American Military Housing in YangmingshanConstructed in the 1950s, the American military homes located near Chinese Culture University in Yangmingshan make up the largest such district in Taiwan, and were the first in Taiwan to be planned in a western style. Now, Chinese Culture University plans to find new tenents, and will restore them as dorms for mainland students.

In 1950, the Korean War broke out. The United States deployed the military to defend Taiwan. In order to house American officials, the government in Taiwan built military dormitories in different areas. The Bank of Taiwan assisted the government in ordering land reclamation. Shanzaihou in Yangmingshan was the largest, measuring 40,000 Ping with 150 households.

The American military homes were built from brick and wood. Not only did they add an American flavor to Yangmingshan, but also influenced the city planning, architecture, and construction management development of Taiwan’s capital city in the 1960s. The area has been designated a “cultural site” recently according to the legal regulations of the Taipei Department of Culture.

This well preserved district has become evidence of American military assistance to Taiwan during the Cold War.

After the Taiwan and the US cut ties and the US military left, the houses gradually were rented to local tenents, but some have already fallen apart after many years, and whether to open the land up for new use or preserve their original appearance is controversial. The Bank of Taiwan, in its capacity as landlord, planned to auction the land, but incurred the opposition of current residents delayed it. Right now, the homes are rented out to people at a monthly lease of 70 to 80 thousand NT.

The Dean of Chinese Cultural University, Wu Wan-Yi, in an interview with the media, said that Cultural University and Min Jiang University in Fujian are promoting a “three-plus-one” curriculum. Next year, 150 students from Min Jiang University will come to Chinese Cultural University to study for one year. After the government opens up Taiwan to mainland students, 100 additional students may come. The school would like to rent 10 American military homes from the Bank of Taiwan as dormitories for students.

The original article is from China Times Online (2011/4/13)