Identity Politics and Culture-Led Urban Regeneration in Hualien City, Taiwan

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Since the 1990s, cities in Taiwan have begun to seek urban development strategies to solve new urban problems. The strategies have produced many new urban places, including revitalization of heritage, reuse of spare space, mega urban projects. The production of these urban new places is related to political decentralization and economic transformation driven by globalization, neo-liberalism, post-Fordism, and post-industry. This research will explore urban change and the political and economic context of urban development strategies of Hualien City— a small tourist city in the east coast of Taiwan, focusing on the period of political democratization and economic liberalization after the 1990s. Localities have become an important arena to mitigate the impact of globalization. The economic base and spatial structure of most places have changed due to the rise of post-Fordism and deindustrialization. Global economic change also affects new discourses of urban development. Neo-liberalism changes previous urban polices that emphasize redistribution and even development to new principles of competitiveness, privatization, entrepreneurship, flexibility, and decentralization. Therefore, local governments play an increasingly important role. The research will explore the following issues: 1. Explore major trends of the world economy, the impacts of these trends on cities of Taiwan, the spatial relations of cities, and the ways Hualien City have responded to these changes. 2. Explore the political economic process of urban policies in Taiwan and urban development in Hualien City. 3. Examine the discourses in the production of new urban places in Hualien City, especially the arguments for and against neo-liberalism (Leitner, Peck and Sheppard, 2007).
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neo-liberalism, Asia, development strategies, Taiwan, urban development, developmental state, new urban places
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