International Intensive Urban Workshop in Tainan.
27 June to 6 July 2011
Architectural Association Graduate School Housing & Urbanism Programme,
National Cheng-Kung University Departments of Architecture and of Urban Planning, National Chiao-Tung University Graduate Institute of Architecture,
with the collaboration and support of Tainan City Government.
This intensive workshop in Tainan, Taiwan, was hosted by the City Government and the National Cheng-Kung University We organised the workshop into three groups, mixing students and teachers from all the institutions. After two days of talks and visits which introduced the regional and city scales of the changing dynamic in Tainan, and the specifics of the central urban condition of the project to bury the railway tracks, each group was then autonomous in developing its approach over the following seven days. Each group presented its argument and proposals to an academic review in the university, and then to a public debate with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, City Government officials and many of the other stakeholders in the re-development of this central part of Tainan.
The work of the three groups aims to open-up questions and to explore possible approaches to the future urban development of Tainan. It is not design at the level you would find in specific architectural projects; and it is not plan making as you would find in the work of urban planners dealing with traffic engineering, land use definitions, plot sizes, floor area ratios and other technical constraints. This short exercise expects the student groups to propose strategies for generating a more productive urban condition in Tainan. Each group proposes a plan in the sense of a spatial strategy that aims to make the best of the opportunity that confronts Tainan to reposition itself in the context of southern Taiwan and of the country as a whole, and to be a leader in the next steps of developing a knowledge-based economy.
One aim of our international workshops, as well as providing a very rich educational experience, is to collaborate with city planners, policy makers, institutions and professionals who are working on aspects of the real situation. This is not to become ‘consultants’ to the process but rather to produce parallel research and ideas which may help in developing proposals. The experience of debate is important to the students, and can also help in the actual situation by opening-up a richer discussion of the potential both of the physical design and of the concept of the development.