Taipei (1996-2006)/ Community Environment Remodelling Scheme: 1-2 Referendum in Taipei – Embarking upon Liberation of Civil Rights
The latent causes for the rise of communitarianism in urban planning were sown in the midst of urban crisis and the lifting of martial laws. The 1980s was the period when the urban growth had gotten out of control, whereas people lusted after for public facilities. Given that civil rights came at the expense of the development oriented urban planning, people were at loggerheads with being pruned of a transparent decision making mechanism. The period marked the rallying point for public supervision, community engagement in urban planning. Referendums and petitions were acting against a backdrop of waning public support for bureaucracy and top-down urban planning.
To name the referendums in Taipei during 1990s, i.e. The Fifth Naphtha Cracker Plant in Houjing Referendum, The Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao Referendum, The Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei Referendum and Xizhi Road Referendum, all were community-based referendums with an average of fifty per cent of turnout rate and not in national. Never before has the government respected the voting result of referendum, Yong Kang Park Pedestrian Lane Referendum was the first to receive positive response from the authority which embarked the upward trajectory to institutionalization of participatory planning into the urban planning framework. Despite being devoid of legal power, the referendum was the forerunner of community-based reactive movement which essentially poses challenge to the existing decision-making mechanisms, raising questions to what’s to effectively express public opinion with regard to environmental issues and urban renewal. Such referendum exemplifies the process of community empowerment and construction and thereby highly representative of democratic communitarianism and citizens’ urban governance.