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June 2021
MOST Center for Global Affairs and Science Engagement (GASE) , Taiwan
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Since the end of World War II, the countries in East Asia have witnessed industrialization and urbanization at an accelerate pace. Rural population moved to the cities in each region, while the population of the cities in each region concentrated in the capital, resulting in the growing gap between urban and rural areas. In the 1990’s, some scholars have pointed out that the “Marginal Settlement” faced the challenge of population loss and thus it was difficult to support the operation of local governments economically. In 2014, “Local Elimination Theory” further pointed out that the phenomenon of aging society and the imbalance between urban and rural development will lead to the disappearance of nearly 900 municipalities. In response to this issue, the Japanese government put forward the policy of “Regional Revitalization”, trying to create employment opportunities in areas and villages outside Tokyo so as to reverse population outflow....Read More

Research Highlights

Imagining the Future of Taiwan’s Regional Revitalization

As Taiwan is facing a low birth rate, declining population in remote areas, and imbalance between city and countryside, the government has begun to promote “regional revitalization” as treatment for Taiwan’s unequal population distribution. The regional revitalization program aims at long-term integration of diverse resources from ministries, industries, technologies, and local societies, in order to achieve balanced development in Taiwan. Firstly, it aims to discover indigenous uniqueness, or the DNA of the local communities, including the regional culture, landscape and history of industries. Secondly, this program reinforces the reginal potential and competitiveness by bringing the ministries’ counselling mechanism, industrial investment and innovative technology into the local society; a local brand and image could thus be established. By these measures, remote areas would be able to attract the young generation to return to their birthplace to inject new blood therein.

Taiwan’s Executive Yuan held two meetings on the “National Strategic Plan for Regional Revitalization” in 2018, and declared the year 2019 to be the first year of Taiwan’s regional revitalization. Therefore, 2019 marks the turning point of Taiwan’s regional industrial development. In the recent two years, numerous success stories of “turning desert dust into gold” have been heard and many touching experiences have been shared among numerous regions. The June Newsletter showcases Taiwan’s regional revitalization by seven authors who are working on-site with their expertise.

Their works could be categorized into three main areas: (1) “University Social Responsibility,” fulfilled by several university projects such as the Fun Young Pine Team of National Central University in Taoyuan, “Pioneer City” of National Chung Hsing University in Wufeng, and the Long-term Care App (LCTApp) of National Chi Nan University in Nantou. (2) “Innovative Technology,” developed by municipal governments such as Taichung’s rural tourism strategy, and Nantou’s plan for the rebirth of Jiufenershan in Nangang village where inductive analysis of geography is employed to boost local industry. (3) “Youth Returning Home” is particularly promoted by the National Development Council which has set up Youth Workshops providing subsidies and housing to empower and attract youth to work in their hometowns.

These varied projects and practices involve diverse participants across industrial, governmental, educational, academic, and communal sectors. By common efforts and local consensus, they have not only won great and shining accomplishments, but have also broadened our imagination of the future of Taiwan’s regional revitalization. We are convinced that Taiwan will be able to highlight the characteristics of this program, and reduce the imbalance between city and countryside in the near future.