Taipei (1996-2006)/ Community Environment Remodelling Scheme: 3-5 – Participatory Community Planning as a Political Strategy
Looking closer at the progression of the remodelling scheme one can observe some hints upon how Taipei government uses the idea of community environmental remodeling scheme as a political strategy.
Chen Shui-bien was elected as the Mayor of Taipei in 1994, replaced by Ma Ying-jeou in 1998. It was in the second year of Chen’s term of office that the Community Environment Remodelling Scheme was proposed. Though Chen and Ma came from different political parties, Ma continued to operate the remodelling scheme until the termination of his term of office in 2006.
During the Taipei mayoral election in 1994, Chen proposed the idea of participatory planning and emphasized the importance of small community projects (不做大工程，多做小計畫), in order to contrast with the government-led approach by Nationalist Party and gain support from median voters(Huang 2004, 70). After Chen was elected, he favored using the results of opinion poll as guidelines to determine urban policies (Huang 2012, 98) and did carry out a series of policies that had a significant impact on the Nationalist Party’s values. For example, he raised a set of movements to free space from structural symbolism of martial law(空間解嚴) which in some ways created a social environment that fostered the raise of citizen governance and community empowerment, allowing the Yong Kang Referendum to take place.
In some senses, Yong Kang Referendum was respected by the government because it happened in a time that Chen was just elected and needed a chance to express his determination to fulfil commitments made during the mayor election. Yet, doubts remain upon whether Community Environment Remodelling Scheme is totally citizen-driven as it often gets tied up with city polities(see section 3-4). Community Environment Remodelling Scheme became one of the tools that Chen’s government used to prove to the public the progression of communitarianism in Taipei (Huang 2004, 71), as a response to the promises Chen made during election.
- 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.
- Huang, Sun-quan. 2012. Green Bulldozer: The Squatters, Parks, Nature Estate and Institutionalized Landscape 90’s Taipei. New Taipei City: Indymedia Co. Ltd.