The Bartlett School of Planning


Ying-Chun Hou

Research subject

Community-led urban planning reform under developmental-state planning system--a study of Taipei, Taiwan

Primary supervisor: Professor Mike Raco
Secondary supervisor: Dr Susan Moore
Starting date: January 2019
Projected completion date: January 2023

Ying0Chun Hou

This study contributes to understandings of community-led governance and planning reform through a contextualised analysis of recent initiatives in Taiwan. Community-led planning practice, which emphasises participation, partnership and consensus-building, has become important as it symbolises the democratisation of planning system. However, current writings of community engagement are mostly generalised from experiences of western democratic countries and have paid insufficient attention to, for example, in East Asian contexts, or those countries in which developmental-states have pursued modernisation programmes for decades. To address this gap, this study will look into recent planning reforms in Taipei and the dissemination of Government-led Urban Regeneration Programs by Taipei City Government since 2016, which reshapes particular constructions of community as both a critical policy subject and object in urban policy reform, i.e. communities are given powers and resources, with multiple objectives to increase the efficiency of urban regeneration and levels of democratic participation.

The aim of this research is to investigate the diverse rationalities for community construction, how community constructions are embedded into the planning system and what is the impact of this planning reform on. To generate in-depth evidence, the research draws on a qualitative methodology and will compare and contrast two community-led planning model cases. One is Nanjichang government-led urban regeneration program, which is located in an old-town neighbourhood where disadvantaged residents dwell. The other is Nangang government-led urban regeneration program, which is in an industrialised area that is being developed as an innovation base. This research will use Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and semi-structured interviews as the main data collection strategy. In this way, this research will critically document, assess, and examine rationales of community deployment, how community-led planning policies are adopted, localised and packaged as a model to be codified in different areas, and its policy effects for governance structures, planning systems and material effects on the built environments of cities.  


My academic background is in the fields of Political Science and Urban Studies. I completed undergraduate study in political science and diplomacy at National Cheng-Chi University (NCCU), and I entered the Master’s program in the Institute of Urban Planning at National Taipei University. Before joining the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL, I received further academic training by working as a research assistant on projects commissioned by Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, which work on earlier rounds of policy reform. My PhD thesis is on the topic of community-led urban planning in Taiwan, with a specific emphasis on recent shifts in the planning system and their effects on people and places. This thesis will also help to put planning and policy reform in Taiwan centre stage in international debates over community-led reform and planning outcomes.