A Village of Encounters: Growing tourism in Gangwon fishing villages.

I am designing a port and a few minbaks in Galnam village for North Korean workers from the fishery and service sectors such that North koreans can port there and earn hard cash working while greying fishing village Galnam can adapt and leverage off growing east coast tourism with North Koreans as the new draw.

Our project looked at KoreanEast Coast tourism and infrastructure like the Nangmankaido and Donghae Bukbu line but noticed that despite growing domestic tourism along the East Coast, the major port cities was still missing their international impact within the region compared to their past. We think an East Coast sea network to connect the ports of Gangwon together with neighbouring Japan and even Russia would be a strategic regional move to reinvigorate the Gangwon.

As we studies Gangwon ports, we realised that all ports are different, with different ports specializing in industry, ferry shipping or fisheries, so the canabalisation of tourism between the ports seem unlikely. For our project specifically, we saw that small fishing villages like Galnam were aging and unable to compete with larger modern fishing ports was an excellent opportunity for these ports to transition into a newer sustainable tourism model for economic survival. The vIllage of Galnam had already begun opening up to tourism, so testing a more grounded tourism approach at Galnam was an excellent opportunity.

As part of the East Coast sea network, we also acknowledge the potential for diplomatic ties with North Korea by including their port cities. As North Korea has a high demand for hard cash, if fishermen and service sector North Koreans use the Sea Network to port of call at Galnam and participated in the Galnam ecology as economic workers, in a special economic zone arrangement for this tourism village plan, Galnam could rebrand itself as a toursim village collaborating with North Koreans North Korean fishermen and North Korean businesses operating specially in Galnam would become a spectacle which draws in more tourists than usual, domestic and international. Galnam residents would transit smoothly into the tourism economy while North Koreas workers earn a good profit.

As such, our intervention at Galnam will be one of encounters: a deliberate, grand encounter between tourists and North Korean fishermen at a brand new port we will build, as well as a subtle serendipitous encounters between tourists and North Korean workers within the organic streets of Galnam. The new port will support higher logistical demands at Galnam which our intervention attempts to enable, crafting a sense of arrival from both sea and from land. In the village itself, inserting new minbaks that function as dormitories and business spaces for North Koreans can reframe existing urban spaces in small public squares and enable exploring tourists to casually encounter North Koreans.


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