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Old January 15th, 2012, 02:40 PM   #201
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Updated Friday, January 6, 2012 0:19 am TWN, CNA
MRT Xinzhuang line begins free-of-charge commercial service

TAIPEI--The Xinzhuang line on the greater Taipei's mass rapid transit (MRT) system began commercial runs yesterday, offering service from downtown Taipei to Xinzhuang District in New Taipei City.

Travel on the line will be free of cost for the first month, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin said on the first commercial ride.

However, the free fares apply only to passengers who use the MRT's EasyCard for travel to one of the eight stations on the line, Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. said. People who buy tokens for single rides will be charged the standard fare, it said.

The new line was inaugurated jointly by Hau and New Taipei Mayor Eric Liluan Chu, who both took the first service on the 8.2 kilometer-line between their two cities. The Xinzhuang line will become part of the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport MRT line thatis being built to link Taipei to the country's main gateway.

With the start of its operation, the Taipei MRT has now been expanded to a network of 114.6 km.

Last November, the Luzhou line was launched, providing service from the Zhongxiao-Xinsheng intersection in downtown Taipei to Luzhou District in New Taipei City.

The Xinzhuang line follows the same route for part of the way, from Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station to Daqiaotou Station, then branches off to the Xinzhuang area and ends at Fu Jen University Station in New Taipei.

The entire trip on the new line takes an estimated 24 minutes,cutting the travel time between the two points by at least half.

Some passengers on the inaugural ride said they were excited at the launch of the new line.

“We have been looking forward to this service for a long time,” said Huang Hsi-yi, head of Jungho Borough in Xinzhuang. “It will provide a more comfortable transportation choice, especially in rainy weather.”
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Old January 26th, 2012, 03:32 PM   #202
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Monday, January 9, 2012 0:14 am TWN
CNA
First eco-friendly vault to store urns opens in Taipei

TAIPEI--A green vault for the storage of funeral urns was officially opened on Yangmingshan in suburban Taipei on Sunday, offering a capacity of 50,000 spaces.

The new columbarium became necessary after the two existing ones in the city ran out of space.

At the opening ceremony, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung bin said the facility will be free of charge or 50 percent discounted for the storage of the cremated remains of organ donors, aboriginals and people from low income households.

The vault is a green building that is equipped with solar and wind power systems and a rainwater recycling system, according to the city's Department of Civil Affairs.
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Old January 30th, 2012, 07:15 PM   #203
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Updated Sunday, January 29, 2012 0:02 am TWN
The China Post news staff
Real estate market may rebound in second half of 2012: analysts

Real estate developers are expected to roll out new housing projects amounting to NT$1.2 trillion at three major metropolitan regions in northern, central and southern Taiwan in 2012 to warm up the real estate market in the second half following a big slump in 2011.

Realty analysts generally forecast higher presentation of more new housing projects in Taipei and New Taipei City in the north, Taichung City in central Taiwan, and Kaohsiung on the southern part of the island.

They gave the more optimistic business prediction in spite of negative economic developments, including the impact from the prolonged European debt crisis that will almost certainly affect Taiwan's export trade.

The new regulations concerning the levying of luxury taxes on purchases of luxury goods and speculative real estate transactions adopted in 2011 will be another market damper.

But analysts pointed out there will also be positive factors for the realty market for 2012, including Taiwan's continuing and steady economic expansion, the stable and low interest rate, the return of more capital held by Taiwan-based businesspeople from abroad, and possible increasing interest in Taiwan properties by the wealthy in mainland China amid intensified business interchanges between Taiwan and China.

Realty developers and construction companies put on the market NT$821 billion worth of new housing projects throughout Taiwan in 2011, representing a drop of 11.7 percent from NT$930 billion in 2010, according to analysts at the My Housing magazine.

Public Discontent

The government and legislators passed new regulations last year to limit realty speculations that caused soaring housing prices, a major source of public discontent.

Many developers also postponed their new projects in view of falling property prices and transactions at major cities, declining stock prices of construction firms on the financial market, and political factors like the new presidential and legislative elections.

But new development projects will be unveiled after political uncertainties settle down in the wake of the Jan. 14 general elections.

Experts believe that more people in need of their own apartments will return and take part in rational property transactions after realizing the government's crackdown measures have been targeted primarily toward exceptionally large housing units and speculators who had sought quick and high returns in realty investments while lifting the market prices along the way.

Analysts at the My Housing magazine said new housing projects in northern Taiwan will recover and rise back to the level of more than NT$900 billion plus additional development projects valued at around NT$300 billion in central and southern Taiwan.

Lai Cheng-yi, chairman of the Shining Construction Group, pointed out that the integration of resources and upgrading the administrative status of New Taipei City, Taichung City, Tainan City, and Kaohsiung City will significantly enhance the economic and commercial activities in the major metropolitan areas in Taiwan.

Taoyuan County in northern Taiwan will also see the construction of more new apartments this year due to the increasing number of foreign spouses married into local families and the rising demand from newly formed families.

Surge in H2

Lai expects new apartments and houses receiving construction licenses will go up to 90,000 units in 2012.

Most analysts believe that the number of housing starts and purchases of new apartments will resurge beginning from the second half (H2) of 2012.

Demand from mainland Chinese and overseas Chinese from Hong Kong and Singapore will also rise as more of them have personally visited Taiwan and hold positive views on the local living environment. Further developments of relations across the Taiwan Strait will also contribute to the resurgence.

The return of more property buyers on improved transport networks will help reduce the inventory of housing units accumulated in areas like Tamsui, Linkuo, and Sanxia in New Taipei City and the areas of Chungli and Nankan Interchange in Taoyuan, according to the analysts.

Most residents in Taiwan still generally hold the traditional concept of purchasing apartments for their own use while the interest rate on mortgage loans remains low as an effective way of offsetting the impact from inflation over the long term, the analysts said.

Second-hand apartment transactions will also increase in the metropolitan regions that generally offer better job opportunities, they added.

Other sources of strength for the realty industry include the government's plan to increase low-cost housing units for low-income families and continuing urban renewal projects for older communities.
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 07:20 PM   #204
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Fri, Feb 03, 2012
Road resurfacing in Taipei failed: survey
ROCKY ROAD:As city agencies and Taipower dig up resurfaced roads, an online poll shows that Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s road improvement initiative has failed
Taipei Times


Taipei City is not the only city facing road quality problems. A hole caused by land subsidence on Changan Street in New Taipei City’s Lujhou District is pictured yesterday. The Water Resources Agency said work filling the hole should be completed within the next three days.
Photo: Lai Hsiao-tung, Taipei Times


Taipei City’s “Smooth Road Project,” a major policy initiative of Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), has failed to improve road conditions and many resurfaced roads remain uneven, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilor said yesterday.

Launched in 2010 to improve road conditions, the project has so far cost about NT$5 billion (US$170 million). By the end of last year, the city’s New Construction Office had completed resurfacing on more than 150 roads.

Citing an online poll, DPP Taipei City Councilor Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) yesterday said that of the “top 10” roads in Taipei with the worst conditions, at least three had been resurfaced as part of the project.

Kao criticized the city government, saying that it had executed the initiative poorly.

“Most roads in Taipei are still uneven and even Mayor Hau was not satisfied with the results … We need him and the city government to improve the quality of work” so that the project will not lead to even more complaints, she told a press conference at the Taipei City Council.

In the online poll, conducted by Yahoo Kimo on Jan. 11 and Jan. 12 with about 2,500 votes registered, the “top 10 rotten roads” in Taipei included Nanjing E Road Sec 4, Dadu Road, Yangde Boulevard, Keelung Road Sec 2, Yangping N Road Sec 2, Zhongcheng Road, Bei-an Road, Zhongshan N Road Sec 6, Tayou Road and Changan E Road.

Major roads with the most manholes included Nanjing W Road, Heping W Road Sec 3 and Bade Road Sec 4, with more than 500 manholes.

Constant construction work and the digging up of the roads by the Taipei Water Department and Taiwan Power Company are the main reasons behind the uneven roads, Kao said.

Digging work by the department was carried out at 174 locations last year, while Taipower excavated 51 sites.

“The city government had promised that no digging would be allowed on resurfaced roads within three years of resurfacing work and apparently it failed to keep its promise. We continue to see road construction everywhere and ugly patches on the surface of roads,” she said.

New Construction Office Maintenance Division director Lin Kun-hu (林昆虎) said that Taipower and the Taiwan Water Department continued to perform construction on some resurfaced roads, but that the city government only allowed such roadworks under emergency conditions, such as to repair leaking pipelines.

The city government said it will take all advice into consideration and that construction on all major roads will be completed by 2014.
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Old February 6th, 2012, 07:57 AM   #205
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Mon, Feb 06, 2012
Taipei Times
FEATURE: Legislature again thinking of relocating

Relocating the Legislative Yuan is an issue that has often been raised over the past two decades, and despite a long history of debate, decision, but no firm action, the issue is once more in the spotlight, after Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) brought it up again on Wednesday.

One reason the matter is receiving a renewed examination is that the Taipei City Government owns the land on which the legislature is located, and has been sending out notifications asking for the return of the land. The Legislative Yuan pays NT$50 million (US$1.6 million) to the Taipei City Government in annual rent for the land.

Prior to the election for legislative speaker on Wednesday morning, Wang said the Legislative Yuan is a symbol of democracy, and his proposal to relocate the legislature was in the hopes of jump-starting discussion among relevant bodies.

If the relocation of the Legislative Yuan is to be implemented, the process of planning and construction would take many years, said Wang, adding that as such, the newly elected legislators for the eighth term of the legislature, sworn in on Wednesday, would not be around when the time came to use the facility, hence there would be no issue of them personally profiting from the relocation.

The Legislative Yuan entertained thoughts of relocation as early as its first term, but in the 20 years since there have been two attempts made, but without success.

The legislature’s Expenditure Examination Committee first proposed in 1990 that the Legislative Yuan be moved to the site of the old Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) Huashan Station. The proposal was passed two years later, in 1992, and in 1994 the central government’s annual budget allotted the Legislative Yuan NT$10 billion for construction at its new site.

However, the relocation plans were effectively terminated when the legislature reviewed the budget during its second term and the opposition blocked the funding.

The Huashan relocation plans were also controversial and attacked by members of the legislature and the public alike as being excessively luxurious. The plans called for a Speaker’s room of more than 100 ping (1 ping is 3.3m2), over 30 ping for each legislator’s personal office and 50 ping for each lawmaker’s research room — not to mention multi-functional ball courts, warm water swimming pools and saunas.

The Legislative Yuan scratched the plans and instead set its sights on land that currently houses the Ministry of National Defense’s Air Force Command Headquarters in Taipei. The Air Force Command Headquarters, along with the ministry, is being relocated to Dazhi District (大直) in order to centralize the nation’s military command capacities and also to comply with the ministry’s policy of cutting down on military personnel and budgets.

The land the Air Force HQ will be leaving behind, on Renai Rd Sec 3, is a 7.2 hectare block exceptional for both its size and prime location.

The Taipei City Government says it wishes to use the land to build social housing, and the Judicial Yuan has also expressed its wish to use the land to establish a “Judicial Park” and unite the scattered Northern Taiwan courts and offices in a single area.

However, the Legislative Yuan, during its third term, went ahead with its plan to build on the land. The new plan called for a revamped Legislative Yuan with an increase to 225 seats from the fourth term onward.

The increase was due to the Taiwan provincial government having been frozen in 1998, following the fourth constitutional amendment, due to the overlap of the administrative powers of democratically-elected provincial governors and presidents.

In 1997, the Executive Yuan listed a NT$24.1 billion “special budget for the construction of the new Legislative Yuan,” with NT$10.3 billion for purchasing the land and NT$13.8 billion for construction.

Construction was estimated to take two years and the budget was passed in 1999.

However the plans were stonewalled by the eighth term of Taipei City councilors, and the special budget funding, after being held for five more years after its expiration date, was finally canceled because the construction had not yet started.

The current term of legislators seems to hold an open mind on the relocation of the Legislative Yuan, and is amenable to further discussion of the issue.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus director-general Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said it was true that the Legislative Yuan building is functionally unsuitable, particularly because of the scattered offices.

Construction of a new building should only be further discussed once changes to the function of the Legislative Yuan had been addressed, Pan said, adding that if the main objective of relocation was to give the building a more presentable exterior, it really wasn’t needed.

DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said he would be proposing that a special cross-party committee be set up to push for the relocation of the Legislative Yuan by installments, adding a request to the Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration to keep an open mind and respect the Legislative Yuan.

People First Party (PFP) convener Thomas Lee (李桐豪) said that it was amazing that current location and structure of the Legislative Yuan, designed as a temporary solution, had actually been kept for the past six decades.

“The Legislative Yuan symbolizes the development and spirit of democracy in the country, and it does not need grandiosity, but functionality,” Lee said, adding that the discussion of the relocation of the Legislative Yuan should not be focusing on the issue of cost and overheads of the construction itself, but rather on the intangible representation of spirit and symbolism.

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus convener Hsu Chun-hsin (許忠信) said that the relocation of the legislature would require massive funding, and as the government has hit the debt ceiling, “the TSU does not agree to the relocation under the present unfavorable financial conditions.”

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus said no new plan had as yet been made for the relocation of the Legislative Yuan.
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Old February 6th, 2012, 08:14 AM   #206
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http://english.dof.taipei.gov.tw/ct....6096&mp=103002

The “Taipei City Xinyi District Serial No. 28, 29, 30 of the 4th subsection land development and creation of superficies” welcomes all interested investors to participate.
Taipei City Government Department of Finance would like to officially announce the “Taipei City Xinyi District serial no. 28, 29, 30 of the 4th subsection land development and creation of superficies.” The above mentioned property is located in Xinyi District, between Songzhi Road and Songren Road with a total area of 17,708 square meters with total volume set at 450% or 560%. As of 2011, the total land is valued at NT$13.1 billion and designated for specific business, commercial, and entertainment
facilities. The location puts the lot near the base of the Taipei 101 building and is in excellent condition. The property is currently use occupied by the World Trade Center and parking facilities. This is an ideal property to attract foreign businesses and capital as well as tourists foreign and local.

The Taipei City property management code article 65 provides that the city develops subsection section 4, serial no. 28, 29, 30 through private investments. The Department of Finance noted that aside from the required number of statutory parking spaces, an additional 31 large car parking spaces must be made available, and the property site should not be built for residential use. Beside the above noted, all other specifications must follow standard urban planning codes and relative laws. The Taipei City Government
expects to introduce private investments and adopt the overall planning approach in order to achieve the purposes of enhancing Taipei’s international perspective through its landmark buildings, effectively achieve financial gains, strengthen the Xinyi business district development, and enhance the social and economic benefits.

The Department of Finance has expressed it will employ a three-stage selection process (Qualification review - Investment Implementation Proposal Review – Price Bidding). The duration of existence of superficies will be set at 50 years and the royalty shall amount to twenty five billion New Taiwan Dollars (NT$25,000,000,000) in reserved minimum price. No more than 3 bidders will be selected from the qualified bidders based on initial applications and the winning bidder will be selected based on highest bid.
The annual rental will be based on 5% of the official declared land value. Please see the tender documents for further details regarding bidder qualifications and bid specifics.

The deadline for submitting the bid application is set at 5pm on April 30, 2012. Interested investors may purchase the tender documents at the Taipei City Hall, Department of Finance, Administrative Services (No. 1, Shifu Road, Xinyi District, Central Area, 8th floor). To download relevant documents and information, please go to the Department of Finance website (http://www.dof.taipei.gov.tw), Chinese version, under the Promotion of Private Participation (PPP) section.
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Old February 13th, 2012, 03:05 PM   #207
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012
CNA
Universiade athlete village to be built in New Taipei

TAIPEI--Taiwan is set to build the athletes' village for the 2017 Summer Universiade in New Taipei City, with the project set to be completed by the end of 2016, a government official said yesterday.

Tai Hsia-ling, minister of the Cabinet-level Sports Affairs Council, said the building of the athletes' village is one of the major tasks facing Taipei as it prepares to host the Universiade five years from now.

Late last November, the International University Sports Federation picked Taipei over Brasilia as the host city for the 2017 Universiade, also known as the World University Games.

It will be the highest-level and biggest international sports event ever staged in Taiwan.

The athletes' village, to be situated on a 16 hectare site in Linkou District of New Taipei City, will include a transportation center, accommodation for 12,000 people, restaurants serving free food and beverages 24 hours a day, supermarkets, a medical center and a laundry center, Tai said.

“The travel time between the athletes' village and the sporting venues will be under one hour,” she said.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 07:13 AM   #208
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Updated Tuesday, February 14, 2012 0:02 am TWN
The China Post
Renovation project for Yangmingshan guest house attacked

The China Post--Opposition lawmakers yesterday urged government authorities to reconsider a large-scale development project to renovate a military-operated guesthouse in Yangmingshan into a hot spring resort.

Calling the project for Yi Yuan Guesthouse (逸園招待所) a violation of laws, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP's) Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) and People First Party's Chang Show-foong (張曉風) both urged an evaluation committee to drop the plan at a meeting later this week that will be held to screen the proposal.

According to Lin, the project near the historic Chung-Shan Building (中山樓) is scheduled be carried out in the ROT (rent, operate and transfer) format with a selected developer from the private sector, with the government to retain full property rights.

The project, however, with an initial budget less than around NT$70 million does not conform to government regulations and has violated the Act for the Promotion of Private Participation in Infrastructure Projects (促進民間參與公共建設法), she told a press conference in the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

The resort is also located at the Yangmingshan National Park, and the land is registered for administrative authorities' use only, the DPP legislator said.

According to regulations, land for administrative authorities can only be used to build facilities for holding activities involving conferences only.

”Rebuilding the guesthouse into a hot spring resort obviously violates the rule,” she added.

The military-use guesthouse was originally administrated under the Combined Logistics Command under the Ministry of National Defense (MND).

The MND signed an ROT contract with the Miramar Group (美麗華集團) in 2005 to renovate the guesthouse into a hot spring resort.

A review committee under the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) is expected to hold a meeting tomorrow to review the proposal.

Once approved, it is likely to become the largest ROT project related to national parks to be handled by the Construction & Planning Agency (CPA) under the MOI which oversees the operations of the country's national parks.

MND's Response

Asked to comment, MND officials said the project was proposed in accordance with all related regulations.

It is a common practice that facilities constructed on land for administrative authorities are now into all kinds of resorts and recreational facilities, unidentified MND officials said in a United Evening News report yesterday.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 07:51 PM   #209
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Fri, Feb 17, 2012
Work begins on Koolhaas arts center in Shihlin area
CULTURAL ICON:Taipei City officials find no incongruity in the Koolhaas-designed performing arts complex’s location next to the famous Shilin Night Market area
Taipei Times


Rendering from : http://www.archdaily.com/12728/oma-w...g-arts-centre/

Construction of the Taipei Performing Arts Center, designed by renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and intended as a new cultural landmark, began yesterday on the former site of the Shilin Night Market.

City officials hope the arts center will boost the city’s cultural significance upon its scheduled opening in 2015.

The project, initiated in 2003 during President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) term as Taipei mayor, will be one of the biggest arts centers in Taipei once it is completed, and will house one cube-shaped theater with 1,500 seats and two circular 800-seat theaters.

However, the choice of site has been criticized, as some have challenged the decision to place a performing arts center next to a night market.

Ma discussed the problem of finding a suitable location while attending the center’s groundbreaking ceremony yesterday. He said the site, which is next to the MRT’s Jiantan Station, offers a convenient location with easy access to public transport.

Once it is completed, the arts center will serve as a major venue for arts and cultural performances in northern Taipei, while the National Theater and Concert Hall will remain the major performance venue for the southern area.

Together with the “Grand National Palace Museum Project,” which will enlarge the museum’s exhibition space fivefold, the president said, the arts center will help make the city’s northern district a “cultural zone.”

“The Performing Arts Center will become a new landmark, not only in Taipei, but also in Asia and even in the world. It will help boost cultural development in Taiwan and make us the pioneer in the development of Chinese culture [sic],” he said.

Koolhaas, discussing the design of the building, shared Ma’s confidence in blending the arts center into its environs, saying that the vitality of the adjacent Shilin Night Market was the main inspiration for the design.

The exterior of the building was described as looking like “tofu with preserved egg” when Koolhaas’ team unveiled the design in 2009.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday defended the design of the building, and said the “public loop,” which exposes the backstage to the public and allows people to view the different theaters and watch rehearsals, will offer the audience a more complete experience of theater production.

According to Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the center will be completed in November 2014 and begin operation in 2015.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 09:15 PM   #210
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Updated Monday, February 13, 2012 0:06 am TWN
China Post
Yangmingshan prepares for national park

The historic Chung-Shan Building on the scenic Yangmingshan north of Taipei will become the center of a massive multipurpose complex that will also incorporate new facilities for activities involving cultural, education, tourism, recreation and business conferences.

The large-scale development project with an initial budget of NT$10 billion could be carried out in the BOT (build, operate and transfer) format with a selected developer from the private sector while the government retains full property rights.

This is likely to become the largest-ever BOT project related to national parks to be handled by the Construction & Planning Agency (CPA) under the Ministry of the Interior which oversees the operations of the country's national parks.

The MOI has submitted the development project to the Executive Yuan for review and approval.

The CPA is set to hold open bidding in 2012 to find a qualified development enterprises to undertake the project.

Officials at the Cabinet's Council for Economic Planning and Development confirmed that the development program was already forwarded to all relevant government agencies for feedback and suggestions.

They said the project will be handled in principle by the government. But private enterprises will be solicited to make investment and manage the complex by the BOT format if there is a problem of fund shortage.

Five Districts

According to the preliminary CPA plan, there will be five major districts in the sprawling complex.

They include the Chung-Shan Building of traditional Chinese palatial style dedicated in 1966.

It is one of the many landmark constructions and public projects like memorial parks, buildings, freeway, roads and streets in Taiwan honoring Sun Chung-shan, aka Sun Zhong-shan and Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China.

The building, which used to be the conference venue of the now-defunct National Assembly to indirectly election the R.O.C. presidents, was already designated as a historic heritage site under protection.

The other adjacent areas to be developed include districts for cultural environmental education, tourism with hotel rooms and spas for tourists, business conference rooms, and restaurants.

The development efforts will include the resources of the surrounding local community that have become a major agricultural development center for new species of rice in Taiwan.

Community Development

The Zhuzhihu (Bamboo Lake) community on Yangmingshan (Mt. Sunshine) will be assisted to cultivate agricultural tourism to provide recreational resources for residents in the Greater Taipei region.

Legislator Ting Shou-chung of the ruling Kuomintang said he supports the massive development project to create another large cultural and recreational area for the people.

But he said that the development project should focus more on conserving the existing resources rather than adding just man-made constructions.

Lawmaker Hsueh Ling of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party said the development project costing NT$10 billion should turn the whole area into new public areas with free access by all people in Taiwan and tourists instead of being used by profit-seeking private enterprises just for commercial purposes and financial gains.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 12:36 PM   #211
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More Information About Taipei Performing Arts Centre from Archdaily







Dutch Architect Rem Koolhaas was explaining his design to the Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou and Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-pin



























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I love Beijing ChaoyangMen, Rising Skyscrapers beyond it!


Last edited by little universe; February 18th, 2012 at 12:41 PM.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 03:59 PM   #212
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A few more renderings from : http://tdesign.tw/taipei-performing-arts-centre/



























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Old February 18th, 2012, 08:47 PM   #213
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really nice!!
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 05:06 AM   #214
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Tue, Feb 21, 2012
Sixty-year-old Grand Hotel to undergo grand overhaul
Taipei Times


Source : http://www.pbase.com/boon3887/image/139536524

The management of the Grand Hotel, one of Taipei’s landmarks, yesterday said they would spend NT$500 million (US$16.9 million) renovating the facilities, with the entire effort scheduled to be completed in 2014.

Grand Hotel chairman Lee Chien-jung made the announcement in the run-up to the hotel’s 60th anniversary on May 10.

The management said that the renovation project would keep the traditional Chinese architectural elements and at the same time infuse modern style into the structure.

A series of events will be held to celebrate the hotel’s 60th anniversary, Lee said.

“Aside from the presidents of Taiwan, the hotel has received more than 2,000 important guests from other countries in the past 60 years,” Lee said. “They include the late US president Dwight Eisenhower, late king of Tonga Taufaahau Topou IV and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Yun-lin.”

Lee said the hotel had witnessed several politically significant events, including the conferences celebrating the formation of the Democratic Progressive Party and the People First Party.

Former president Lee Teng-hui also held his first national affairs conference at the hotel, during which experts suggested the nation abolish the National Assembly and form the Straits Exchange Foundation to negotiate with China on cross-strait affairs.

Because of the hotel’s place in Taiwan’s history, Lee said it had kept many historical items, including the Dragon-Phoenix Chairs on which former president Chiang Kai-shek and his wife, Soong Mei-ling, sat.

He said the hotel also had had a chair custom-made out of rosewood to welcome the arrival of King Topou IV, who was said to weigh more than 200kg.

Those items will be on display in an exhibition at the hotel, along with the dining utensils used at state banquets, as well as photograph collections.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary, Lee said that the hotel had introduced a feast featuring dishes served at state banquets, which will be open for reservations from the public. The hotel will offer several discount deals for dining and accommodation.
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Old February 27th, 2012, 07:10 PM   #215
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Updated Sunday, February 26, 2012 0:00 am TWN
The China Post
Shida market dispute draws gov't action

Situated only a few meters away from National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) in downtown Taipei, Shida Night Market (師大夜市) is one of the city's most crowded night markets.

Over the years, it has won national fame by becoming a hub of international cuisine, including Korean, Indian, Malaysian, Thai, Tibetan and American-style diners, mostly because of the unique composition of students studying at NTNU.

The university is one of Taiwan's most renowned higher education institutes — instructing Mandarin to foreigners for decades — and it has enrolled students of many different nationalities over the years. Because of this, the community nearby has created its own exotic atmosphere with visitors from all parts of the world.

The widely popular destination, however, recently became a center of confrontations between local residents, stores and stand owners operating in the night market, as well as the city government.

Residents in the nearby community for years have been plagued by the lingering noise, trash and fumes generated by stores and stands operating late into the night in the market that welcomes tens of thousands of visitors daily.

According to statistics, there are now around 30,000 residents surrounding the NTNU night market, and each of them have their own story about how the businesses have damaged their quality of life.

Residents' Protest Draws Government Action

The situation has worsened in the past four years as the market has continued to expand further into the original residential area, with the number of shops sharply increasing to more than 700 from the original 200, Jerry Liu (劉振偉), president of a local residents' self-help organization, told The China Post.

Amid strong opposition from area residents who went as far as to stage a demonstration last Oct. 26 at the bustling market, the mounting pressure forced the Taipei City Government to take a stronger stance in cracking down on illegal operations there.

In response to residents' calls, Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin announced that there would be no further expansion of Shida Night Market in a bid to protect the rights of local residents.

In addition to the expansion ban, Hau also instructed related agencies to impose tight management on existing businesses in the area and to conduct strict screenings for new business applications.

According to relevant regulations, such commercial services as restaurants, retail stands and shops are not allowed to be operated in lanes with a width of under six meters. Many shops and stores around the market are illegally operated in narrow lanes.

Stores in Shida Call for Longer Grace Period

Realizing the fact that they lack legal basis to continue their operations, some of the stores and stands operating in the market formed an alliance earlier this month to enforce a series of self-discipline measures to safeguard themselves from being forced to suspend operations.

Members of the alliance also agreed to close their businesses by 10:30 or 11 p.m. and to ensure that storekeepers and customers leave the area by 12 p.m., according to Wayne Chen (陳澄祥), a member of the alliance.

Chen told The China Post that many of the shop owners in the market admitted error in illegally running their businesses.

“We are not asking for government to allow us to keep doing business unlawfully in the night market, but we are simply asking for a longer grace period so that we can move,” said Chen.
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Old February 28th, 2012, 10:37 AM   #216
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^Well, it's about time. One thing that I decry about Taiwan is the poor concept of respect for public areas: sidewalks are claimed by shop owners whereas pedestrians are forced to walk in the street, and we're not even talking about the infamous "double parking" and "Chinese crossing" that is prevalent here.

Government should have cracked down on these things a long time ago.
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Old February 28th, 2012, 11:30 AM   #217
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Swordsman View Post
^Well, it's about time. One thing that I decry about Taiwan is the poor concept of respect for public areas: sidewalks are claimed by shop owners whereas pedestrians are forced to walk in the street, and we're not even talking about the infamous "double parking" and "Chinese crossing" that is prevalent here.

Government should have cracked down on these things a long time ago.
Would these also impact the stalls that are physically on the street? Thought they got the licenses to operate like that.
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Old March 9th, 2012, 05:48 PM   #218
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Updated Saturday, March 3, 2012 0:09 am TWN
The China Post
Chinese Banyans to be removed for 'prettier' cherry blossoms

A whole row of Chinese Banyans (榕樹) will be forced out of its original residence in Taipei's Fushun Park (撫順公園) by year end and replaced by cherry trees because, as decided by the local residents, “cheery blossoms are prettier.”

Located on Zhongshan North Road, Fushun Park, known for its Chinese Banyan shades, has long been the oasis pedestrians chill at in hot summer days. Two hundred meters away, Yungjing Park (永靜公園) is famous for its gorgeous cherry blossoms, and residents of the district Fushun Park belongs to become envious — to the point that they reached the consensus to replace their Chinese Banyans with cherry blossoms.

“We will not have to crowd with others into Wuling Farm (武陵農場) to see cherry blossoms if we have them right here,” the neighborhood chief said, quoting local residents.

While residents of the area reached the consensus on switching up the scenery, spectators worry that the decision was too rushed, especially amid experts' warnings that cherry blossoms are difficult to take care of.
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Old March 20th, 2012, 07:49 PM   #219
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Updated Tuesday, March 20, 2012 0:02 am TWN
The China post
Taipei dismantles houses over owners' wishes

The Taipei City Government yesterday forcibly dismantled two independent two-story houses in the “Wen Lin Yuan” residential community located on WenLin Road of the Shihlin District as the owners have stubbornly refused to relocate beyond the deadline set by the government to facilitate an urban renewal project for the community.

The city government issued an ultimatum to the owners, surnamed Wang, of the two “nail households” asking them to move or tear down their houses on their own before the deadline of 12:00 a.m., March 19, or see their houses dismantled by the city government.

The government issued a construction license to a land developer to launch an urban renewal project on the said residential community in 2009, but the project has yet to be kicked off due mainly to the boycott of the Wang family owning the two independent two-story houses, although all the remaining 40 homeowners have agreed to join the renewal program.

The Wangs argued that they have long lived in the Shihlin District and therefore hoped to pass the land lots to their offspring. In addition, the Wang said as one of the two houses was revamped only several years ago, and the other was refined for less than 20 years, they don't see any reason why the two houses should be torn down for renewal.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 05:30 PM   #220
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Thu, Mar 22, 2012
Taipei ignores protest over urban renewal project
Taipei Times

The Taipei City Government yesterday said it was pushing through with an urban renewal project despite repeated protests from a family who has refused to moved.

The Wang family’s two apartments in Shilin District (士林) are scheduled for demolition, as their location forms part of an urban renewal project called Wenlin Yuan (文林苑), with construction company Le Young building a 15-story apartment complex in the area.

Several Wang family members staged a protest again yesterday in front of Taipei City Hall, accusing the city government of ignoring their rights to profit the construction company.

“Our family homes are our family treasures, and we expect our children to continue living in these homes,” Wang Yao-teh (王耀德) said.

“We never agreed to the urban renewal project and we need to defend our rights,” he said.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said the construction company had received the consent of more than 95 percent of the landowners on the block, and the city government would proceed with the project in the interests of the majority of the landowners.

“Only 5 percent of the landowners are against the project. We cannot sacrifice the rights of the majority of the landowners in this case,” he said.

Taipei City Urban Redevelopment Office director Lin Chong-jie (林崇傑) said the Wang family had agreed with the project before it was approved by the city government, but changed their mind later on and demanded more subsidies.

The city government will have to help the urban renewal project move forward in accordance with the Urban Renewal Act (都市更新條例) and help the firm take action, city officials said.
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