Taihoku Street and Market correction: Modifications in the inner city

Taipei city was the centre of Taihoku bounded by the city wall. Although the city wall was demolished by the Japanese Empire in early 1900’s, the correction and development plan remained the trace of the walls and gates. Main traffic roads were built around the walls and hence we can still find an inner city connected to the outer areas by traffics. Since the administrative departments and other important buildings were located in the inner city, the Japanese Empire paid  a great extent of attention towards correcting and developing the inner city.

The first measure the Japanese empire took was regulating the grid and clearing slums. A grid system has long been implemented by the Chinese government in Qing Dynasty in the start of taipei’s urbanisation. What the Japanese did was refining the grid, regulating the slanted lots and open up the boundary for outward connection of transportation. A huge rectangular residential complex facing southwest was replaced by regular lots of military bases. This is the move with the greatest impact to the original city plan made by the planners. The Japanese government also organised the messy residential slum areas by replacing them with more regular housing blocks. This made the inner city a more organised place to live and administer.

One other construction done by the planners was to move the government house from the edge towards a more central part of the inner city. This relocated the city centre to let citizens engage more in the city.

1903 map  1905 map Taipei City in 1903 versus plan in 1905

The second focus of the development plan is the road correction. The Japanese government planned out the main road inside the city. The main roads were straight and wide so as to at the same time let heavy traffics circulate around the city and towards the boundary. As mentioned above, a triple-layered traffic road became the new gates and walls of between the inner city and the outer transportation network. Therefore, this correction of the main road system played an important role on bringing transports into and out of Teipei inner city.

1907 map Road correction in 1907

Another crucial urban policy carried out by the Japanese government was to divide the area into function-oriented districts. Residential housing, military bases, administrative department, infrastructural buildings, etc were distributed in different zones throughout the city. This demonstrated the idea of an industrial city in a more complex and compact scale. Efficiency in different aspect would be raised; the administration and military could be controlled more easily; other related issues like hygiene and electrical network could also be managed in an organised way. With the modern mindset of efficiency and organisation, this development and correction plan by the Japanese made the inner city more productive and comfortable.

function Taipei city in 1911 with functional zones

Despite the fact that big modifications might not be found on the city maps from 1903 to 1911, the Japanese Empire did work on the city planning in different ways in order to bring subtle improvement to the inner city. Since the inner city was the heart of Taihoku, organising this administration-focus district was important to Japan in colonising Taiwan. This is one of the reason why effort was put into urbanising the inner city by the Japanese Empire.

Bibliography and Reference:

Liao, Cheng-hung. Urbanization in Taiwan: 1900-1985. Taipei: National Taiwan University, 1987.
“Google Map/Earth觀察報@Sinica » 台灣百年歷史地圖.” Accessed December 9, 2016. http://www.bing.com/cr?IG=6ED69AA263A64390890FF68F66D7E516&CID=2305648042266C6A20AF6D6643176D73&rd=1&h=_YenzPkUnOSNIEpfdKMPb0SVDNrapDC-Vn46oYd1JyI&v=1&r=http://gis.rchss.sinica.edu.tw/google/?p=1733&p=DevEx,5145.1.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.