Participatory Preservation – the 11th Village of Air Force Military in Hsinchu, Taiwan

By Pearl Wang

For the past two decades, participatory preservation has become popular among the citizens and activists, and has developed huge impacts on the evolution of New Social Movements in Taiwan. The 11th Village of Air Force Military in Hsinchu City, Taiwan has been a special case, because of its experimental trial-and-error bottom-up planning process of historic preservation back in 2000.

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This building complex with five Japanese style buildings is located in Hsinchu Park, which was originally designed as a villa prepared for Japanese Emperor’s visit to Taiwan in Japanese colonial period. Unfortunately, he never came. With the lake in front and hills on the background, it experienced nice scenery. During Japanese colonial period, it was a restaurant for Japanese and celebrity only. During World War II, it became entertaining place for Japanese officers and Air Force military by Korean women. All officers had their party night before they executed the national suicidal service. After KMT took over Taiwan, the building complex was converted to residential for Air Force base. It became private residential with high wall and security.
For these two periods, these buildings in public land only served certain people, and were a forbidden ground to the public. Therefore, when local government planned to tear these buildings down and made it into an open space in 1997, all problems come out, and people began to fight with their rights. This is a main argument while preservation movement was introduced by several people who moved to Hsinchu for work and study.

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