Public housing built as a result of government-led urban renewal improves the quality of the local environment while adding new amenities to old communities. In Datong, regeneration will be further accelerated through several initiatives, such as the redevelopment of Jiancheng Circle and the rebuilding and renewal of traditional markets.
Lanzhou-Siwen Village: A Better Living Environment Through Government-Led Urban Renewal
The Lanzhou-Siwen Village resettled tenement community consists of public housing units built in the 1960s and 70s to accommodate tenants of both legally and illegally contructed homes that had been razed. Although they were originally built as small and modern residences, more than five decades of deterioration has created mounting environmental and residential problems for the people of this old community. However the high numbers of disadvantaged and elderly residents have hampered renewal efforts due to concerns that they will lack appropriate housing and care while work is underway. The city government has therefore decided to build interim housing and prioritize the relocation of local residents before rebuilding.
These temporary homes will hasten support of urban renewal by providing affected residents with convenient living arrangements and a way to preserve social networks in the local community.
Site Selection Criteria:
1. Convenient transportation, preferably near a metro station
2. Public land given priority
3. Excellent geographic location with wideranging services
4. Capacity to accommodate public service facilities
Comprehensive evaluation, which considered distance, transportation and reuse of public land, determined that the original Minglun Elementary School campus would be the best site for interim housing. The site is located in Datong near the MRT Yuanshan Station. In the future, wide-ranging facilities at Minglun will include a creative learning center along with community-based public facilities, such as a shopping plaza, daycare, open public spaces, community classrooms, audio-visual rooms and a library.
Another addition to facilitate urban renewal and rebuilding through improved communication will be the establishment of community planning workshops, which will be held at the old Minglun Elementary School campus and a public building located at 75, Dalong Street. These workshops will bring communities together by arranging for government and non-government agencies to provide explanations on regulations, housing loans, rentals, local childcare providers, youth entrepreneur applications and senior care.
Guoshung and Jingxing Villages: Cultivating Renewal to Foster a New Urban Landscape
Guoshun and Jingxing villages are located in the north of Datong , in an area that was part of the Ōhashichō ward during the Japanese era. These villages are situated between Dalongdong (大龍峒) and Dadaocheng, which are themselves connected by Section 2, Dihua Street, a thoroughfare important for its role in the historic development of Taipei. Dihua Street passed through the golden age of western Taipei and still retains its charm with winding streets and alleys and single-story tile-roofed buildings that were common a century ago. It stands as a testimony to the history of old Taipei and the value of the remaining historic vestiges of the Ōhashichō ward.
Due to complex factors related to land ownership of subdivisions, Guoshun and Jingxing are among the few villages in the city that have not been fully opened and developed in accordance with urban planning principles. Both villages lack parks and green spaces, a problem that remains in part due to land expropriation difficulties. One solution in the works is “Sky Park,” (淡水河跨堤公園) a new public scenic structure that will be built on the Tamsui River embankment beside Huanhe North Road (環河北路) and serve both the local community and region.
Sky Park will create a link between Datong’s green transportation network and the riverside. By connecting urban pedestrian paths with the riverside park, it will break down barriers caused by the embankment walls. This uninterrupted stretch of leisure and recreational space is expected to spark new government-led and private-led urban renewal projects. Section 2, Dihua Street will be the focal point for the future development of Guoshun and Jingxing villages. Following an inventory of old and vacant buildings, the city government will facilitate reuse by offering refurbishment subsidies to those who lease buildings. It will then rent out these spaces to young adults in order to encourage families to move back into the old community and make the area into a more suitable location for youth entrepreneurs, daycare and senior care centers, libraries, exhibition and performance spaces, and backpacker facilities.
Redeveloping Jiancheng Circle: Listening to Diverse Voices
Jiancheng Circle, which opened in 1908, became a gathering point for food and
beverage vendors in the Dadaocheng area following the opening of the Tamsui railway line. At the peak of the circle’s development in the 1960s, it was a popular destination for inexpensive Taiwanese cuisine and an important spiritual landmark.
However, due to fires in 1993 and 1999, it fell into disrepair. Although the food court was rebuilt and operations resumed, success was limited by a failure to achieve consensus with local residents. Following a public evaluation, in 2007 Taipei Circle Co., Ltd. (台北圓環股份有限公司) signed a contract to operate Taipei Circle through
July 29th, 2016. The contract’s expiration will provide a new opportunity for rebirth; nevertheless, its success will be contingent on better communication and the full participation of local residents.
With this in mind, on May 30th the city government held a “Civil Cafe” event at Jiancheng Circle. Local city councilors and residents, opinion leaders and community planners, experts and scholars, architects and city department officials, members of the Taipei Urban Redevelopment Center (台北市都市更新推動中心) and anyone with an interest in redevelopment of the circle were in attendance. Based on the World Cafe methodology the participants joined together to brainstorm on issues related to traffic, cuisine, urban environment, historic context and cultural tourism. With such a diverse group of people engaged in group dialogue, the event was a great opportunity to harvest ideas related to future redevelopment. The city government will continue to solicit more public opinions as it joins with residents in bringing renewed prosperity to Datong.
Establishing Community Planning Workshops to Facilitate Dialog With the Public
As the implementation of urban redevelopment plans in Datong continues, the city government will re-launch its community planning system. Based around dialog in long-term community planning workshops, this mechanism will begin with a survey of community resources. Through regular communication and gathering of ideas, it will build partnerships with local residents and foster consensuses. Dialog between the public and private sectors will strengthen development concepts and make it easier to introduce appropriate resources based upon local requirements. Forging channels of dialog in the local community will help to build a public-private consensus that can serve as a common vision for development.
Under the “Datong Regeneration Plan,” community planning workshops were established at the vacant Revenue Service Building adjacent to the Lanzhou Public Housing complex (1F, 45, Alley 61, Changji Street) and at URS44 (1F, 44, Section 1, Dihua Street). It is anticipated that communications in the workshops between community planners and the city government will serve as catalysts for local regeneration.