Isolated island

Shezi represents a historical trail of evolution through eras of events and changes. It is also a community with deep reflection, and a place of watery spatial characteristics in Shilin District. Because of its low-lying terrain, the end of Shezi is located at the intersection of the two rivers, and the residents in the early period of Shezi followed and developed a unique lifestyle due to such geographical restraints and characteristics. In the minds of these local elderly of Shezi, this place was indeed an “island”, possessing a sense of a spot of land in the middle of the river area. It is also because of the common memory of taking the ferries across to and from Shezi, or to Guandu, or to Shilin Street, or to Daxundong, or to the Heshang Port, etc., the history of this land echoes the reminiscence of a Golden Age of Water Transportation.

In 1963, due to Typhoon Gloria and unskilled operation of Shimen Reservoir to the fear of more unmanageable disaster following the excessive water built-up, the authority ordered a discharge, causing huge amount of water to flood along the Dahan River and a serious flooding in Shezi and the Greater Taipei area, in which the water did not recede for days. The government was alaramed to review, plan and build the Greater Taipei Flood Control System.

In 1964, the headland between Shizitou and Guandu was widened, which changed the hydrological environment and caused seawater to flow backward, resulting in serious over-salinization of paddy fields in Shezi area and inability to cultivate. It was a heavy loss. At the same time, the government began to cut off and divert the Keelung River by digging a new river course in Shezi area to form the new branch, dividing the area into two parts; one is Hougangcheng and the other is Shezi. Since then, the settlements of Hougangcheng and Shezi have been separated by the Keelung River. The life circle of Hougangcheng and Shilin Old Street was only separated by the road, instead of a river as an intermediary. There were roads near Shilin Railway Station and the New Street, leading to rapid development of the area. The government has also designated industrial land to allow factories and planned residential areas such as apartments and commercial stores. A large number of people have poured in and the development of Hougangcheng was significantly faster than that of other areas in the early “Shezi” area.

Huludu and Shezi were settlements on the east side of Shezi area, between the Keelung River, the Tamsui River and Fanzaigou. Xizhoudi, Xishawei, Chungchou and Fuzhou were settlements on the west side of Shezi area (inner area). Fuzhou near the Keelung River was an early paddy field area, and the water cannal was directed from the Keelung River; At Xizhoudi, near the Tamsui River, there were mainly gardens of vegetables. In the early days of Chungchou, it was the start point of ferries. The Island Head (Daotou) Park faced the intersection of the Tamsui River and the Keelung Port. On the other side of the Tamsui River, one could see Luzhou and “Heshangzhou” of Shanchung, and on the other side of the Keelung River, there was Guanduzhou, where Guandu Mangrove Forest was located.

Since the 1970s, construction has been banned and restricted by government policies for nearly 50 years, and a dike has been built between Xizhoudi and Lunzaiding of Shezi area; Outside the dike were areas such as Xizhoudi, Xishawei and Fuzhou, which were designated as flood zones, being further restricted from construction. In 1975, the New Construction Office of Taipei City Government built a 2.5-meter high cement dike in front of the 7th section of Yanping North Road. Inside the dike were Lunzaiding, Sanjiaopu, Shezi, Huludu and other areas, which were for urban development. Outside the dike, Xizhoudi, Xishawei, Chungchou and Fuzhou were restricted areas. This policy has caused great influence on the social & life circle of people. Businesses were blooming inside the dike with rapid developing commercial activities, while construction and development outside the dike were suspended, without properly built houses. The soil was salinized and farming became almost impossible.

In 1939, Shezi Suspension Bridge was completed and opened, which was the only access to Shezi at that time. In 1955, Yanping Cross-Bridge was built across Fanzaigou, whichi further improved the convenience of transportation between Shezi and Daxundong. However, Section 7, Section 8 and Section 9 of Yanping North Road, that is, the place west of Lunzaiding, were designated as flood zones in 1970. Construction and development were restricted. Up to now, the environment and quality of life in the areas remain poor. In 1978, National Highway No. 1 cut through Fanzaigou on the east side of Shezi. For the convenience of the project, Fanzaigou was filled up. The construction gave Shezi, Huludu and Daxundong more convenience in travel with roads. From then on, Shezi was no longer an isolated area, but a connection with the south bank of Shezi to Taipei City. Life and business exchanges were increasing and Shezi was no longer an “island”.

Therefore, in the past, it was shouldering the heavy responsibility of flood control for the Greater Taipei area, and with unique history, culture and natural ecology, just like the old Taiwanese community, with retro atmosphere and different cultural customs, it is now hard to imagine that such a calm community exists in Taipei. This border area of Taipei has withered like the media have described. No high-rise buildings can be seen in this area, but there are signs of flooding, inconvenient transportation, lack of public construction, and many illegal buildings, as populated by few patches of green vegetable fields and aging population (with majority being elderly and new immigrants). Every sight depicts Shezi with a picture of forgotten past left behind in time near the bank of the Tamsui River. As Greater Taipei rushes in an era of rapid construction, the stagnant Shezi community seems to be on halt and isolated as an orphan in the cement city of Taipei area. Shezi remains still as an “island”.

Chronicle of History

  • . 1694: A major earthquake occurred in Guandu, forming Kangxi Taipei Lake. At the area around Shezidao in the current day, there were Massauw people and other aborigines of the three tribes lived on the lower bank of the Keelung River, when they decided to move to avoid the disaster.
  • . 1709: Legend has it that 9 immigrants from Tongan County in Quanzhou of China have migrated and reclaimed the wasteland in Fu’anli of Shezi.
  • . 1754: A major earthquake occurred in northern Taiwan, causing the isolated sandbank to depress again and form a swamp area.
  • . In 1880, the sandbanks were connected to each other due to siltation, and their shapes were similar to those of the present, leaving Fanzaigou and Daxundong as separate areas.
  • . 1890: A concise summary map of Tamsui County shows that sandbank settlements such as “Shezi Village", “Fuzhou Village" and “Chungzhou Village" have developed in this area.
  • . 1904: The Taiwan District Map shows that the sandbanks in Shezi have merged into a big gourd-shaped “island”, named Huludao, which was also the earliest map clearly marking the settlement location in Shezi area.
  • . In 1926, the Japanese used electric motors to pump river water in Hougangcheng area, and built Shezi canal, so that many dry lands in Shezi eventually had water for irrigation, transforming it into fertile land that could be cultivated. Various industries in Shezi, therefore, became more developed and the quality of life improved accordingly.
  • . 1935: Japanese, Hirayama, discovered the Shezi cultural relics site.
  • . In 1939, Shezi Suspension Bridge was completed and opened, which was the only access to Shezidao at that time.
  • . In 1955, Yanping Cross-Bridge was built across Fanzaigou, whichi further improved the convenience of transportation between Shezi and Daxundong.
  • . 1956: Typhoon Wanda hit Taiwan with heavy rain. The water level in Xindian Creek soared. The water depth in Lanya Village of Shilin reached 2 meters. More than 10,000 residents in Shezi Village were trapped by the flood and 7 people died.
  • . 1962: Between Shezidao of Shilin and Taipei City, a newly constructed Yanping Bridge was opened for traffic.
  • . 1963: Typhoon Gloria crossed the border and with Shimen Reservoir discharged the water, Shezidao was flooded by more than three meters of water. The government began to plan the flood control system in Taipei, diverting the Keelung River with a cutoff course, while building the Keelung and Shezi dikes.
  • . In 1964, the flood control plan of Taipei area designated Fu’an, Fuan and Sanli in Chungzhou at the end of Shezidao as outer areas, that intrusion of seawater due to typhoons would cause serious loss to crops.
  • . 1970: The government proposed a flood control plan for the Greater Taipei area to enlist Shezidao as a flood zone. Since then, Shezidao has been banned from construction for nearly 50 years, where all construction permits have been suspended, and there was no public construction, lagging in development in the area.
  • . 1974: A fortified dike was further constructed three miles outside Shezi Dike. The Keelung River is cut off and straightened to open up a new river course.
  • . 1978: National Highway No. 1 was completed and opened to traffic, where Fanzaigou was filled up to build the “Chongqing North Road Interchange". Since then, the agriculture in Shezidao has gradually declined due to its loss to the competition of vegetables transported to the north from the central and southern regions of Taiwan
  • . 1981: Demolition of Shezi Suspension Bridge.
  • . 1992: The community newspaper, “Shezidao”, founded by residents of Shezidao in Taipei City, was officially published.
  • . 2003: Shezidao Cultural Festival started, centering on Kuntian Pavilion on Yanping North Road for half a month.
  • . 2006: The first issue of Shuanghewan Monthly was published, becoming a unique cultural chronicle on Shezi.
  • . 2010: Mayor Hao Longbin proposed a plan to turn Shezidao into the “Metropolitan of Manhattan” in Taipei.
  • . 2013: The Shezi Bridge connecting Beitou was opened to traffic.
  • . 2015: Mayor Ko Wenze proposed three plans: “Canal of Shezidao", “Ecological Shezidao" and “Our Shezidao", which were voted by residents via I-Voting. Finally, the “Ecological Shezidao" was used as a reference for urban planning.
  • . 2016: Proceeded to vote via I-Voting from February 27 to 28.
  • . 2016: On October 31, the “Shezidao Urban Development Plan” was submitted to Ministry of Interior for Review.
  • . 2017: On March 22 and 23, the public hearing on phase II environmental impact assessment of Shezidao Urban Development Plan in Shilin District of Taipei City was held.
  • . 2018: From January 13 to March 12, households in Shezidao were visited and interviewed.
  • . 2018: On July 7 and 8, the public hearing and the on-site investigation for the phase II environmental impact assessment were held.
  • . 2019: Two phase II EIA meetings were held for review and currently in the reviewing process.
  • . 2019: On March 4 and 5, the public hearing on Shezidao Demolition and Resettlement was held.
  • . 2019: On June 26, there was an information exchange meeting on petition issues by the Shezidao SOS Group.
  • . 2019: On August 31, the public hearing on Shezidao Demolition and Resettlement was held at Fu’an Junior High School. . 2020: From July 15 to August 15, a total of 16 public hearing sessions were held on “Investigation and Estimation of Land Improvement in the Expropriation Scope of Shezidao in Shilin District of Taipei"
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