Global Environmental Change and Urban Land Use Change in a Peri-urban Area: A Case Study of Taipei-Taoyuan

Author Shu-Li Huang, Graduate Institute of Urban Planning, National Taipei University, Taipei, Taiwan
Funding Source Grant No. NSC 96-2415-H-305-012-MY3 of the National Science Council in Taiwan
Project Website Link

Global environmental change has prompted concerns over the role of urban areas in global systems. Peri-urbanization, both as a social phenomenon and a physical transformation of landscapes, can be regarded as an impetus for global environmental changes. Peri-urban areas are frequently characterized by valuable natural environments and resource bases, and can provide essential life-support functions for urban residents. The land use and land cover change in peri-urban areas resulting from urban sprawl, and consequent transformations in the biophysical and socioeconomic systems, are often ignored by urban planning professionals and urban and rural land administrators.

The natural environment of Taiwan is characterized by active geomorphic processes with steep topography and unstable hydrologic processes, which are highly sensitive to extreme climatic events such as typhoon. The rapid economic growth of Taiwan from 1970–2000 transformed the island from a rural economy to an industrialized one. Almost 80% of Taiwan’s people currently live in urban areas, making it an urbanized nation, and approximately 90% of the entire population reside on the western coastal plain, where peri–urbanization is increasing environmental pressure and already threatens the cities’ life-supporting environments.

The issue of environmental change in peri-urban areas was also examined by the Peri-Urban Environmental Change Project (PU-ECH) of SCOPE. Land use change and ecosystem service in peri-urban areas should be seen and valued differently. The PU-GEC project proposes studying the effect of global environmental change and land use change on ecosystem services in peri-urban areas, using the Taipei-Taoyuan area as a case study.

Objectives to be achieved by this project:

  • To study the influence of globalization on land use and land cover change in the Taipei-Taoyuan peri-urban area.
  • To study changes in ecosystem service in the case study peri-urban area as a result of land use and land cover change.
  • To study interactions among global environmental change, peri-urbanization, and ecosystem resilience in Taipei-Taoyuan area.

PU-GEC started on August 1 2007 and will run until July 31 2010.
The project involves 5 collaborators from Singapore, China, USA, and Canada.