
Mayor: Kim Young-Soon
- July 13, 2009 - Fairfax County Board of Supervisors hosted a delegation from Songpa-gu, a district of Seoul, Korea, led by Mayor Kim Young-Soon.
September, 2009 - Songpa-gu received a delegation
from Fairfax County.
Songpa-gu sought Fairfax County for the sisterhood partnership after researching U.S. jurisdictions and finding many similarities. Songpa-Gu has experienced most of its growth within a relatively short period of time: residents are among the highest paid in Korea; and the schools are excellent.
Fairfax County's new sister jurisdiction grew up around the area of Seoul that was the site of the 1988 Olympics. Songpa-Gu, like Fairfax County, has made protecting and preserving the environment a major priority – the Han River is now used for drinking water and the riverbank in many places has been restored for pristine park and recreational uses. Like Fairfax County, Songpa-Gu is struggling with how to address traffic congestion; Seoul’s “Climate Change Action Plan” includes references to Bus Rapid Transit and to subway and bicycle infrastructure expansions that sound familiar. Songpa-gu, with a population of about 700,000 is concentrated on a relatively small (13 sq. mile) footprint. The district has a spacious airy feeling, as it is laced with parks, green spaces, public art and recreational spaces.
This sisterhood partnership will include opportunities for student and teacher exchanges, as well as collaborations among professional staffs – particularly in the areas of technology, land use planning, transportation and economic development. This continues to be on the condition that taxpayer dollars not be used for the purpose of this partnership. Barry Biggar of Visit Fairfax is coordinating activities.