although i go to taiwan every year, i tend to return to the same places over and over again. on the last couple of visits, though, i've been attempting to make an effort to see more of the new taiwan that the tourism board has been trying so hard to promote. (i love the adorable graphics of their campaign! see more here.) a couple of days ago, cathay sent me a link to taipei bookstores from the lse review of books, which reminded me that i've been meaning to post a mini-guide series to taiwan. i'll start with places to see in the capital. first up: huashan 1914 creative park.
a major initiative of taiwan's public-private tourism expansion projects has been to turn abandoned state-owned factory spaces into "creative parks," which include gallery space, event venues, restaurants, and shops. there is also a strong focus on taiwan-made objects and design, as well as locally-produced foods.
the first of these was huashan 1914 creative park, which was one of Taiwan's largest distilleries in a former life. as the story goes, a troupe of stage actors began repurposing the factory in the late 1990s: they held performances and used the cavernous spaces to experiment with their craft, and other artsy types soon followed suit. this called attention to the fact that they were occupying the state-owned space illegally--but then an ngo was created to manage the transformation of the factory into a full-on arts center. i don't know the inside story, but it seems to have been a good thing. in the last five or six years, there have been several other creative parks launched in different taiwanese cities. since 2007, i've visited huashan four or five times, and each time, there is more to see (and buy).
i didn't get any photos of the interiors the last time i was there...so i'll plan another visit and post an update here when i do. you can see more here.
in the next few weeks, i'll cover the taipei spots worth spending a bit more time in, and then a roundup with a map and addresses. 'til next time.