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Taipei metropolitan area (TW)

The Taipei metropolitan area is an urban agglomeration in the north of Taiwan Island situated along the valley of the Tamsui River. The region is characterized by an extreme variation of landscapes within very small distances. A range of mountains, including the 1120-meter high Cising Mountain, the highest (inactive) volcano in Taiwan located in the nearby Yangmingshan National Park, surround the central lowlands. The city of Taipei is the political, economic and cultural center of Taiwan. It is connected by a network of (high-speed) railways, highways, and bus lines to the rest of the Taiwan Island and is served by two airports, Taipei Songshan and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Further south is the Hsinchu Science Park, a community where most of the high–technology industries in Taiwan are concentrated. In general, the Taiwanese capital is home to a large number of R&D headquarters with several multinational companies (electronics for example), while at the same time a rising scene of creative start-ups completes Taipei’s contemporary metropolitan scene. In the previous decades, extreme urbanization led the city to the heavy pollution of the Tamsui River, leading to a disconnection between the river and the city. After a long period of focusing merely on economic growth, landscape development has become a new priority in spatial planning. Recently, the region has attempted to improve its ecological performance and offer a high quality environment for citizens and tourists. Big events, like the Flora Expo 2010 and the Design Capital 2016, drive Taipei’s reinvention as a contemporary metropolis with strong heritage and distinctive natural landscapes.

Taipei skyline FLICKR



Taipei waterfront FLICKR



FOUNDING STORY Taipei City developed in the Taipei Basin, formed by the Tamsui (or Danshui), northern Taiwan’s largest river, and its tributaries, the Keelung and Xindian Rivers. As its main transportation corridor, the city developed in close relation with the water. The aboriginal group Ketagalan was the first to occupy the Taipei basin area. In the 17th century, various powers clustered around the Formosan Island (from Portuguese: Ilha Formosa, “Beautiful Island”). The island, close to Japan, China and the Philippines, became a base for trading and missionary activities. The Chinese, Japanese and Western powers, including the British, Dutch and the Spanish, opened ports and began to implement their commercial and political strategies (Chiang, 2012). In the 18th century, Chinese settlers had already occupied most of the aboriginal territory in the Taipei basin, turning the area into farming fields and villages. The word Taipei, which literally means “north of Taiwan” had been used for quite some time, but became the official name of the current area around 1875. Báng-kah was one of the first settlements, located at the meeting point of two branches of the Tamsui River. This strategic geographical location paved the way for the shipping of agricultural products to Mainland China. When, in the 19th century Báng-kah became too shallow for shipping, the center of Taipei moved to the northern area of Dadaocheng. An integrated administrative district was not formed until the 1920s when the Japanese government began further developing Taipei. In the 1860s, Scottish trader John Dodd set up a tea refinery factory in Dadaocheng. Other foreign companies followed, leading Dadaocheng to become the international trading center of north Taiwan. Tea was grown in the mountains north of Taiwan and transported to Dadaocheng for the refinery process. In 1869, the first export of tea was moved from the port of Dadaocheng to New York. ‘Formosan Oolong’ tea became a well-known product in North America and Europe. EMERGING METROPOLITAN LANDSCAPE Taiwan entered the railroad era in 1900, following a domination of transportation primarily via waterways. The initial construction of the Keelung harbor was completed in 1900. In the period of Japanese occupation (1895-1945) the first priority was transport infrastructure for the purpose of military control and economic exploitation. During this period, Taipei was defined as the administrative center of Taiwan. Six urban planning proclamations occurred during this period. The Japanese built government buildings, hospitals, parks and other public infrastructure, like an electricity network, within the inner-­city area, transforming the landscape from a traditional Han Chinese settlement into a modern city. Taipei expanded strongly in the decades following the Japanese occupation. At that time, the city’s total area increased fourfold, absorbing several surrounding towns and villages. The city’s population, which had reached one million in the early 1960s, expanded rapidly after 1967, exceeding two million by the mid-1970s and stabilizing at its current

BOEK Blind Spot - metropolitan landscape in the global battle for talent (4/2016, Deltametropolis)  

Publication in English, webpage in Dutch: De publicatie Blind Spot bekijkt de relatie tussen kwalitei...

BOEK Blind Spot - metropolitan landscape in the global battle for talent (4/2016, Deltametropolis)  

Publication in English, webpage in Dutch: De publicatie Blind Spot bekijkt de relatie tussen kwalitei...