The outer city wall development- Integration of diverse city fabric

Soto Shimpei, as the civil administrator during the early development, was empowered in board range of social aspects in Taihoku, including the security, political, infrastructural and economical institutions, which gave him a holistic view for planning Taihoku. Before the development, the inner city was more like a vacant lot. From the 1897 mapping of the existing condition (fig 1), about 50% of land within the city walls was undeveloped, which were primarily used for agriculture. To urbanize the city, Shimpei first improve the inner-city infrastructure and zoning, which was covered in another essay “Taihoku Street and Market correction: Modifications in the inner city” by Wong Lik Kin.


To further urbanize Taihoku, Shimpei reckoned that the connection and development to the outer city wall was crucial. Therefore, after his extensive studies on the old custom and traditional Chinese settlement, he made a progressive and expansive urban policy (Allen, 2012). Firstly, in 1901, he made development on the vacant lots on the south and west side beyond the city wall, where they were zoned as Japanese residential area (Ximending), and new industrial and economic zones. However, until this stage, the original Chinese settlement area, Dadaocheng and Mengjia, stayed largely untouched, and were isolated from the city center and newly developed area outside the city wall. Therefore, in his later urban planning map in 1905 “Taipei City Area Remodeling Plan” (fig 2), the full vision of shimpei’s urban strategies was finally manifested. In this plan, he made a major innovation to intergrate the Japanese and the Chinese sections of the city, and Taihoku was finally put together as a concept as one city (Allen, 2012). The formerly isolated city was transformed into porous and integrated city. The city walls were demolished and replaced with major boulevards circulating around the city core. The inner-city core, was connected extensively with both the Japanese new development area, and the old Mengjia and Dadaocheng area. The infrastructure, railway and roads system penetrates through different settlement areas, economic zones and back to the business and financial zone in the city core. As a result, the Taihoku city was brought together as an integrated city, both in financial, cultural and social means, and its orders were maintained with the help of local forces, which was Bao-jia system mentioned in the previous essay.


To specifically illustrate how the old Chinese fabric incorporated into the new westernized city core, the case in Mengjia will be introduced. To link the inner-city grid to the Mengjia area, Shimpei reclaimed a vast area of vacant marshland, and incorporate the major city road grid with the road grid system of Mengjia (fig2), linking the two areas both physically and economically, while providing further grid for later development. Similar approach was used to incorporate the Dadaocheng area, fully integrating the Chinese economy and man sources into the inner-city core.


Meanwhile, new development area was built for the Japanese immigrant. Apart from the previously mentioned Ximending, the eastern suburb was also extensively developed, in which a fully Japanese style architecture and housing community was planned by Shimpei. Which was contrary to the western and southern zone of the city core, where the architecture was integrated with the original westernized or Chinese style buildings. The connected yet unique elements and city fabrics coexisted and collaborated together, respecting the Chinese tradition, while satisfying the needs for Japanese economic revenue and development.


All in all, the 1905 Urban plan by Shimpei has envisioned the development of Taipei that is still influential nowadays. Until the next stage of development in 1930s, the integrated city that he envisioned has not been changed largely, the changes include majorly infilling the plan that he original drew. By the late 1920s, the city population has already grown to 250000, compared to the original population of 86755 in 1905 (Allen, 2012). Thanks to Shimpei’s respects to the original Chinese tradition and settlement, and his extensive “biological principles” researches, he significantly improved the lives of the existing Chinese residents, and successfully utilize the local manpower for Japanese economic development. His extensive and broad dimensional approaches towards a successful urban planning are still applicable for nowadays society, in which integrating old and new city fabrics is always a major challenge.

1897 mapping of original condition of Taiwan, showing the emptiness of the original Taipei city. Source:
1897 mapping of original condition of Taiwan, showing the emptiness of the original Taipei city.
The “Taipei City Area Remodeling Plan” , showing how the inner city core is connected with the Mengjia and Dadaocheng area through the newly built roads(marked in red). Source:
The “Taipei City Area Remodeling Plan” , showing how the inner city core is connected with the Mengjia and Dadaocheng area through the newly built roads(marked in red).



Shiyung Liu, 2006. Building a strong and healthy empire: the critical period of building colonial medicine in Taiwan.

Jan van Bremen,Akitoshi Shimizu, 1999. Anthropology and Colonialism in Asia: Comparative and Historical Colonialism. Published by Routlege Curzon.

Joseph R. Allen, 2012. Taipei: City of Displacements. Published by the University of Washington Press.

Chang Han-Yu and Ramon H. Myers, 1963. Japanese Colonial Development Policy in Taiwan, 1895-1906: A Case of Bureaucratic Entrepreneurship. The Journal of Asian Studies. Published by Association of Asian Studies.

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