International Development Planning Review

The problems of watercourse redevelopment

Disseminating new knowledge about flood risk perception in Taiwan's densely populated, typhoon-affected urban areas

International Development Planning Review (2012), 34, (3), 241–267.

Abstract

The Taiwanese government has implemented nationwide educational schemes to promote the redevelopment of hard-engineered watercourses to create ones that are multi-functional. However, this project is not complete, particularly in densely populated, typhoon-affected urban areas. Whilst flood-risk perception is identified as a fundamental factor in promoting this redevelopment, its impact on knowledge dissemination, in this particular context, is little known. Therefore, this paper explores challenges of watercourse redevelopment in densely urbanised areas, focusing on the aspects of new knowledge dissemination and flood-risk perception. Through interviews with 42 participants from diverse backgrounds, the findings show that unsuccessful pilot projects and inexperience in new techniques have lead to people's low confidence in watercourse redevelopment. Due to public concerns and legal liability pressure, professionals remain reliant on conventional hard engineering. The provision of higher education is hampered by the limited background of academic staff, owing to a recruitment preference for traditional engineering fields. Several solutions are suggested for these predicaments: to improve local disaster management by long-term community participation and education, to enhance professionals' expertise by establishing diverse on-site demonstration projects, to strengthen higher education syllabi by incorporating environmental management into relevant national specialist qualifications and to provide students with a more thorough learning experience by integrating relevant academic departments into a multi-disciplinary division. More significantly, cross-sectoral collaboration needs an improvement to handle the fragmented, engineering-led watercourse governance.

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TUNSTALL, S. M., PENNING-ROWSELL, E. C., TAPSELL, S. M. and EDEN, S. E. (2000), ‘River restoration: public attitudes and expectations’, Journal of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, 14, 363-70. ‘River restoration: public attitudes and expectations’ Journal of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management 14 363 70 Google Scholar

TURNER, T. (1987), Landscape Planning, London, Hutchinson. Landscape Planning Google Scholar

TURNER, T. (1996), City as Landscape: A Post-Postmodern View of Design and Planning, London, E & FN Spon. City as Landscape: A Post-Postmodern View of Design and Planning Google Scholar

UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD (2008), ‘Urban river corridors and sustainable living agendas’, URSULA http://www.ursula.ac.uk/ Google Scholar

WANG, W. B. (2003), Taiwan's Historic Irrigation Dykes, Taipei, Walkers. Taiwan's Historic Irrigation Dykes Google Scholar

WHITE, I. and HOWE, J. (2004), ‘The mismanagement of surface water’, Applied Geography, 24, 261-80. ‘The mismanagement of surface water’ Applied Geography 24 261 80 Google Scholar

WRA (WATER RESOURCES AGENCY) (2004), ‘Opportunities and challenges for Taiwan's water industry’ http://www.ftis.org.tw/water/water_new/1.htm Google Scholar

WRA (WATER RESOURCES AGENCY) (2006a), Outcomes of Rehabilitating Watercourse and Coast Environments, Taipei, WRA. Google Scholar

WRA (WATER RESOURCES AGENCY) (2006b), Strategy of Comprehensive Flood Control Measures and Sustainable Development, Taipei, WRA. Google Scholar

WRA (WATER RESOURCES AGENCY) (2008), ‘Hydrological yearbook of Taiwan 2007’ http://gweb.wra.gov.tw/wrhygis/ Google Scholar

WU, H. L. (2002), ‘Ecological engineering for water and soil conservation’ (paper delivered to the Conference on Ecological Engineering and Water and Soil Conservation, Taichung, National Chung Hsing University, 1-11). ‘Ecological engineering for water and soil conservation’ 1 11 Google Scholar

WWF (WORLD WIDE FUND FOR NATURE) (2002), Turning the Tide on Flooding, Aberfeldy, WWF-UK-Scotland. Google Scholar

YANG, C. X. (2001), ‘Multi-strategies community universities: cultivating the public's knowledge’, National Policy Foundation, http://www.npf.org.tw/particle-1502-4.html (accessed 1 September 2008). http://www.npf.org.tw/particle-1502-4.html ‘Multi-strategies community universities: cultivating the public's knowledge’ National Policy Foundation Google Scholar

YOSHIMURA, C., OMURA, T., FURUMAI, H. and TOCKNER, K. (2005), ‘Present state of rivers and streams in Japan’, River Research and Applications, 21, 93-112. ‘Present state of rivers and streams in Japan’ River Research and Applications 21 93 112 Google Scholar

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Chou, Rung-Jiun