Tue, Oct 29, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Public facilities to be evaluated for urban planning

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of the Interior will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of public facilities based on population growth in different areas within four years to plan urban renewal with an eye toward disaster prevention, Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said yesterday at the Legislative Yuan.

Inspired by the documentary Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above (看見台灣), the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee yesterday held a meeting to ask several government agencies about their action plans for environmental protection and coordination of national resources — including forest conservation, water management and national land planning.

The documentary is a 90 minute film by director Chi Po-lin (齊柏林) that shows a bird’s-eye view of the country’s beauty and sorrow — the beautiful landscapes and destruction caused by overdevelopment and pollution.

In his report, Lee said that “basically, Taiwan is not a safe nation,” because it is often hit by earthquakes and various natural disasters caused by extreme weather exacerbated by climate change, including droughts and floods.

Overdevelopment has also caused mudslides, reservoir sedimentation, land subsidence and other problems, he said.

He said that as the population structure changes, urban planning must be adapted, but current urban plans for the six major cities are designed for a population of 25 million people, when in fact there are only about 19 million people living in these cities.

“We are now reviewing how to deregulate the unnecessary land reserved for public facilities,” he said. “We expect to deregulate at least one-third of it within four years, so local governments can base urban planning on disaster prevention and make the city more beautiful.”

Land expropriation can be avoided and government expenditure saved by deregulating land reserved for public facilities, and using the released lands for establishing urban disaster prevention systems, he said.

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