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Pohang, South Korea

Photo courtesy Minjee-Clara Kim




Established: 1949

Overall area: 1128.8 km2

Population: 523,500 



Area: 21.4 km2

Program: Metal manufacturing

Urban form: Residential and industrial fabrics, separated by a river
Industrial typologies: Uniform in character and industry type, all of the factories are steel processing facilities; sizes range from small and moderate to a mega campus (POSCO)
Largest employers: 
POSCO (9,500 employees), Hyundai Steel Company (unknown)

Pohang was originally incorporated in 1949 as a maritime city, though it traces its origins to settlements dating back two millennia. Until the late 1950s Pohang was primarily a fishing port with seafood processing and marine products as its main industries.


The city underwent a major growth period following the 1960s when the Pohang Steel Company (POSCO) built Korea’s first integrated steel mill, established with the help of a public subsidy and support from the Korean government. Today POSCO is the world's fourth-largest steelmaker.


Given its long history of development and mountainous topography, Pohang’s street network does not reflect an orderly pattern. Despite this, two distinctive areas have emerged in the inner city: a historic city center to the north of the river and an industrial area to the river’s south. 

Location                                                             Relationship                                                     Infrastructure

The Hyeongsan River physically separates Pohang’s southeastern industrial areas from the older, residential and commercial parts of the city, partially mitigates the environmental impact of manufacturing activities. An arterial road and a railroad line cross the river.


Newer residential enclaves developed in the 1980s and 1990s spread around the southeastern periphery of the industrial zone. Surrounded by forest to the east and the East Sea to the west, the city’s port access facilitates shipping to and from Pohang, making the location appealing to manufacturers. 

Pohang's industrial land is subdivided into a finer scale by a network of smaller roads. The largest steel manufacturing company, POSCO, occupies most of the territory within Pohang’s industrial zone, occupying the claw-shaped tip of the landmass. The smaller steel companies are all located to the south of POSCO.


As shown in the diagram, the land for smaller companies is subdivided into relatively smaller parcels by the road network. Aside from the Hyundai Steel Company, which is the second largest factory in the area, the smaller companies largely depend on POSCO’s production processes using scrap metals and other leftover resources. 


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