Landscape development in Taiwan



Background of design


The evolution and understanding of landscape thinking in Taiwan is based on agronomy and horticulture, and with the emergence and development of an agricultural society, our ways of thinking have been reshaped. Twenty years ago, the core of "landscape" was centered around floral garden technology, urban beautification and nature conservation. However, the global outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020 has devastated global social and economic activities. As the pandemic spreads, it is critical to rethink the landscape profession as a relevant profession and visualize future development.


The landscape profession ranges from territorial planning, regional planning, urban planning, and recreation planning to general landscape planning and design, garden design, cultural asset preservation and revitalization, and urban regeneration, etc. With the concept of sustainable development fusing in, the definition of the landscape has become more inclusive.


This article attempts to elaborate on the current legislative process, industry integration, and academic promotion in Taiwan from three perspectives. To start with, the legislation sheds light on the landscape value, and it also serves as a guideline for the overall landscape structure. Supplemented with professionals’ feedbacks and experiences, the landscape industry and design thinking can serve as an impetus force for the government and decision-makers to rethink and redesign the way we interact with each other and the environment. Thus, we can identify ways to build sustainable cities and shape landscape resilience.


The landscape legislation development in Taiwan

1. Landscape professional development in Taiwan

The establishment of a university department entitled “landscape” 30 years ago marked the beginning of the development of the landscape profession in Taiwan. However, it wasn’t until 1997 that the government began the "urban and rural landscape renovation campaign.” Before that, the landscape profession wasn’t recognized, and there were no consensuses among various professions on how they view landscape.


Industrialization from the 1950s to the 1980s is known as Taiwan’s economic boom. The massive investment in development and construction was a double-edged sword, income increased, but it took a toll on the environment, pollution and damage were severe. In light of this, environmental quality and protection started to gain traction, leading to the establishment of national parks and national scenic areas, and green areas in cities have become important indicators of environmental quality.


As the living standard rises significantly, people are paying more attention to the quality of the landscape, but the overall landscape lacks characteristics and coordination. In recent years, many important natural landscapes or environments of great cultural, historical, and artistic significance have been lost due to new construction, resulting in losses in ecological environments and skylines.


From the spatial planning drafted by the government to land use and landscape-related plans at the county and city levels should align with sustainability, and various sectors should integrate and coordinate with each other. In the new era, Taiwan's territorial planning should put more emphasis on quality, environmental improvement, and territorial conservation and habitat creation. We will actively promote "landscape planning" as an important tool in the land-use control system to ensure that the development and utilization of land are carried out with respect for the natural environment and culture. And the environmental damage caused by urban development can be restored. These changes will also bring on transitional changes in the development and control system of traditional urban planning.


 2. Why do we promote landscape legislation

It has been more than 20 years since the "urban and rural landscape renovation campaign" began in 1997, and Taiwanese people are paying more attention to the landscape and aesthetics in their surroundings. From Japan, the US, Germany, and the European Union’s experiences in landscape development, we know that landscape covers an array of areas, from traditional gardens, parks to city squares, streets, open spaces, green spaces, schools, national parks, nature reserves, and the entire environment. The landscape is tightly connected with nature, cities and buildings. We used to view landscape as an external space of the city, but now we value it more than the façade. Nowadays, the planning of landscape must be coordinated with urban planning and architectural design to create a co-existing space for humans, cities and nature to meet the needs of social development.


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