The gap between planning and reality: the evaluation of commercial land use planning implementation in Kaohsiung city, Taiwan

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The urban planning system in Taiwan has followed the America and Japan systems aiming at controlling and directing private development rights. The statutory plan, the land use control measures as well as zoning ordinances are the main tools for the conformance-oriented plan. To make the conformity, the land development rights tend to be assigned in advanced along with the collective strategies of zoning plans. In most high-density cities in Taiwan, such land use control and management tools are considered highly important for better development orders and environmental quality. Nevertheless, the overall zoning ordinance implementation in Taiwan is considered weak for the two following main reasons. First, the actual urban development of Taiwan could date back to Qing dynasty and the modern urban planning system has been implemented from 1964. Second, to cope with the existing urban form and speedy population increase, mixed land use was widely adopted in the zoning ordinance. As a result, a variety of the types of land use seem to be acceptable in different zones. For instance, residential buildings are allowed to be in commercial districts as well as most service uses are allowed to be in residential districts. Furthermore, property markets, political influences, and citizens' expectations are three major factors on how developments are actually carried out. As a result, in reality, many land development events might, on one hand, comply with the zoning ordinance. Yet, the actual use afterwards fails to comply with the master plan and planning vision on the other hand. Take Kaohsiung city for an example, approximate 35% of commercial districts in the downtown area are occupied by pure high-end residential developments. It further indicates that the zoning plan in Taiwan has rather weak control power to the actual development.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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