Editor's Note—Urban Green Spaces


2020 / October

Ivan Chen /tr. by Brandon Yen

“Design competence” plays a crucial role in Taiwan’s burgeoning cultural and creative industries, and all designers face the challenge of unlocking the potential of the materials they work with. Focusing on urban green spaces, this month’s cover story invites us to reconsider the relationships between humanity, nature, and space. We explore how designers make use of plants and nat­ural materials to create works that are full of meaning. Their artfully designed spaces are rooted in nature, but engage city dwellers in an intimate way, arousing the senses that lie dormant in our daily lives.

In addition to mapping out routes to nature within urban confines, we bring you to the “home of burdock”—Guilai Com­mun­ity in Pingtung—where Carl Chen tells us his story of returning to his hometown to cul­tiv­ate Yanagawa burdock. What is our island’s characteristic scent? Rachel Huang and Chris Li are distilling essential oils from Taiwan cypress wood, introducing the fragrance of Taiwan’s woodlands to the wider world. We also interview Johnny Chiu, founder of J.C. Architecture and winner of numerous awards for renovating old buildings, who explains how he interprets historic architecture in order to give it a new lease of life.

Also in this issue, Readmoo CEO Sophie Pang and her colleagues talk about the market for ebooks and the visions that have inspired their digital bookstore. The Chung Tai World Museum in Nantou’s Puli Township boasts Buddhist sculptures and artifacts such as dhvajas which have been gathered from around the globe. Cover­ing more than nine hectares, the museum combines the archi­tectural grandeur of the ancient Chinese city of Chang’an with cutting-­edge tech­nology and facilities. Housing 1176 objects on display in 18 rooms, it is well worth a visit for anyone interested in Buddhist culture.

For the second in our occasional series “Conversations with Taiwan Panorama,” we successfully co-organized the forum “Southeast Asia in Transition: Immigrant Perspectives on Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy” with the Taiwan‡Asia Exchange Foundation. In dialogue with immigrant civic groups, we delved into topics such as cultural outreach, artistic practice, civil rights, and self-­empowerment.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Taiwan Panorama has donated reading materials to remote districts, garnering enthusiastic responses from local institutions such as schools and churches, as well as from the Boyo Social Welfare Foundation. Whether online or in hard copy, books and magazines convey not only knowledge but also stories of people from various places. We hope that the diversity of Taiwan Panorama’s articles will bring you a different kind of reading experience.

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