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Collaborative meeting opens up mindset of designing and possibilities for Chiayi Old Prison

  • PostDate:2022-02-25

Mayor Ming-hui Huang: Collaborative meeting opens up mindset of designing and possibilities for Chiayi Old Prison as an important part of Cultural New Sil Road


February 19, 2022

Cultural Affairs Bureau / Tourism and Information Department


        The 102nd open government collaborative meeting took place at Chiayi Old Prison, one of the most popular venues during Taiwan Design Expo, today. People of all walks were invited to the meeting to brainstorm ideas based on public opinions for the revitalization of Chiayi Old Prison. Those who attended the meeting were: the Chiayi City mayor Ming-hui Haung, Minister of Justice Ching-hsiang Tsai and the legislator Mei-hui Wang. There were also people from Agency of Corrections, Ministry of Culture, and Youth Development Administration. Historians and local representatives participated in the meeting as well. Even Audrey Tang, the minister without portfolio, also joined the meeting on a video call. Participants were divided into groups to discussions over the future of the old prison.

        Huang said delightedly: “People have come to realize that Chiayi Old Prison is the treasure of Chiayi and Taiwan after all these years, and it’s one of the crucial spots on the ‘Cultural New Silk Road’ of Chiayi City.” The meeting participants gathering today to give advice and opinions on the old prison from different perspectives demonstrates how the concept of designing is applied into management.

        “The history, the place and the future are all important parts of the revitalization of the old prison,” said Ching-hsiang Tsai, Minister of Justice. “As cultural heritage in the country, it takes the responsibility of law and human right education and spurs the development of tourism.” Ministry of Justice will realize the suggestions today that can be carried out immediately. Taiwan Design Expo 2021 brought out the different possibilities for Chiayi Old Prison.

        Huang believes that culture is the key to policy making in recent years. Her belief that had lasted for 18 years turned into the success of Chiayi Old Prison qualified as a national monument. It’s been over 10 years since the 1st renovation of the old prison, and the City Government always tries to push the 2nd renovation every time guests from the Central visit the prison. The City Government even organized the event “Set the Old Prison Free” to promote the old prison. The renovation of the old prison within the wall will be conducted by Ministry of Justice while the renovation of the dormitory area will be carried out by Cultural Affairs Bureau of Chiayi City Government.

        The City Government received the budget of 1,34.4 million dollars after submitting the “The City of Wood Reappearance Project” to the Central in 2018 and began to integrate resources regarding wood industry in Chiayi City, according to Cultural Affairs Bureau. Lectures and training sessions were started to nurture talent and carpenters. The dormitory area of the old prison is the main focus of the project, and the City Government collaborates with Ministry of Justice to fulfill the revitalization of the whole prison. Ten of the dormitory buildings have been renovated as space for performances or experimental timber factories. The public space and basic facilities have been greatly improved, and the prison has attracted a number of old residents and people for photoshoots.

        The 1st phase of“The City of Wood Reappearance Project 2.0” was approved by Ministry of Culture with the budget of 10.2 million dollars. The 2nd phase with the budget of 119.2 million dollars is to be approved by Ministry of Culture. The lectures and training sessions will continue, and the areas that haven’t been renovated will be completed for the management of the old prison in the future.

        Ministry of Justice proposed the open government collaborative meeting in favor of the future for the old prison. Public opinions can be collected in the meeting for sustainable management. Meeting attendants reached a consensus by brainstorming ideas to ensure that the future of the old prison will meet people’s expectations, Cultural Affairs Bureau said. The old prison will become a valuable revitalized place for education and tourism. The issues discussed during the meeting included: documents kept in the prison, spatial distribution, art exhibitions in the prison, and business investment.