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Postmodern City & Space of Flows. Taipei’s Examples. Outline. Starting Questions Taipei’s Hybrid Identity –a Historical Perspective Review 1: Planned City vs. Organic City Review 2: Taipei’s History

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  • Starting Questions

  • Taipei’s Hybrid Identity –a Historical Perspective

    • Review 1: Planned City vs. Organic City

    • Review 2: Taipei’s History

  • Taipei’s Hybrid Identity –a “Global Economy” Perspective (〈台灣的文化編入與脫落-依賴城市都市象徵初步觀察〉 )

    3. 〈公寓導遊〉


    5. Ref.〈城市飛行〉

Starting questions 1
Starting Questions (1)

  • Do you find anything in common among Vive l’amour (愛情萬歲), The Personal (徵婚啟事) and Love Go Go (愛情來了)?

    Vive l’amour (愛情萬歲), The Personal (徵婚啟事) and Love Go Go (愛情來了):

    • Love and Human Connections in Taipei – difficult because

    • They happen among “strangers,” or people outside of marriage/family and in public spaces;

    • They happen to people who seem to be/are uprooted and in the flows

  • Difference: Love Go Go as a Comedy

    • Comic (or imperfect) characters + their difficulties + traumas

    • Positive treatments of human connections

Starting questions 11
Starting Questions (1)

  • How about 系統的多重關係 and 公寓導遊?

  • The school and the apartment as miniature society—in multiple relations

  • An “omniscient” narrator connecting the characters’ lives

  • Difference --公寓導遊

    • Apartment Tour Guide –less sympathetic and more objective

    • The lives – more diverse, connected by coincidence, accidence or mere concurrence.

People in the urban flows
People in the Urban Flows

  • Flows of desires, commodities, information, people and capital.

  • The Two(Three) Stories –

  • The characters not family members; instead, they are interconnected

    • by mere chance

    • by chance in their common space and by their past (公寓導遊)Love Go Go

    • by their common dreams (kite, plane and flying), mutual support (the two films) and/or fears (公寓).

  • Three class levels: middle class at 富禮 and Love Go Go, middle and lower class in 城市飛行; with menial jobs, jobless or emotionally empty.

Starting questions 2
Starting Questions (2)

  • What is “space of flows”? And what causes it?

  • Happy Together (春光乍洩)

  • Love Go Go (愛情來了)

Starting questions 21
Starting Questions (2)

  • What is “space of flows”? And what causes it?

  • Flows: a general feature in postmodern society (caused by technologies—esp. telecommunication—multinational capitalism and global migration.

  • Five kinds: people and traffic, goods, information, virus and desire.

  • Issues:

    a. different degrees of mobility;

    b. the global vs. the local in the uneven flows of goods ( geometry of power);

    c. Compression of time and space (space virtualized or non-place)

    d. risk factors

    e. Loss of stable relations and identity

Space of flows 2
Space of Flows (2)

  • Manual Castells: Network Society and Space of Flows

  • 3 levels of flows:

    • The flows of information (electronic communication)

    • The network of nodes (節點; e.g. mega-cities like Taipei) and hubs (中繼站; e.g. station, airport, port and telecommunication system)

    • Transnational Elite groups (decision makers, entrepreneurs and technicians)

Starting questions 3
Starting Questions (3)

  • Can you explain the following concepts?

  • 空間不只反映社會,空間就是社會。(Space does not only reflect society; the spatial is/constructs the social.)

  • Informal sector presents a set of dynamic historical relations with the national system playing a role between the formal and the informal.

  • Urban forms are symbolic expressions of urban meanings and layered histories.

  • The cultural forms of a space (e.g. architecture) is ideological, or ideological-spatial practice.

Taipei as a postmodern city
Taipei as a Postmodern City

  • Review: A hybrid space

    • with layers of colonial meanings;

  • Focus today: A mode of dependent urbanization marked with contradictions and informal sectors.

Planned city vs organic city
Planned City vs. Organic City

  • Planned City (or Administrative City): Beijin (北京), Rome, Brasilia

  • Organic City (or market town) – LA, Tamsui (淡水)

  • Hybrid type: Imposition of an Administrative City plan on a market town structure –Taipei (Ref. Joseph Allen )

Taipei its hybrid styles
Taipei: its Hybrid Styles

  • Multiple colonization

  • Change of rulers; change of styles: Ching Japanese  KMT  US Neocolonialism

  • New rulers ‘quoted’ some architectural styles to assert and ensure its power. (Quoting, but not developing a style responsive to local environment.)

Taipei hybrid sites
Taipei: Hybrid Sites

1. Taipei station –北門 vs. highway and high buildings

2. 植物園-- 清衙門 and 天文館

3. 新公園-- 牌坊, 火車 and 省博物館

4. 中山北路 – the Japanese + the American


1895-1925 Japanese Modernization – European-Style architecture, Parks, Blvd, Taiwan Hospital, S-Tokufu總督府 & Japanese Houses

Taipei hybrid sites 2
Taipei: Hybrid Sites (2)

KMT Rule

  • Renamed the streets with nomenclature from 1. mainland Chinese geography; 2. authoritative figures (中山、中正、羅斯福) and traditional Chinese concepts (忠孝)

  • “palace” styles building – faux-traditional buildings

Taipei s hybrid identity in global economy
Taipei’s Hybrid Identity in Global Economy

  • Taipei as a dependent city in a developing country (dependent urbanization)?

  • Dependent Urbanization:

    • Opposed to city growth in industrialized areas, dependent urbanization must be understood as the expression of the colonial/neo colonial social dynamic of human settlements;

    • In Africa, Asia, and Latin America patterns of urbanization areinternationallydependents and the existence of "overurbanization" is related to international investment and its focus on industrial manufacturing.

    • Taipei is NOT a good example.

  • Ref. 依賴式經濟

  • 台灣都市發展的演進―歷史的回顧與展望

Anti dependent urbanization
anti-dependent urbanization

Dependency theory vs. modernization theory:

  • ‘Most of modern literature on third world urbanization rejects the "overurbanization, lack of planning" thesis which prevailed in the early sixties, and adopted the structuralist point of view, arguing that much of the main patterns of urbanization in Africa, Asia and Latin America is in direct relation with pattern of industrialization, which are driven by rich-poor countries patterns of trade and international production.’(Róinson Rojas )

Taipei s modernization
Taipei’s Modernization

  • 1945-1970 – urbanization

  • 1970-1990 – minor suburbanization

  • 1990 -2000 –suburbanization

  • 2000 –~ - re-urbanization or de-urbanization (mega-city)

Postmodern city space of flows

Source pp. 5-6

Traces of dependent urbanization taiwan s case
Traces of Dependent Urbanization: Taiwan’s Case

  • Rapid urbanization caused by urban migration and industrialization.

  • Contradictions – between the cities and the ‘rural’ regions problems in the rural regions’ environment (caused by factories), labor relations and agriculture in the rural regions. (e.g. 熱帶魚) p. 312

  • Prevalence of informal sectors/economy in the cities. 「都市非正式經濟構成了台灣都市生活的基本形式」(夏 310)

  • Articulation of elite culture and disarticulation of values of grass root society.

Contraditions in taipei s urbanization possible development
Contraditions in Taipei’s Urbanization: Possible Development

  • (夏 p. 312-13) prediction made in 1989

  • Increasing urban migration and discrepanciesbetween the cities and the rural regions.

  • Opportunist activities prevail, which increases the gap between the haves and have-not’s.

  • The rise of new urban centers, decline of the old ones (?), suburbanization of service industry

  • Contradiction between growth and decline: The increasing power of monopolizing enterprises, ‘destructive creation’ of urban landscape.

  • Deteriorating environment and the increase of risks.

    Any comments?

Dependent urbanization in taiwan 2
Dependent Urbanization in Taiwan (2) Development

  • (夏 p. 312-13)

  • The need for and constructions of a city’s cultural identities (esp. by urban elites)  defining the city and its landmark/symbols

  • The increasing importance of leisure culture

  • Any comments?

Informal sector definition
Informal sector: Definition Development

  • “It is not controlled by the government (non-planned, hidden, unofficial, unrecorded), it is not legal (iilegal, black, shadow) and it is not taxable (unrecorded, parallel). ”(source)

  • Underground economy

  • 原因:國際分工(Taiwan’s offer of cheap labor and technicians)、社會與都市服務不足;

  • 有了經濟活力,卻沒有勞動關係的正式化.

  • 這些有利可圖的非正式部門,有系統與正式部門相連,納入世界之市場。…逐漸轉向正式化…(夏. p.310 )

  • 建構了空間的混亂。

Informal sector examples
Informal sector: examples Development

  • 販厝, 野雞車,KTV, 釣蝦場, MTV,KTV, 啤酒屋, (p. 311)

  • Illegal vendors at the night markets and elsewhere

    Which of them have been formalized? Which of them are still problematic?

  • e.g. reconstruction of night markets as tourist night markets– in process

Articulation of elite culture
Articulation of elite culture Development

Cultural dependency:

1. alienation of elite culture from grass root society

2. Understanding of ‘culture’ through consumption, esp. that of name brands. (p. 315)


  • Science parks closer to New York than its neighborhood

  • Taste as a marker of class identity and power position.

  • Formation of exclusive clubs, rich residential areas(e.g. 台北高峰會), high-tech security system in buildings.

  • Opportunist City  Alienated space (e.g. 101, 京華城)

  • Recent real estate exhibit – limited entrance

Disarticulation of values of root society
Disarticulation of Values of Root Society Development

  • Wild City  disarticulated culture; see examples on p. 318;

  • Disorganized (and sometimes disrupting social order), wild, associated with folk cultures and beliefs, not institutionalized yet.

  • 大家樂、六合彩、MTV, KTV, 啤酒屋、牛肉場、紅包場、啤酒屋、十八王公廟 Are they all dis-articulated now? Which of them are now part of mainstream culture?

Similarities between elite culture and root society taipei as an informal city
Similarities between elite culture and root society  Taipei as an informal city

  • e.g.大家樂、六合彩 樂透 “Justified” Pursuit of money

  • e.g. 牛肉場 公車車體廣告 Collapse of the boundaries between art and pornography

  • 十八王公廟 vs. 101 (the commodified and capitalized space) as the new Taipei landmark;

  • 十八王公廟 as an example of heterotopia p. 321-22

P 321
十八王公廟 Taipei as an informal city(p. 321)

  • A space for black society, sex industry, show biz, etc.

  • 北海岸的一則傳奇,據說靈驗非常,香火極旺 (source)

Postmodern city space of flows
公寓導遊 Taipei as an informal city(1986)

  • Do you live in an apartment building like this?

  • What does the name 富禮 of this apartment building mean?

  • What does the plot development of this story imply?

  • Are the residents anomies and their contacts, as put Louis Wirth it, “impersonal, transitory, segmental, and mostly utilitarian”

  • How are the residents connected-- by chance encounters, their past lives and their present fears and desires, and by mere coincidence?

2nd primary roles connections by the narrator
2nd + primary roles-- connections by the narrator Taipei as an informal city

  • 范設計師 林南施  關佑開管理員 魏太太 、易單身女郎 林色狼(their past) 梁少將  中年寡婦 (her son)  美商律師J.J. and Susan 小妞 (梁少將 and her father) 關管理員  管畫家 (農夫)易單身女郎 齊老太太(accident)  劉茶莊老闆  魏太太and her suspicious husband  黃、朱小情侶 朱去舞廳 dances with 林南施  runs over a dog (accident)  狗主人張保險公司襄理  拿到獎卷的賴進財(accident)  once helped a blind man  Mr. Wu’s twin boys playing blind men and revelation of death  the suicide of 林南施  賴進財

Their present fears and desires
their present fears and desires. Taipei as an informal city

  • Male chauvinists:

  • 易單身女郎 and 林色狼 –Lin’s pursuit of her in the past –proves him a chauvinist. (201)

  • 梁少將‘s loss of power  中年寡婦 (her son)  his past power over Susan’s father (202-205)

  • 關管理員‘s desire for 易, and his marking his territory with urine. (199-200)

  • 管畫家‘s use of the guard, 關 as an image of farmer (206)

  • Other signs of male power 劉茶莊老闆、朱小情侶﹔張襄理‘s power over the victims

Problems and accidents
Problems and Accidents Taipei as an informal city

Problems in Family and Love relations:

  • 林 insomniac

  • 魏先生suspicious of his wife; quarreling

  • 朱國棟, find release elsewhere when being rejected by his girl friend

    Accidents with hidden remote reasons of gender oppression

  • 易婉君’s worrying about being found a prostitue 齊老太太’s death

  • 林南施’s failed attempt to find release at the dance hall  the death of the dog

    Accident leading to justice?

  • 張德均’s attempt to escape cigarette box with lottery ticket  賴進財(kindness rewarded by accident)

    Another semi-positive figure: 管畫家

Love go go
Love Go Go Taipei as an informal city

  • A cute film about the mismatch and warm support of city dwellers (house mates, or strangers).

  • The characters as ‘nobodies’ – What do you think about them? 阿姨,胖妹, 阿盛,阿松, 麗華, 喬書培

Postmodern city space of flows
胖妹 Taipei as an informal city

Lonely, boring job as a typist.

Eats “TV” food

Discriminated but innocent and loving
Discriminated, but innocent and loving Taipei as an informal city

Postmodern city space of flows
阿盛 Taipei as an informal city

Shy and loves to sing

And the musician
胖妹 Taipei as an informal city, 阿盛, and the musician

Two bread-lovers and one bad singer


The salesman
阿松 Taipei as an informal citythe salesman


Interested in watching air planes

Mismatch: Taipei as an informal city

A nice aunt who fails to understand her nephew

大胖妹 -- 小痞子喬書培: Call機One with a gentle voice, nice name but mean heart.

Mismatch and good will connections made in spaces of flows
Mismatch and Good Will: Connections Made in Spaces of Flows Taipei as an informal city

  • 推銷員阿松(施易男飾)-- 麗華: 理髮店

  • Seen as a robber by the wife; Selling the gun when she is sad;

Comic touches of their fantasies
Comic Touches of their fantasies Taipei as an informal city

Their connections
Their Connections Taipei as an informal city

Mismatch and good will connections made in spaces of flows1
Mismatch and Good Will: Connections Made in Spaces of Flows Taipei as an informal city

  • For 阿盛 -- 麗華 was his ‘invisible man.’

  • The ending: mediated but sincere connections

The final scene
The Final Scene Taipei as an informal city

  • Invisible man—

  • envy of American culture;

  • Spiritual support 阿盛 imagines he gets from 麗華

  • a moment of life’s being transformed into art (like 管畫家 in 公寓導遊)

By for reference
城市飛行 Taipei as an informal cityby 黃銘正(for reference)

  • What is the film about?

  • What do the characters have in common or in contrast with each other? Which of them are from China?

  • What is the recurrent motif in the film? Are their relationships ‘transitory and utilitarian?’

Postmodern city space of flows
城市飛行 Taipei as an informal city

  • Theme: Urban nomads

  • Similarities: their menial and unstable jobs;

  • Connections: their dreams, chance encounters and their mutual support.

Urban nomads 1
城市飛行 Taipei as an informal city– urban nomads 1

  • Chinese laborer 阿祥 illegal immigrant, looks for his wife (阿娟)(Disappeared for two years; they thought he died of plane crash.)  taxi driver

Urban nomads 2
城市飛行 Taipei as an informal city– urban nomads 2

  • Betel nut vendor, traffic flow counter, a homeless kid

Urban nomads 3
城市飛行 Taipei as an informal city– urban nomads 3

  • motorcycle courier (bad luck—things falling from above.)

  • director – goes for the dramatic or sensational (killings, black society)

Common dream airplane
Common Dream: airplane Taipei as an informal city

Common dream dream of transcendence
Common Dream: dream of transcendence Taipei as an informal city

Revenge? But against whom?

 Turns to look at the airplane.

Airplane connected with an unknown past
Airplane : connected with an unknown past Taipei as an informal city

  • After the car accident, the airplane in the dark; the betel nut vendor’s words;

  • the moment of shooting the deer

Chance encounters mutual support 1
Chance Encounters Taipei as an informal city mutual support (1)

Compromise, fun, mutual support.

Chance encounters
Chance Encounters Taipei as an informal city

Like a family

Common dream support 2
Common Dream Taipei as an informal city support (2)

Self-Parody; the film vs. the film within the film  offer work

turns the urban mess into an art form

Chance encounters support 3
Chance Encounters Taipei as an informal city support (3)

Lonely, bored, but willing to help.

Joining the hunting ritual of the aborigine.

Chance encounters 4
Chance Encounters (4) Taipei as an informal city

Chance encounters 5 the mysterious
Chance Encounters (5): the mysterious Taipei as an informal city

The blue pilot

Chance encounters 6 in daily life
Chance Encounters (6) –in Daily Life Taipei as an informal city

References Taipei as an informal city

  • 夏鑄九 〈台灣的文化編入與脫落-依賴城市都市象徵支初步觀察〉

  • Joseph Allen Traces of Ethnic Tension in the Taipei Public Space: Taipei New Park

  • 歷史台北


  • A question of definition:What is the informal sector?

  • 台灣都市發展的演進―歷史的回顧與展望

  • 網絡社會的形構 Castells 論流動空間