古街生存保衛戰?

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1993 / 11月

文‧滕淑芬 圖‧鄭元慶


去過西班牙的遊客,印象最深刻的莫過於它的陽光和古蹟。

義大利呢?「當然是時裝和教堂囉!」典型的觀光客回答。

紐約,紐約,則以它新舊雜陳的建築,與極端的繁華破落,攝人心魂。

這些老建築,都以國寶級的身分被人禮遇,成為觀光財。

而台灣,有些古宅和老街,卻有不同的命運……


每開一條馬路,無形中就有一項文化資產被破壞,這話說得也許誇張。

不過,從台北市林安泰古厝的搬遷、三峽老街抗爭,到近來台中霧峰林家頤圃,也因為在計畫道路上有被切割危險,學界和林家子孫不得不為其「請命」,請都市計畫手下留情。如此看來,保存和開發之間確實有不少爭議。

佔地二千七百坪的林安泰古厝已有二百多年的歷史,原來默默座落在北市敦化南路的所在地。民國六十六年,台北市政府為了把敦化南路拓寬成五十米的林園大道,在「路讓厝、還是厝讓路?」的爭議中,開馬路的這一方最後贏得勝利,老屋只好搬家了。

為了把解體下來的二萬零九百八十二才樑柱、三萬八千零九十三塊磚石、廿四萬零五十片瓦……,重建起來,市政府在七十三年編列了二千六百七十八萬元預算,花費一年半時間,在台北濱江公園旁重新讓古厝「站」起來。

老問題,沒答案

朝現代化大道邁進的台灣,因保存或開發而點燃的衝突早已不是新聞。這次鬧上檯面的是位於三峽民權街上一條長二百公尺、有一百多棟的連排街屋。事關一百多戶居民的權益,可就不是區區幾千萬可以打發的!

三峽民權街的街屋是台灣傳統的長條型店舖住宅,兼具商業和居住功能,內部空間的規劃和外在的亭仔腳、女兒牆設計,源自閩南式的建築。建築立面則混合了西方「巴洛克」式風格,和少數日本的建築圖案。古樸秀雅的風貌,曾吸引許多觀光客的視線。

爭執的爆發點仍然是老問題——「到底要開馬路,還是要保留有八十年歷史的老房子」?在有土斯有財、房地產行情日漲的九十年代台灣,誰又能抵擋土地增值的誘惑?

說是利益之爭,一點也不為過。只不過,居民也有他們的立場。

四年前,當北部第二高速公路經三峽的路線確定後,由中興大學法商學院升格的「台北大學」也相中三峽為預定校址,重大建設一一投入後,三峽房地產開始「發燒」。根據淡江大學建築研究所的調查,三峽舊市區的地價四年前每坪不到新台幣五萬,現在已有四十萬的行情,整整漲了八倍。

「最近房地產市場比較平淡,但只要限制興建樓層數的容積率逐步實施後,很多地方都會像三峽一樣開始搶建」,淡江大學建築研究所副教授米復國指出,所有在都會邊緣的老市街,這兩年都有被拆除的潛在危機。

我家不是古蹟

今年五月一場春雨,使民權街一座年久失修的巴洛克式建築倒塌,而引發了衝突。居民在害怕危屋傾倒「出人命」的情況下,激烈抗爭,要求政府解除古蹟限制。街上開始掛起抗議白布條,牆上書寫持保存主張的學者姓名,直指其「堅持保留破屋殘垣,罔顧民眾生命及財產安全」。

內政部在群情激憤下,八月公佈解除命令,結束了民權街「一年九個月」的三級古蹟命運。

「綁手綁腳」的古蹟限制解除了,民權街就找到自己的方向了嗎?

「不知將來去向、不實在的感覺依然存在」,一年前回到民權街祖宅,開了一家「陶轤」民俗藝品店的陳君澤,是藝專畢業的美術陶藝老師。他指出,如今古蹟限制雖然解除了,也不知道馬路什麼時候會拓寬,「店該怎麼辦?」他問。

多數居民心中想的是,拆了老街,拓寬成十五米道路,可以將舊屋改建成現代化住宅。居民只要提供土地,與建商對半拆帳,就能分得三層半的現代化住屋。

帶頭組成「老街自救委員會」的鎮代表陳雅道說,他家羅馬式建築材質,日後也許可以在「三峽民俗村」內重建。「方法不少,現在可以慢慢地談,三峽可以開發的地方還很多,三峽已經被炒熱了」,陳雅道樂觀地說。

一條街的興衰

都會邊緣的開發熱度,移到台北市更是「強強滾」,針鋒相對的場面也更白熱化。

寬度七.八公尺的台北市迪化街,正是一條文化人心中最愛,力主開發者心中最痛的老街。

臨淡水河興起的商區大稻埕,和民權街一樣在台灣三百年拓展史上,都曾風光一時。日據時代它可是洋行、商行雲集,有錢人才住得起的黃金地段。

長達一千餘公尺的迪化街兩側商店,如今是全省南北貨、布匹、中藥最大的批發市場,每到年節,人潮擁擠;加上媽祖、城隍眾神出巡,熱鬧非凡,交通也為之阻塞。栱圈迴廊、紅磚樓房及花瓶欄杆,混合洋樓式、現代主義式的建築立面,同時令購物者印象深刻。

民國七十五年台北市政府將迪化街劃定為「特定專用區」,希望能透過整體規劃,在不破壞當地文化特色下,達到保存與開發的雙重目的。

徵詢民意之下,迪化街堣G百多位地主吐出一堆苦水:「結構體改變,房子隨時會倒塌;蟑螂、老鼠出沒,不衛生」,「磚造結構已不符現代人生活需要,如何維修?」「北段台北大橋附近,已有特種行業入侵,影響居家安寧」,「迪化街為商業區,道路不拓寬,無法解決卸貨的交通問題」……。

沒落難免,但身價未變。一坪四十萬行情的房價,考驗著迪化街居民要不要拆的決心。早有居民向市府都市發展局申請,希望將舊屋改建成廿層大樓。建築執照卻因整體開發計畫案意見分歧,遲遲無法核發。

迪化街的開發,不僅台北市人瞪著眼看著,日本人也在注視。五年前文化界發起「搶救迪化街」運動時,一度傳出日本某財團準備在迪化街拆除後,大手筆地將立面建材買回去重建,後來因為國內輿論反對,方才作罷。

尋覓第二個春天

八十年歷史的老房子,究竟有沒有保留價值?為了留下文化資產,可不可以犧牲地方繁榮?是不是只有改建一途才能創造老街的「第二個春天」?

這新舊之間的選擇,難倒了不少人。

「根本問題在於,拿古蹟的『凍結』觀念看活的生活社區,是行不通的。生活社區最主要的本質,就是變」,中原大學建築研究所副教授喻肇青指出。他受澎湖縣政府委託,調查馬公中央里居民保存意願,也到當地開過十幾次協調會,居間折衝近二年後,他的做法是,「先和居民談改善公共設施的問題」。

位於澎湖馬公市的中央里,因為鄰近一級古蹟「天后宮」,七十三年被劃入保存區內。早年唐山子民開疆闢土,中央里可是最早的漢人聚落,日後和其它老市街面臨的共同問題都是——缺乏有計畫的公共建設,因而變成安全堪慮的危屋。

保存的作法和討論過程,艱辛而漫長,而且還得對抗「可以馬上算得出來的經濟價值」。但是喻肇青要問:周邊公共設施獲得改善,有了公園、廣場、綠地、消防安全,慢慢地經營生活社區,價值難道不會提高嗎?

「但是價值不能只用金錢衡量,發展原本就是為了生活,所有價值如果都很簡單地被房地產取代,環境與生存的關係也消失不見了」,喻肇青強調。

第三種選擇

著眼點的不同,使得居民與學者的主張有了歧見。對民權街和迪化街的多數居民來說,保存與開發就像一條直線的兩端,雙方在「拆」與「不拆」之間拉扯。那麼,第三種選擇又在哪?

淡水夕陽照耀著古老的、有悠久歷史的中正路。清末港口通商,打開了淡水的對外門戶,沿河岸發展的中正路曾是淡水人的生活動脈。中正路的價值不在建築物,而是一個社區的實在生活。淡水的夕照和老街古宅,使它成為都市人週末假日最喜歡一遊的「黃金旅遊點」。

「眼看著新東西一一出來,淡水的位置在那堙H」鎮長陳俊哲問自己,人家到淡水是來看老東西的,他們端上檯面的新東西能和台北繁華的東區比嗎?在多數居民認可市街更新,並不等於馬路拓寬的前提下,中正路居民決定不當房地產炒作的「籌碼」。

對市街更新十分有心的淡江大學建築系師生,在老街上成立了「淡水社區工作室」,準備和居民一同協力推動將市場移走,讓面向淡水河的福佑宮重見觀音山,使淡水成為文化市集的工作。

他山之石

保存與開發的算盤誰打得精,似乎也很難說。

當然不是所有有文化資產所在地的居民都反對保存,尤其在看過國外因保存成功而獲益的例子之後。

行政院文化建設委員會在今年八月專案補助澎湖中央里和西嶼鄉二崁聚落的居民到日本,深入瞭解川越、奈良、倉敷等聚落居民努力爭取成為保存區的過程,一致認為我國確實應該參考日本「由下而上」的經驗。

日本一些城鎮和台灣一樣,都有人口集中都市,鄉鎮衰微、沒落的現象,以日本岡山縣的倉敷市來說,經過多年醞釀,居民與政府共同努力做好河川整治、街景美化、建築修復後,這個原本以紡織業為主的城鎮,成為日本聚落保存的典範,吸收了不少觀光資源。

中央里居民代表之一林麟祥就感觸良深,他希望能在明年邀請迪化街、九份、淡水、美濃、鹿港等老街居民,召開一個全國老街會議,「讓生活在堶悸漫~民有炫耀感,大家基於榮耀心理來保存。」

日本學者村松貞次郎曾經在文建會主辦的研討會中指出,日本在二次大戰後加速現代化,使得一些老舊建築物、和傳統街道遭到破壞,但是在一九六○年代後,當推動保存的市民運動高漲時,也開始加快保存文化財的腳步。到一九九○年七月為止,全日本共有廿九個地區的街道被指定保存。

更重要的是,村松貞次郎特別強調老街保存「活用、再生」的觀念,因為有人住,就會有破壞,保存不是凍結,而是「創造」。

制訂好遊戲規則

日本能,我們呢?不少學者的共同想法都是:政府只要先制訂好「遊戲規則」,凡是符合保存區條件的市街聚落,就給予補助,讓居民覺得這是「圖利老百姓的事」,還怕沒有人願意?

不過,即使民眾配合意願很高,如何落實,仍是關鍵。

「現在是開大馬路容易,保護小巷道困難,要保護就要有代價」,中央里居民林麟祥說。所謂的代價是指政府須多花錢,而保存區居民也要盡力維護老屋。追究根本,並不是保存區居民不願意留下祖宅,而是主管單位「回去研究協調」的「拖」字訣,讓他們看不到遠景。

中原大學建築系曾在迪化街設立一個和居民溝通的工作站,詢問居民想法,保存和拆除兩派意見僵持不下,又是經年,居民中有人直接反應是,「政府就說到底要怎麼樣嘛?」

每當一項文化資產因保存和開發出問題時,眾人的疑問都是,文化行政的最高機關,能不能適時發揮公權力、解決紛爭?

古調雖自愛,今人多不彈

華梵人文科技學院建築系主任徐裕健,曾經調查全省民政單位人力編制情形,在深入瞭解後,對民政單位也深表同情,「主管二級古蹟的省民政廳,只有二人編制,還得兼辦選舉業務,落到地方就只有一個人了。」

「現在砲口應該一致對準中央的文化政策」,徐裕健說,巧婦難為無米之炊,主計、研考單位在審核古蹟維修工程時,要有彈性;民意代表也要支持政府的文化預算,而不是隨意一刪,砍掉內政部文化資產相關業務一半、相當於二億五千萬元的預算。

保存的代價很大、困難很多,「政府要有先虧錢的想法」,徐裕健強調。

「其實癥結所在大家都知道,就是要整合各相關單位」,內政部民政司史蹟維護科科長趙文傑指出,政府很關心文化建設,目前的難題在經費籌措上,主計單位必須支持。

台灣缺少的絕對不是錢,歷史資產也絕對不應該讓內政部史蹟維護科堣限茪H去維護,「民間力量可以參與所有環節」,一位文化人說,民間有一流的募款人才,「政府只要來搭便車,登高一呼就行了」。

走一趟老街,我們看到什麼?斗大醒目的房地產廣告,「藍天、綠地、人性規劃、百年大鎮」,拆了房子,蓋起大樓,就真能有我們要的生活品質嗎?

〔圖片說明〕

P.6

湖口老街住戶也有空間不夠利用的問題,已有一戶蓋起新屋。

P.7

平靜的湖口老街保留大量日據時代街屋,呈現一種優雅的韻律感。

P.8

「開馬路派」戰勝了原地保留林安泰古厝這派!還好,古厝在濱江公園旁覓得新住所,得以重建。(本刊資料)

P.10

紅磚搭配繁複細緻的「巴洛克式」紋飾,台北人到迪化街購物別有一番風情。

P.10

抗爭古蹟限制的三峽民權街,在限令解除、恢復平靜後,又該何去何從?

P.11

傳統聚落保存個案

P.12

淡水文化市集在假日開鑼。逛完了攤位,就可以散步到河岸邊欣賞落日。

P.13

澎湖馬公市中央街附近有個一級古蹟「四眼井」,觀光客最愛光臨。

P.14

日本京都清水寺旁的老街上,賣著各式小吃、藝品,觀光客可以消磨一天。

P.15

以每平方公里古蹟數計算,義大利堪稱世界第一,古老建築物在義大利是不是比在我國幸運?此圖所在地為佛羅倫。

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EN

Old Streets Battle for Survival

Teng Sue-feng /photos courtesy of Cheng Yuan-ching /tr. by D.J. Toman

What stands out most in the minds of visitors to Spain is the country's sun and historic sites.

what of Italy?"Without question, it's the fashion and the cathedrals!" is the typical response from tourists.

New York, New York. It is the startling contrasts between this town's old and new architecture, and its extremes of prosperity and poverty, that grip one's mind and refuse to let go.

The old architecture of the above places is treated as national treasure and an asset with which to attract tourist dollars.


But in Taiwan, the fate of early residences and quaint old streets is entirely different...

Whenever a road is built, a cultural asset is inevitably destroyed. Perhaps this is stretching the truth a bit.

Nevertheless, from the relocation of Taipei's Lin An-tai traditional family residence, the protests of Sanhsia residents over the fate of the town's old streets, to the pleas by scholars and Lin clan descendants for urban planners to spare the Lin Family Garden in Taichung's Wufeng district, seemingly endless conflicts exist between preservation and development.

The over 200 year-old, 8000 square meter Lin An-tai compound once stood quietly on Taipei's Tunhua South Road. Then, when in 1977 the Taipei city government considered widening Tunhua S. Rd. into a 50-meter boulevard, a controversy erupted over whether the road should yield to the homestead or the homestead capitulate to the road. The road eventually won the battle, and the old home was forced to migrate elsewhere.

In order to put 20,982 beams, 38,093 bricks, and 240,050 tiles back together again in one piece, in 1984 the city government allocated a NT$26.78 million budget and spent a year and one half of time to get the old residence back on its feet at its new location beside Taipei's Sungchiang Park.

Same problem, no answers:

For Taiwan, whose cities are progressively building modern urban avenues, conflicts ignited over preservation versus development are old news. The latest case to attract notice is that of a 200 meter long winding stretch of over 100 old houses along Minchuan St. in Sanhsia. As the ease has bearing over the interests of over 100 households, it is not something that a simple several million dollars can solve.

Sanhsia's Minchuan St. rowhouses are traditional Taiwanese combined shops and residences. Their interior arrangements and unique exterior designs belong to the Hoklo (southern Fukien) architectural style. The buildings' facades combine a baroque style with select Japanese architectural patterns. The quaint yet refined appearance once attracted quite a few tourists.

The point of contention in this controversy is the same old problem--whether to build a road or preserve a historical 80 year-old row of houses. In 1990s Taiwan, where land is money and real estate values continue to soar, who can resist the temptation of land value appreciation?

While it is accurate to call this a conflict of interests, we cannot overlook the position of the residents.

Four years ago, when it was determined that a stretch of the Second Northern Freeway would pass by Sanhsia, and when Sanhsia was chosen as the home for Taipei University, which grew out of National Chunghsing University's Graduate School of Business and Law, one major construction project after another sent the price of real estate in Sanhsia skyrocketing. According to a survey conducted by Tamkang University's Graduate School of Architecture, four years ago the price of land in the old city district of Sanhsia was less than NT$50,000 (US$2000) per ping (36 sq. feet), but now the going rate has gone up eightfold to a whopping NT$400,000 (US$16,000) per ping.

"The housing market has been a bit slower of late, but as long as restrictions on the number of floors which can be built are gradually put into effect, we'll see a rush to build in many places besides Sanhsia," says Mi Fu-kuo, associate professor at Tamkang University's Graduate School of Architecture. Over the last two years, all the old village streets bordering urban areas have faced the ever-present threat of demolition.

My home is not a historic site:

When heavy rain this past May caused the collapse of a dilapidated baroque structure behind Minchuan St., a conflict soon erupted. Fearing that the rickety old houses might collapse and cause human tragedy, residents protested to the government, demanding that historic site restrictions be lifted. White banners of protest were hung out on the streets, and the names of pro-preservation scholars were scrawled on walls, as were accusations that their "insistence on preserving run-down relics disregards the security of people and property."

Facing the intense indignation of local residents, the Ministry of the interior finally succumbed in August and lifted the zoning order, ending Min-chuan Street's one year and nine month stint as a Class C Historic Site.

Now that the inhibiting historic site restrictions have been lifted, has Minchuan St. found its own direction? "The feeling of uncertainty and uneasiness about the future still lingers," says Chen Chun-tse. Chen, an art teacher and graduate of the National Taiwan Academy of Arts, returned to the Minchuan St. home of his ancestors last year and opened a traditional handicraft store there. He says that while the historical site zoning restrictions have been lifted. no one knows when the road will be widened. "What am I supposed to do about my store?" he asks.

Most residents believe that if the old street is razed and the road widened to 15 meters. then their old dwellings can be turned into modern houses. As long as they provide the land and split the demolition bill with the builder, they can have their share of a modern three and one-half story building.

Village representative Chen Ya-tao, who was behind the formation of the Old Street Self-Preservation Committee, says that his family's Romanesque fittings can be re-fabricated at a future "Sanhsia Cultural Village." There are a lot of ways to deal with the situation, and now we can take the time to talk things through. Sanhsia still has a lot of places which can be developed. Sanhsia's real estate is already going through the roof," he says, with more than a hint of optimism.

The rise and fall of a street:

If real estate bordering urban areas is hot, and Taipei city land is hotter, then the passions over contested urban land run to the boiling point.

Taipei city's Tihua Street, just seven or eight meters wide, is a favorite of culturally minded people and a headache for would-be developers. Like Minchuan Street, Tataocheng, a historic commercial district on the Tamsui River, once played a significant role in Taiwan's 300 year history of development. During the Japanese period, Tihua St., home to numerous western and Chinese style stores, was a golden strip where only the rich could afford to live.

These days, the I km strip known as Tihua St. is home to Taiwan's largest wholesale market, particularly for cloth and herbal medicine. The street gets especially busy around Chinese New Year, when crowds of shoppers and temple-goers clog the street and traffic comes to a standstill. The street's arched passageways, red brick houses, planter fences, and its mixed classical western and modernist architecture leave lasting impressions on those who shop there.

In 1986 the Taipei city government designated Tihua Street as a special district in hopes that, through overall planning and without diminishing the local cultural flavor, preservation and development could go hand-in-hand.

Over two hundred landowners who were asked for their opinions had nothing but gripes to offer. "The structure's been changed, and now the house could topple over at any moment; roaches and rats come and go, it's so unsanitary"; "the brick structural design is no longer in keeping with the needs of modern lifestyles--how is one to repair it?"; "the northern section by the Taipei Bridge has been infiltrated by prostitution, disturbing the peace of the residents"; "Tihua Street is a commercial district, and unless the roads are widened there is no way to resolve the traffic problems caused by the loading and unloading of goods". . . .

Decline is unavoidable, yet Tihua Street real estate is just as valuable as ever. The NT$400,000 per ping price tag of housing is testing the determination of street residents to tear down existing structures. Years ago, residents applied to the Taipei city government's City Planning Commission to turn the street's old structures into 20-story high rises. But due to differences of opinion over the overall development plan, the building license was never granted.

The development of Tihua Street interests more than just Taipei city residents, as even the Japanese have designs on it. Five years ago, when a "Save Tihua Street" movement was started in cultural circles, a Japanese consortium reportedly planned on purchasing the street's building facades at great expense and reconstructing them back in Japan, but the plan was scrapped when opinion in Taiwan came out against it.

In search of a new life:

Is there any value in preserving 80-year-old houses? Most local development be sacrificed in order to leave behind cultural assets? And is reconstruction the only way to breath new life into an old street?

Quite a few people have been stumped by the choice between the old and the new.

"At the very root, the problem is that one can not just apply the concept of freezing historic sites to a living community. The defining characteristic of a community is change," says Chung Yuan University Associate Professor Yu Chao-ching. Enlisted by the Penghu county government to survey residents' interest in preservation, after holding over a dozen meetings with Makung's Chungyang Ward residents and nearly two years of failed efforts at compromise among residents, Yu decided to "first discuss the issue of improving public facilities with local residents."

Due to its close proximity to Class A historic site Matsu Temple, Chungyang Ward, in Penghu County's Makung city, was incorporated into a preservation zone in 1984. But professor Yu Chao-ching asks rhetorically that if public facilities in the surrounding area are improved, and if parks, public squares, green spaces, and fire fighting facilities are provided and a community is gradually built, won't property values go up?

"The point is that one cannot measure worth with money alone. The point of development is to benefit life, so if worth is simply supplanted by real estate, then the relationship between the environment and existence disappears," Yu stresses.

A third choice:

Different focuses stand between residents and scholars. For the majority of residents of Minchuan and Tihua streets, preservation and development are two polar opposites between which they play out an endless tug-of-war. But what is the third choice other than these two extremes?

The setting sun glows on Tamsui's ancient, history-rich Chungcheng Road. The port began commerce in the late Ching dynasty, opening Tamsui's door to the outside world. Chungcheng Road Developed along the river, once served as a lifeline or Tamsui residents. The value of the road does not lie in its buildings, but rather in its practical community life. Tamsui's glorious sunsets and quaint old streets and houses make it a tourism gold mine popular with city visitors on weekends.

"As all these new things appear one after another, where does Tamsui stand?" township chief Chen Chun-che asks himself. People come to Tamsui to see old things, and could anything new which Tamsui comes up with compare with the bustling eastern section of Taipei? Given recognition on the part of most residents that refurbishing of town streets doesn't mean the simple widening of roads, Chungcheng Rd. residents have determined not to let themselves become pawns in the real estate speculation game.

Tamkang University students and faculty, who have taken a personal interest in the renovation of the old town streets, established a Tamsui Community Workshop on the old street. They are set to help residents relocate the bazaar area. This way, Fuyou Temple overlooking the Tamsui River can see Kuanyin Mountain once again and Tamsui can become a cultural settlement.

Learning a thing or two abroad:

It is hard to say who makes more economic sense, the preservationists or developers.

Granted, not all residents in culturally rich areas oppose preservation, especially those who have seen the economic benefits that successful preservation was brought in other places around the world.

The Executive Yuan's Council for Cultural Planning and Development allotted special assistance funds for the people of Chungyang Ward and Hsiyu Township's Erkan settlement on Penghu island this past August. After traveling to Japan to learn how local residents in places such as Kawagoe, Nara and Kurashiki made efforts to gain protected status pay off, all agreed that Taiwan could stand to learn a lesson from Japan's bottom-to-top experience.

Many of Japan's cities and villages resemble Taiwan's in that decline can be seen in densely populated urban areas and towns. After years of effort, residents of Okayama Prefecture's Kurashiki teamed up with the government over river dredging, street beautification, and building restoration. As a result, this textile town became a model for the preservation of Japanese settlements, attracting four million tourists in one year.

Lin Lin-hsiang, a Chungcheng Ward representative, hopes to get residents of such historic settlements as Tihua St., Chiufen, Tamsui, Meinung, and Lukang together next year for a national conference of old neighborhoods. The purpose of such a con ference, he says, would be "to allow the people who live within them to feel as if they have something to show off, and to bring everyone together to preserve these neighborhoods out of pride for them. "

Japanese scholar Muramatsu Teijiro noted at a conference sponsored by the Council for Cultural Planning and Development that accelerated post-war modernization in Japan brought destruction to some, old buildings and traditional streets, but since the 1960s, when the preservation movement took off in Japan, protection of cultural assets began to quicken. As of July 1990, Japan had 29 streets tagged for preservation.

Even more important, Muramatsu Teijiro stresses, is the concept of active regeneration of old streets. Since wherever people live there is bound to be destruction, preservation means creation, not freezing.

Laying down the ground rules:

Japan can do it, but what about Taiwan? It is commonly believed among many scholars that as long as the government can lay down the ground rules, all neighborhoods which meet the conditions for protected zones should receive assistance. Of course, if the people are made to feel as if they are being taken advantage of, then it is clear they will not be very accommodating.

Still, no matter how accommodating the people are willing to be, the key question is how to put ideas into practice.

"These days it's easy to build a road but hard to protect an old alley because protection carries a cost," says Chungyang Ward resident Lin Lin hsiang. The costs he alludes to are that the government must spend more money and residents of the protected area must all chip in to maintain their old homes. At its root, the problem is not that the residents of protected zones are unwilling to keep the homes of their ancestors, but rather it is the stalling of governing departments who promise to "go back and look into the matter" which keeps them from getting a clear idea of the long-term prospects.

The architecture department of Chung Yuan University set up a work station at Tihua Street to facilitate communication with local residents and probe for their opinions. After years of stalemate between would-be preservationists and developers, the immediate reaction of some residents was "what on earth is the government doing?"

Whenever problems arise surrounding the fate of a cultural asset, so that preservation must be balanced against development, the question for most people is: can the highest authorities in charge of cultural administration play their part in timely fashion to resolve the conflict?

Fundraisers needed:

Hsu Yu-chien, chairman of the architecture department at the Huafan Institute of Technology, surveyed manpower distribution at civil affairs authorities throughout Taiwan. After taking a close look at the situation, Hsu acquired great sympathy for civil affairs departments."The provincial Department of Civil Affairs, which oversees all Class B historic sites, is staffed by only two people, plus it must also take on election duties. At the local level there is normally just one person in this position."

"Now the cultural policy of the central authorities should be under attack," Hsu Yu-chien says. Nothing can be accomplished without the basic ingredients, and budgetary and planning departments must have flexibility when assessing the restoration of historic sites. Legislators should also support the government's cultural budget, not hack at it at will, as happened to half of the Ministry of the Interior's cultural assets work budget, or a full NT$250 million.

The price of preservation is high, the difficulty tremendous. "The government must be prepared to lose money at first," stresses Hsu Yu-chien.

"Actually, as everyone knows, the key is getting all responsible departments together over the issue," says Chao Wen-chieh, chief of the Historical Site Preservation Section at the Ministry of the Interior's Civil Affairs Department. The government is highly concerned with cultural development, but the problem at this time is fundraising, which calls for assistance from budgetary departments.

Taiwan is certainly not lacking for money, and historical assets should by no means be assigned to five people in the Ministry of the interior's Historical Site Preservation Section. One cultural figure says, "Popular forces can participate at every step." There are plenty of outstanding fundraisers among the people, so "all the government has to do is ride in on their coattails."

Strolling along Taiwan's old streets, what do we see? Billboards filled with real estate advertisements with words like "blue sky, green fields, user-friendly design, century-old village." Will tearing down old houses to make way for high rises really give us the quality of life we seek?

[Picture Caption]

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The residents of the old Hukou Street find there is not enough space, and one has gone ahead to build a new home.

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Old rowhouses from the Japanese period still stand in quiet old Hukou Street, imparting a feeling of rhythmic elegance.

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The "road builders" were victorious over the group of people who wantedto keep the old Lin An-tai compound in its original place. At least the old homestead was able to find new life next to Sungchiang Park. (Sinorama file photo)

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Red brick adorned with detailed baroque patterns afford Taipei residents a unique atmosphere in which to carry out their shopping at Tihua Street.

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After successfully protesting historic site zoning restrictions, now that quiet has returned to Sanhsia's Minchuan Street, what path shall residents choose next?

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The Tamsui cultural bazaar is open on weekends and holidays: Visitors can take in the sunset by the river bank after a day at the market.

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A popular Class A historic site, the "Four-eyed Well," lies just off Chungyang Street in Makung city, Penghu County.

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On the old street winding down from Kyoto's Kiyomizu Temple, all kinds of treats and handicrafts are sold. Visitors would have no trouble Spending an entire day here.

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Italy takes the prize for the most historic sites per square kilometer. Are ancient buildings better off in Italy than in Taiwan? This photo was taken in Florence.

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