Sunday, January 30, 2011

Towards garden city wonderlands: new town planning in 1950s Taiwan

by Yi-Wen Wang and Tim Heath

This article explores the historical context, process and result of introducing and implementing 'new' town planning in early post-war Taiwan. The two so-called 'garden cities' are examined: Jhong-Sing New Village and Yonghe City, both of which were formulated in the mid-1950s by the same group of local planners. It reveals that the assumed necessity of importing Western planning paradigms arose from the abrupt escalation of urban concentration caused by the late 1940s mass migrations from China. To cope with this unprecedented population growth, planning profession was swiftly established. The novice planners, in search of a reference for developing 'new' towns to decentralise excessive urbanisation, modelled their 'new' town planning on English suburban morphology. In the absence of an input of external expertise, the planners appeared to mistake aesthetic order and pastoral imagery of low-density residential development in England as practically viable solutions to the pressing urban problems in Taiwan. In a false hope that adopting Western ideas and practices would quickly lead the island to a better world, Taiwan initiated the importation of planning paradigms. This planning transfer not only evidently manifests a mode of 'borrowing' in post-colonial countries in international diffusion but also re-articulates the disseminating nature of modern planning and the existence of one-direction flows characterising the global dynamics of diffusion in the twentieth century. 

Yonghe City, Taiwan, photo by delcond
Urban Taiwan, photo by delcond
more posts about planning history:

History Of Cities And City Planning

Howard Park and Howard Garden, Letchworth Garden City, Herts: Archaeological Desk Based Assessment

The Ancient Quarter of Hanoi – A Reflection of Urban Transition Processes

Suburbanisation and urban sprawl in Leipzig (Germany)

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