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Amis Aborigine Migrants’ Territorialization in Metropolitan Taipei

Abstract

This paper focuses on the relatively successful experience of territorialization by a group of aborigine migrants in metropolitan Taipei, northern Taiwan. The aborigine migrants of the Amis established a self-built community in a marginal site along the riverbank of northern Taipei that was constantly under the threat of floods and of eviction and forced relocation by the government. But eventually the settlers and the government came to an agreement regarding on-site relocation, and the municipal authority granted special land use rights to the settlers. Several historical processes help explain their success. First, the rising political discourse of Taiwan Independence in the past decade has provided the aborigine migrants with political legitimacy and support. Second, Taiwan’s social activism has been developing rapidly since the 1990s, as its electoral democracy takes shape and matures; the aborigine migrants’ rights to the city were an integral part of this social mobilization. Third, the reinforced identity and solidarity within the community in question helped form a coherent front at the moment of confrontation and negotiation with the government. Finally, a group of professional and progressive planners have been actively involved throughout the territorialization process, acting as planners, brokers and coordinators.

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