Taiwan's growth-driven industrial policies not only influence its economic layout, but also its spatial arrangements. As a consequence of replacing tradition with modernity, a new industrial order has become an urban norm.
In the 1990s, many buildings that represented collective memories were destroyed to make way for urban development. Many of the demolished buildings are now neglected vacant lots on the sites of many people's childhood memories.
Other vacant spaces have been put to new uses, and these formerly neglected spots have acquired completely new images. Linking emotional memories with future prospects, these spots are "time capsules" that put history in a nutshell.
Some distinguished examples of reusing unoccupied spaces signify that successfully releasing and transforming public spaces for reuse allows them to become a response to globalization. Reusing vacant spaces is not merely an alternation of spatial functions, but it also bears the mission to conserve and represent a cultural heritage.
Taiwan underwent major transformations in the 1980s that were closely linked to globalization and which changed -- and continue to change -- many facets of Taiwanese politics, economy, culture and technology. Under pressure from globalization, consolidating regional specialities and cultural superiorities are immediate priorities. Therefore, many projects to restructure dilapidated spaces have been launched to build cultural landscapes that can reach out to larger audiences.
Despite a uniting ideology of reusing neglected spaces, different restructuring teams may have contradicting opinions about the definition of regional identities. Which cultural spirit should revived spaces represent?
Some spatial restructuring teams may have financial burdens, and thus their management of spaces can shift from an original emphasis on regional specialities and cultural uniqueness to a capitalistic business-consumer orientation. Public spaces should fulfill their fundamental social and cultural functions, but the phenomenon of "gentrification" with business-oriented values is something to avoid.
Globalization brings quotidian conveniences and blurs social, economic, technological and political borders. Yet when emphasizing the comprehensiveness of globalization, one should also consider its complexities and emphasize each culture's uniqueness, our difference from others.
When thinking about the globalization phenomenon of a "world without borders," it is necessary to incorporate it with local life experiences. As projects for the reuse of unoccupied spaces have their inception in a particular historical time and place, they comprise a double heritage of history and culture.
A consequence of urban development might be the dilapidation and neglect of old architectural spaces. The reuse of unoccupied spaces reveals the trail of a city's development. It incorporates historical memory, cultural bloodlines and a huge amount of energy, and this can serve as a foundation of local development. Reusing a vacant space not only makes its re-emergence possible, but in interpreting its re-emergence and understanding its symbolic value, we can better consider the effects of globalization. It makes us better able to read our own history and culture, and to develop interactive and experiential social and cultural spaces based on core human values.
When Taiwanese architecture is in danger of losing its uniqueness under globalization, how to revive it in its former glory while preserving its heritage (and not allowing it to be engulfed by gentrification) becomes a worthy task for all of us to focus on.
Lee Yung-jaan is an architecture professor at Chinese Culture University and president of Green Citizens' Action Alliance.
TRANSLATED BY IAN BARTHOLOMEW AND YA-TI LIN
For the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China’s “century of humiliation” is the gift that keeps on giving. Beijing returns again and again to the theme of Western imperialism, oppression and exploitation to keep stoking the embers of grievance and resentment against the West, and especially the US. However, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that in 1949 announced it had “stood up” soon made clear what that would mean for Chinese and the world — and it was not an agenda that would engender pride among ordinary Chinese, or peace of mind in the international community. At home, Mao Zedong (毛澤東) launched
With a new White House document in May — the “Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China” — the administration of US President Donald Trump has firmly set its hyper-competitive line to tackle geoeconomic and geostrategic rivalry, followed by several reinforcing speeches by Trump and other Cabinet-level officials. By identifying China as a near-equal rival, the strategy resonates well with the bipartisan consensus on China in today’s severely divided US. In the face of China’s rapidly growing aggression, the move is long overdue, yet relevant for the maintenance of the international “status quo.” The strategy seems to herald a new
To say that this year has been eventful for China and the rest of the world would be something of an understatement. First, the US-China trade dispute, already simmering for two years, reached a boiling point as Washington tightened the noose around China’s economy. Second, China unleashed the COVID-19 pandemic on the world, wreaking havoc on an unimaginable scale and turning the People’s Republic of China into a common target of international scorn. Faced with a mounting crisis at home, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) rashly decided to ratchet up military tensions with neighboring countries in a misguided attempt to divert the
The restructuring of supply chains, particularly in the semiconductor industry, was an essential part of discussions last week between Taiwan and a US delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach. It took precedent over the highly anticipated subject of bilateral trade partnerships, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) founder Morris Chang’s (張忠謀) appearance on Friday at a dinner hosted by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for Krach was a subtle indicator of this. Chang was in photographs posted by Tsai on Facebook after the dinner, but no details about their discussions were disclosed. With