Jump to the content zone at the center

Taipei City Goverment

City News

URS127: Nine Years of Connecting Art and Life in Dadaocheng

* On April 2, Urban Regeneration Station 127 (URS127) wound up its work, marking the end of its regeneration effort in the Dadaocheng Dihua Street area. URS127 was the first of many URS stations set up by the Taipei City Urban Regeneration Office (URO).

Over the nine years of its existence, the URS127 team felt especially grateful for Tamkang University’s Department of Architecture and the Blue Dragon Art Company in the assistance. Through setting up a shop in the area to help develop a public issue for the Dadaocheng area and Dihua Street area, those involved brought traditional businesses together and added artistic and informative elements to their stores in order to enrich the experience of visitors and patrons. These efforts have made the area more interesting, deepened interaction with target groups, and brought about a revival of the area with new cultural and creative businesses moving in. Dihua Street is now definitely on the map as a hot spot for shopping, dining, and cultural entertainment in Taipei.

Through the joint efforts of the URO, Tamkang University’s Department of Architecture, and Blue Dragon Art Company, URS127 has been able to hold a total of 273 events, attracting 100,000 people over the past nine years. The area has developed a distinct flavor and energy, which has attracted start-ups but has also inspired many second-generation owners of traditional businesses to return to the area, resulting in a store occupancy rate growing by 45% at some point. There is also a growing trend of participation among local residents in the public affairs of the area, adding workshops and community organizations in the alleys. Initiated by URS127, nearly 50 local businesses have come together since 2016 to hold the Dadaocheng Summer Art Festival, which has since grown into an important annual event in the area. This in turn moved the Taipei Department of Information and Tourism (TPEDOIT) to develop an integrated area marketing plan for Dadaocheng as “the City’s Museum,” and the Taipei City Office of Commerce to develop a Business Transformation Plan geared toward the area. This attention and resources has made Dadaocheng lively and thriving again.

To revitalize certain neighborhoods and strengthen the transformational power of inner city areas, the URO launched the URS Project back in 2010. As Taipei’s economic point of gravity moved eastward, the once-thriving Dadaocheng area lost businesses and its competitiveness. Under the Taipei City Dadaocheng Special Area Project and the Urban Building Capacity Transfer Policy, a building halfway along Dihua Street was chosen to house URS127 as the city’s first Urban Regeneration Station, located in neighborhood.

The URS127 building was typical of the architecture of the area: a long, narrow building stretching back all the way to Minle Street parallel to Dihua Street. URS127 was positioned as a Design Service Center, where local store owners could go for support in turning their private stores into more public, inviting, and interesting spaces. As designers organized exhibitions and residents held events at URS127, the community’s involvement and autonomy grew. The traditional building that URS127 used was an open pedestrian public space connecting Minle Street and Dihua Street, gradually becoming a Design Gallery for people to pass through or linger in. In 2013, three years into its operations, the URO positioned URS127 as an “art factory,” where families can come to explore art, contemporary artists can hold exhibitions, and where traditional businesses and emerging cultural and creative enterprises can meet and develop initiatives together. This has made the area’s traditional businesses such as fabrics, traditional Chinese medicine, basic groceries, and pastries more interesting, and helped to bring young cultural and creative workers closer to traditional crafts and merchandise.

URS127 has clearly made significant achievements, notes the URO, and has successfully fulfilled its mission. As there are other old neighborhoods in need of support for revitalization, URS127 will be transformed, and its nine years of experience and regenerative energy will be transferred to the next URS elsewhere. This way, the story of citizens coming together to create change for their neighborhoods will continue, making Taipei an increasingly enjoyable and livable city.