According to the Taipei City Government, on January 5, Mayor Ko Wen-je attended a press conference to commemorate the reopening of the historic "No. 3, Aiguo East Road" building. He also took the chance to praise the city's achievements in restoring old structures, stopping by the Taihoku City Prison's former officer dorms on Jinhua Street to examine renovation efforts.
During his speech, the mayor mentioned that Taipei has 496 cultural properties, making it the country's largest city in terms of cultural assets. Since 2014, the municipal government has invested around NT$1.25 billion in these facilities, as well as securing NT$200 million in funds from the central government.
The former officer dormitories of Taihoku City Prison located along Jinhua Street. (Photo / Provided by Taipei City Government)
However, as the mayor pointed out, the public sector cannot maintain these structures on its own. That is why the municipal government launched the Old Housing Cultural Movement Initiative, which aims to build initiatives based on a public-private partnership model. The strategy allows private sector partners to recoup their investment in building renovations through rent exemptions, use charge savings, and tax benefits.
The local government has successfully matched 16 cultural assets and expects to complete restorations on six additional buildings this year. It is expected that 22 historic buildings would become key cultural centers in Taipei City in the future.
Taipei is not merely a city of high-rises, but also a city that honors monuments. (Photo / Provided by Taipei City Government)
To attract more tourists, the mayor also advised the Department of Cultural Affairs to highlight the renovated old structures on Google Maps. Each old structure is a vault housing unique stories as well as an edifice. The structure that reopened today was once the deputy directors' dormitory at Taihoku City Prison, and he believes it is appropriate to tell the facility's story to tourists. Apart from a stand-alone wall, there isn't much remained of the prison today.
He believes that the attempts to renovate historic buildings will demonstrate to the rest of the world that Taipei is not merely a city of high-rises, but also a city that honors monuments that are part of its citizens' shared experiences.