Taipei (1996-2006)/ Community Environment Remodelling Scheme: 3-2 – Rise of Participatory Community Planning in Taipei in 1990s

There are several defining characteristics of ‘participatory community planning’ (Lin 2002, 9).  It predominantly emphasizes citizens’ proactive participation in community planning. It allows a bottom-up policy-making mechanism that not only enables citizens to evaluate policies but to take the lead in decision-making, management and implementation of policies.

The concept of community development was first introduced from the United Nations into Taiwan in 1964 (Peng, Luo and Lin 2010, 137). Initiating community development was placed as one of the seven items in the Executive Yuan’s Current Social Policy of Welfare Pluralism in 1965. It was the first time that the position of community development was encapsulated within social policies. However, community development was not the heart of the social welfare policy, because policies at that time mainly focused on military and economic improvement. Consequently, community development became merely a political slogan without evident measures and effects.

Until 1995, Yong Kang Park Pedestrian Lane Referendum occurred and it was the major turning point in the Taipei’s participatory community planning (Huang 2004, 73). Taipei government decided to broaden the Yong Kang Street to resolve the increased traffic volume in that area in 1995, which involved the removal of 59 old trees in Yong Kang Park. The locals organized a referendum and the result reflected that more than 80% of voters agreed to preserve trees. It was the first time for the community to decide the use of the public space through referendum. Although the referendum lacked legal power, Taipei government respected the voting result and abandoned the original development proposal. Taipei government then initiated the Community Environmental Remodelling Scheme in 1996. Thus, the referendum could be seen as an event directly led to the emergence of Community Environment Remodelling Scheme and participatory community planning in Taipei in 1990s.

Apart from the referendum, there were meanwhile several background factors that contributed to the initiative of the remodelling scheme, and that will be discussed in later sections.

References:

  1. Huang, Li-ling. 2004. “Community Participation in Taipei’s Urban Planning in the 1990s: The Impacts of the Globalization Process, Local Politics and Neighborhood Response.” Journal of Geographical Science, no. 34: 61-78.
  2. Lin, Yan-jun 林妍君. 2002. Shequ canyu zai Taibeishi shequ huanjing gaizao yingyong zhi yanjiu社區參與在台北市社區環境改造應用之研究─以東榮社區與萬和社區為例[The impacts of participatory community planning in Taipei local neighbourhood]. National Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations in Taiwan. https://hdl.handle.net/11296/g9uj6d
  3. Peng, Kuang-hui, Yao-chi Luo, and Cheng-yi Lin. “Community Planning,” in Planning in Taiwan: Spatial planning in the twenty-first century, edited by Roger Bristow, 137-163. New York: Routledge, 2010.

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