A Preliminary Study for a Korean Demilitarized Zone Land-Use Plan after Reunification

Authors: Hwang Sunghan*, Daeduk University, Joseph Henderson*, Georgia Gwinnett College
Topics: Military Geography, Land Use, Asia
Keywords: Demilitarized Zone, Korea, unification, land use
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: 8216, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), an unfortunate legacy of the Korean War, is a 250-km long frontier between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). This uninhabited stretch of land, about 4 km wide, is surrounded by the world’s most heavily militarized border. With the recent thawing of relations between South and North Korea, the potential for reunification of the Korean peninsula, however remote the possibility, necessitates a geographic study of the DMZ from the perspective of a unified Korea. A historical parallel can be seen in the German “Green Belt” which was established 13 years after the re-unification of Germany. While the concept for the German “Green Belt” was not developed until after the Berlin Wall began to fall, this paper seeks a proactive approach to early planning for the preservation and development of DMZ areas. As was the case in Europe, a number of studies have already focused on the biodiversity and unique ecological aspects of the DMZ and its rare species. This preliminary study is a first step to create a comprehensive master plan that: (1) identifies rare ecosystems in need of preservation (2) develops a system of transportation to seamlessly connect the North and South via roads and railways (3) identifies areas for industry and urban development (4) earmarks specific areas for tourist parks to commemorate the historical significance of the DMZ. This plan will enhance the spatial connectivity of the peninsula while preserving precious historical and environmental treasures.

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