Taipei gets a green makeover ahead of horticulture show


Thu, Aug 20, 2009 - Page 2

Walking the streets of Taipei City, many pedestrians may have noticed a refreshing change: A touch of green is being added to homes and public facilities.

Walls, roofs and balconies are being turned into kaleidoscopic galleries for living plants in the run-up to the 2010 Taipei International Gardening and Horticulture Exposition — the first accredited world-class exhibition ever hosted by Taiwan.

The greenery that will soon radiate from the 91.8 hectare exhibition area — comprised of four public parks near the Keelung River (基隆河) — is gradually extending to schools, commercial areas, markets, office buildings, and communities around the city.

Forming the backbone of this ambitious beautification initiative are 50 neighborhood greening projects that were completed last year, the first year of the plan.

With the public’s interest in the campaign growing, the city government has received 300 more requests for green renovation projects since the start of this year, commissioner of the city’s Department of Economic Development Sherman Chen (陳雄文) said.

Once an application is approved, specialized landscaping engineers contracted by the city are assigned to carry out the project at the selected site. Also, garden accessories and ornamental plants are offered to households for display on their balconies.

The city government foots the bill for these services on one condition: that the participating neighborhoods form a volunteer team to care for the plants.

Chen said that through the campaign, the city government is trying to instill an appreciation for plants among residents, further encouraging them to grow and cherish flowers.

“The exhibition should not be like a fireworks display that leaves nothing behind after its conclusion,” Chen said. “It would be the expo’s greatest legacy if appreciating and growing flowers was to become a common culture or habit.”