Kangnung has almost no suburbs. (May 2000)
(Please read this before you copy our photo or text.)

With a population of about 50 million in an area a little larger than the state of Indiana, South Korea can't afford to waste land. Grass is a luxury, and in quite a few places where other countries would plant grass, Korea grows food.

Thus it is that many Korean cities just don't have suburbs -- at least not ones Americans would recognize. No split-level homes with 3-car garages here. When the cities build out, the housing looks a lot like what's in the city, except that it's newer.

Beyond these suburbs, such as they are, that's it -- the farms begin. These fields are just a few hundred meters from the apartment complex where Margaret lived for her first 3 months in Kangnung.

Koreans eat more western food these days, but rice is still a very large part of their diet. That's what you see growing here. When I shot this photo in May of 2000, the rice fields had just been planted with greenhouse shoots and flooded.

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