A Survey of Yilan Community
A Survey of Yilan Community
Since 1995 Yilan has invested the full might of the entire county in achieving the goal of comprehensive community development. We see the process of development as one of lifelong learning. Development of a community identity, transformation of local industry, and the protection of local culture, natural ecology, and the shared environment are key goals of our efforts. Over these more than two decades of progress, the goal of every community is to be a place where residents, the natural environment, and industry can all thrive. Daerjie Community has been at the forefront of protecting the community’s precious cultural assets. Efforts have ranged from enlisting the help of thousands to move and preserve the old Erjie Wanggong Temple to saving the Erjie Rice Barn and getting it designated as a historic structure. Since Baimi Clogs Village began its development journey by protecting the environment, the wood clogs industry has revitalized the economy and created local jobs, while the community continues to promote the Baimi Ecological Village. Neicheng Community has long earned its reputation for beautiful mountains and clean water by protecting those assets. The local A-ka “Iron Cow” fleet gives visitors an in-depth community tour and provides jobs for older residents, while the weekend farmers market gives local farmers a place to sell their wares. We will give you an in depth look at the community building process and achievements in these three representative communities.
Daerjie Cultural Preservation Milestones
Erjie Wanggong Temple reconstruction proposed
Ground broken on the new Erjie Wanggong Temple
The community proposed to preserve the old temple
Daerjie Cultural Promotion Association (DCPA) established
DCPA formulated rules against political activity
Erjie Canal Walking Path completed
Thousands participated in moving the old temple
Erjie Rice Barn designated a county-level historic site
Daerjie Wanggong Art Institute established
Erjie Barn Rice Farm Culture House opened
Daerjie Cultural Foundation established
Annual Winter Festival Traditional Arts Celebration first held
Daerjie Paper Museum opened
Daerjie Cultural Foundation received the Award of Excellence in the Ministry of Culture's Historical Building Management and Maintenance Evaluation
Daerjie Cultural Foundation received the Conservation Contribution Prize at the Fourth National Cultural Heritage Conservation Awards
Rules against political activity
The first step in establishing the independence of community organizations: eliminating inappropriate political interference.
Promoting public affairs within the community must originate from an objective and unselfish attitude. If community organizations are used to accumulate political power for oneself or one’s political faction, this will severely diminish resident participation and trust, thereby impeding community development.
The Daerjie Cultural Promotion Foundation has long worked to empower the community and deeply understands the negative impacts of local political factions intervening in community affairs. To ensure community welfare organizations function properly, the foundation specifically included anti-political clauses in its charter. This establishes a set of mechanisms to prevent inappropriate intervention by factions and politics and promote of objectivity.
These clauses include, “Any local elected representative or official at any level chosen by a direct election by the people may not serve as a director, supervisor, or director-general of the Foundation” and “Members of the Foundation (including honorary directors and supervisors, and consultants) may not utilize their title within the Yilan Daerjie Cultural Foundation to participate in or sponsor a political party or candidate during a political campaign”.
Erjie Canal Walking Path
Resident involvement made environmental improvements a reality
The Erjie Canal flowed through Daerjie for more than 200 years. In early 1996, it was discovered that water resources agencies were implementing a comprehensive irrigation overhaul and replacing the canal with a U-shaped concrete channel. The excavators rumbled into town and began removing shovelfuls of pebbles that formed the original banks of the canal. Erjie Canal's pebbles and diverse ecosystem were destroyed and taken away one dump truck at a time.
Foundation members believe successful community environmental protection efforts must rely on residents' active participation. With the assistance of the National Taiwan University Building & Planning Foundation Yilan Branch, three years of communication and discussion began with the Directorate General of Highways, Department of Irrigation and Engineering, and Township Office, while a series of complex administrative procedures were also implemented. At the same time, the various opinions of residents had to be considered. Fortunately, under the guidance of enthusiastic public servants and planning agencies , the dreams of Erjie residents came true.
A miracle of historical preservation
A temple was saved, but also residents' shared memories.
In 1993, Daerjie Community residents wanted to give Erjie Wanggong Temple a new home. Some proposed tearing down the old temple, while others wanted to preserve it. No matter their opinion, the people of Erjie did not want their Wanggong Temple to be demolished in a cavalier manner like some in the past. In the end, they decided to use the collective power of thousands of people to move the old temple, which would be preserved as the Erjie Cultural Museum.
The peeling paint, blackened carved beams, old trees, firewalkers in the plaza, and all of the incense burned and prayers said within the temple had a special place in the hearts of Erjie residents. With encouragement from the Daerjie Cultural Foundation, residents transformed this love of the old temple into a desire to safeguard their cultural resources. Preserving the community's historical memory evolved into construction of new public spaces. This process helped reconnect people with one another and rebuild the emotional connection between residents and the land.
Erjie Barn Rice Farm Culture House
A new life for an old barn
Cultural heritage is not just an abstract concept, it is part of our everyday lives. Preserving our cultural heritage is to remember and pass on the past, while revitalizing cultural heritage is to use these resources to build a future. In early 1998, the Erjie Rice Barn was facing demolition. Immediately, a series of rescue operations were initiated. The community collected information, then applied with the county government for heritage site protections. With Foundation support, the Erjie Rice Barn got a new lease on life after 14 years of preservation, renovation, and revitalization. From a drab, provincial symbol of industrialization and overdevelopment, the barn made a return to people's everyday lives. From history, industry, people, rituals, landscape, ecology, and stories, we can discover traces of our ancestors and learn to cherish what we see around us. By protecting our heritage, we link the past with our future and future generations.
Daerjie Paper Museum
A place to preserve and pass on Daerjie's paper culture
Daerjie Community, once at the heart of papermaking Taiwan, witnessed the rise and decline of the century-old industry. There are still indescribably strong emotions towards paper making within the community. The paper mill closed in 2001, but many Daerjie residents remember its glory days. With the guidance of retired mill workers and paper artisans, the Daerjie Cultural Foundation leased the Wujie Township Farmers Association's Warehouse No. 11 and established the Daerjie Paper Museum. Utilizing raw materials such as industrial pulp, recycled pulp, and plant fiber pulp provided by the paper mill, the Foundation produced precious handmade paper featuring cultural, architectural, environmental, and lifestyle motifs from Daerjie. Every sheet of paper has its own story and significance, and each is one of a kind. Objects and documents were saved after the Chung Hsing Paper Mill shut down. The museum was divided into the office, production, dormitory, and employee store to display these important remnants from the factory along with a handmade paper workshop. With the museum, this important part of Daerjie history and residents' lives can live on.
Daerjie Wanggong Art Institute
Traditional art for the people by the people
In the community, family, neighbors, friends, and even far away visitors can all be our partners in learning. Public spaces part of residents' daily lives, like temples and the rice barn, are all learning spaces. This is the core concept of the Daerjie Wanggong Art Institute.
Far from an ivory tower, Daerjie Wanggong Art Institute instead hopes to create an academic environment with community residents at its center. Everyone can experience the joy of art in their everyday lives and achieve the goal of cultural preservation and promotion. At the same time, the Institute is a platform where artists can collaborate and interact with one another. Throughout each year's festive holiday celebrations, the opportunity to participate together will preserve local traditions and farming village culture, while bringing art into the lives of regular people.
A celebration that unites a community
Participants in traditional folk performances at religious celebrations used to come from within the community. As society has changed, professional troupes have emerged to take over this role. Daerjie Cultural Foundation hopes to rebuild a sense of local consciousness through the creation of a new annual celebration. Participants from community groups, local schools, and temples are all responsible for planning and performing in the Winter Festival.
Lidong is the date on the lunar calendar marking the start of winter. It is a day to fortify oneself for the upcoming season. On this day each year, the community holds the Winter Festival. Not only do we invite everyone to eat warming dishes like wine-braised chicken and glutinous rice, we also encourage them to participate in and enjoy the Daerjie Wanggong Art Institute's traditional folk performance, a tonic for the soul. We hope that by holding the Winter Festival, traditional art forms can reemerge and take root in the community. Through planning the celebration, the community can also build local awareness and pride.
(清同治 13 年) 提督羅大春開鑿蘇花古道。
(昭和 10 年) 水患整治，社區居民自動發起建造河堤工程美舉。
Baimi Clogs Village
From the dustiest in the nation to boasting a world-renowned community ecological museum
Located in the Baimi River basin in Su'ao Township, Baimi Community is surrounded by mountains on three sides. The riverbed is lined with white stones, which from above look like grains of rice flowing from an urn. This unique scene gave the area its original name, Baimiweng, meaning white rice urn. An old saying goes "Baimeweng, makes wood clogs. Cut some firewood and take it from the forest", which speaks to its woodworking history. The Schefflera Tree, which provides the raw material for traditional clogs, grows plentifully in the surrounding forest. During the Japanese Occupation, the area was known as the wooden clog nest. As times changed, rubber-soled shoes grew in popularity and the wood clog industry declined and eventually disappeared, only to exist in the minds of older residents.
Today, the community primarily spans the area within Yongchuncheng, which was the first area in Su'ao settled by Han people during the Qing Dynasty. The actual boundaries of the original settlement have been lost to history. Local stone quarries led to booming industrial development, but also created an air pollution crisis within Baimi Community.
Beginning in the Japanese Occupation, Baimi Community was home to more than ten gravel factories that created many job opportunities for community residents. As the factories were operating around the clock, they were also spewing pollutants into the environment. The trucks transporting raw materials brought noise and fumes. People in Baimi could not escape the dust that would penetrate even the smallest spaces. Quality of life was low and those who had the means to leave did so, resulting in a mass exodus from the area.
In 1994, coinciding with the central government's launch of a comprehensive community development policy, a gradual shift was made towards empowering organizations within the community. In 1995, in a first for Yilan County, it was officially registered as a corporation with the Taiwan Yilan District Court. In 1999, the Baimi Community Cooperative was formed to promote the clogs industry and gradually renovate unused spaces in the area including an abandoned nursery school. In 2015, the community successfully received funding to build the Baimi Scenic Bridge, Baimi section roadway, and bike path as part of the Suhua Highway Improvement Project. In 2017, former residences were transformed into the Baimi MUYI Backpackers' Inn. The rice paddies that had vanished from the landscape reappeared in 2018, meaning Baimi could once again grow its namesake, white rice. The difficult, nearly 30-year process of community development is Baimi's story, one that can be seen through community environmental protection, cultural industry development, and community cultural reconstruction. Pursuing the creation of a beautiful home in Baimi is an important foundation of community development and is the goal that keeps residents working hard. These efforts are truly moving to watch.
A slovenly man is given a beautiful rose. To make himself worthy of such a lovely flower, he effects a series of changes in himself and his environment. In the end, he gains a new lease on life all because of one rose.
In Baimi Community, clogs featuring a rose decoration remind the community of its progress towards empowerment. Baimi once had the nation's most polluted air, but residents realized they had to clean up the environment. People also rediscovered their history and culture, eventually selecting the traditional wooden clogs industry to represent their community.
Rose-adorned clogs are the symbol of Baimi and a constant reminder of the original reason they initiated the process of community development!！
Think of Baimi and wooden clogs are the first thing to come to mind. In 1997, the first National Comprehensive Community Development Expo was held in Yilan Sports Park. Baimi Community brought their wooden clogs and named their booth "Cinderella". To their surprise, the response was extremely enthusiastic. People loved the shoes and they became a turning point in Baimi's community development!
●The “Ideal” clog dance
In 2001, as part of the Ministry of Labor Sustainable Employment Plan, many women in Baimi Community became involved in community work. The Community Development Association also organized classes and developed a clog dance named “Ideal”. Not meant for dance professionals, the dance was created to encourage women in the community to actively participate in public affairs and tell their stories through dance.
"Ideal" features women with their clogs going clickety clack as they wind through the streets and alleys of the community, happily dividing up the work amongst themselves. One woman will think of her children and grandchildren living far from home, while another will come comfort her. The dancers are friends and neighbors who look out for one another, sharing in life’s joys and sorrows.
●Taking advantage of abandoned spaces: Baimi Clogs Museum:
Today’s Baimi Clogs Museum is located in dormitories that used to house workers at the Taiwan Fertilizer plant. As a community beautification project, in 1997 local residents thoroughly cleaned out the long abandoned dormitory buildings and negotiated a lease with Taiwan Fertilizer. After community residents established the Baimi Community Cooperative, they pooled their resources to purchase the buildings, gradually improving and renovating them into the museum standing today.
Community residents travelled to Japan and the Netherlands to learn about the clogs industry in other countries. They gradually improved the abandoned buildings within the community including warehouses, Clogs Origin Park, and an abandoned nursery school thereby creating a full-fledged community space reinvention movement. Their efforts serve as a model for other communities to take advantage of unused spaces.
Yongchuncheng constructed the Yongchun Jin'an Temple (Moved to its current location in downtown Su'ao in 1872).
Provincial Governor Luo Dachun completed the Suhua Historic Trail.
Community residents took it upon themselves to build river berms as a flood prevention measure.
Japanese-backed Taiwan Chemical Corporation's Su'ao plant began operations producing cemen
CPC Corporation built an oil depot in Baimi Community resulting in the disappearance of Frog Lake and its rich ecosystem. Residents began moving away.
Worst dust pollution in Taiwan. Yilan County Government cracks down on pollution with the Blue Sky and Blue Water Project.
Taiwan Cement Corporation and Yilan County Government signed an Environmental Protection Agreement, the first such contract in the nation.
Residents established the Baimi Community Development Association (Registration completed in 1994).
The first Taiwan Cement environmental compensation payment is made, completed the Baimi Community Comprehensive Community Plan.
March 1997 Baimi's Cinderella themed booth at the National Comprehensive Community Development Expo relaunched the clogs industry.
November 1998 Yilan County Su'ao Township Baimi Community Cooperative established.
May 2001 I-Lan Museum Association officially established in Baimi Community.
July 2004 Detailed plans completed for the Yongchun Road Landscaping Improvement Project.
September 2004 Construction began on the Baimi Clogs Museum expansion.
June 2006 Hsuehshan Tunnel opened.
July 2006 Baimi Clogs Museum soft opening.
March 2007 Baimi Clogs Museum officially opened, marking a new milestone in the Baimi clogs industry.
October 2010 Typhoon Megi battered Su’ao. In November, the Environmental Protection Administration conditionally adopted the Suhua Highway Improvement Project environmental impact assessment.
August 2011 Expert clog artisan Chen Hsin-hsiung passed away and was posthumously awarded the Yilan County Government special commendation.
October 2014 Yilan County Government passed the Baimi Community Agricultural Village Regeneration Plan.
Baimi MUYI Backpackers' Inn opened, combining woodworking with public service.
2017 & 2018
Baimi Summer Camp held.
First phase of the Suhua Highway Improvement Project opened. The Baimi Scenic Bridge, Baimi section roadway, and bike path were built, keeping trucks off Yongchun Road.
Rice paddies, which were absent from Baimi Community for 40 years, were planted once again under the Baimi Scenic Bridge (Harvested in August of the same year)
The story continues......
If you mention “Neicheng Community” most people will ask, where is that? Anything fun to do or see there? Any good food? But if you bring up the A-ka “Iron Cows”, a look of recognition will come over their faces. These cleverly named “iron cows” are actually farming vehicles refitted to transport passengers through the community's beautiful natural landscapes.
The ins and outs of Neicheng Community's community development process are difficult to describe in a few simple words. Instead, let's go back in time to get a better view of how things played out.
Neicheng's Diverse Culture
Called Neihuzai during the Japanese Occupation, the village is located in central Yuanshan Township in Yilan County with Yixian and Hubei Villages to the north, Shangde Village to the east, Zhenxiang Village to the south and Zhonghua Village to the west. It sits on 4.28 square kilometers, one third of which are located on the hills of the surrounding mountains. There are several ponds in the community including Taiyang, Qiangzailian, Jiadong, and Xunguan Ponds that retain their natural beauty.
The main routes up Taipingshan and Lishan mountains run through the village. Relics of old military facilities are still visible on the mountain pass. Following an influx of immigrants from mainland China, every Chinese province was represented in the population. Added to the traditional Minnan society that already existed in the area, the community’s many groups created a rich and diverse culture. Shops on street corners included traditional steamed rice cakes, mainland Chinese-style beef noodle soup, and shaobing flatbread. In the present day, the population is aging and the community faces the task of taking care of older residents while many of them are parenting their grandchildren. Neicheng Community’s economy primarily relies on rice farming. This year, the community began promoting environmental protections and reductions in conventional farming practices. In addition to rice, water calla and tomatoes are also grown, and eco-farming practices help to attract young people to return to work the land, bringing diverse voices to add to the community’s vibrant culture.
People-centered care in Neicheng
In Neicheng, we practice people-centered community building where care for others serves as our starting point. The process has included continuous guidance and continuous innovation. Through the process of community building, elders pass along their valuable experiences and we physically improve the community and our shared spaces, while preserving community heritage and ensuring residents’ right to education. Seniors are also encouraged to remain active and productive into old age. In 2007, the A-ka "iron cow" fleet was started to give older residents job opportunities and in 2016 other peripheral industries were created to support the fleet. From one single tour, we expanded to six different routes. Tours emphasize the importance of slowing down and getting an in depth understanding of the area.
Currently, there are 38 "iron cow" vehicles, which transport an average of 12,000 riders a month and help provide income to elderly residents on their second career. New businesses catering to these visitors have sprung up, including a weekend senior farmers market, Love Workshop, "iron cow" souvenirs, and the recently-established Neicheng Fabric Dyeing Workshop that provides job opportunity to women in the community. As of today, the community has hired two women, enabling them to earn additional income for their families.
Support and education for young people take root
In 2017, the first Neicheng Industry Service Park was set up in order to ensure that products manufactured here could be sold locally to create a community brand. Eventually, this idea became the weekend farmers market. We advocate for the principles of the Satoyama Initiative and have set up a safe farming cooperative learning group and strengthened surveys of local agriculture, land and farming practices. Implementing food agriculture education and developing a circular economy are our primary focuses. We established a CSA farm trial project, where households can support local agriculture to cut down food waste and minimize carbon emissions and plastic use. Many young people interested in taking up natural farming can return to the community and sell their crops at the market.
When Neicheng Elementary School faced closure in 2011, we joined hands to negotiate with the Yilan County Government for the elementary to be combined with the local Rongyuan Middle School as the first publicly-operated experimental elementary and middle school in Yilan County. Under the active management of school officials, the school has developed dual-axis integration and established a food agriculture education center and little citizen social studies education to link young peoples’ education directly to the community. The community and school have a relationship based in reciprocity and mutual assistance. A stall in the local market was set aside for the school, where it can sell student crafts and become more self-reliant.
Caring for others is good for everyone
We focus on care for those populations receiving government assistance and have actively constructed a community care network that includes individuals, households, the community and even hospitals. We set up a community meal hall to provide hot lunches to elderly residents and established a Community Care Station. In 2016, in collaboration with Taipei Veterans General Hospital Yuanshan Branch, we held caregiver training sessions and readied staff to implement Long-Term Care 2.0. In 2017, in coordination with the central government's Long-Term Care 2.0 project, we upgraded the Community Care Station and now provide a variety of classes during 10 sessions daily from Monday through Friday. Working further with Taipei Veterans General Hospital Yuanshan Branch, the community not only held classes to slow the progression of dementia and physical disability, we also developed a long-distance health management system. In 2017, we expanded care to the disabled. Space is provided within the Neicheng Industry Service Park to sell goods produced by the Love Workshop, which provides local disadvantaged groups a chance for social participation. Through a deinstitutionalized care platform, these groups have the opportunity to live independently.