More movie theatres and department stores are what Taipei needs the least.
What makes a great city isn’t the amount of amazing large-scale constructions it has, but rather whether or not its public infrastructures can equally satisfy everyone. The people of New York are more proud of their city’s Central Park, which serves as the lung for the metropolis, than of their Yankee Stadium. Besides, more people could enjoy a public park than pricey baseball games.
What about Taiwan then?
The high price of game tickets wouldn’t convince enough fans to buy them, thus preventing any professional baseball team to play at the Dome regularly.
Building it in the name of baseball doesn’t make much sense. The stadium would stay closed most of the time or serve as an exhibition hall, even though the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium is located 30 minutes away and already has a capacity of 20 thousand people. Furthermore, Taipei has its “Taipei Arena” and three exhibition halls surround the Taipei World Trade Centre. Why then would we want the soft soil that supports the Songyan park and covers the MRT to be excavated to make place for a large covered stadium, hotels, movie theatres and department stores?
The loss of a free public access to a big park is not worth expensive sport games, movie tickets or shopping. Is it then really the way to promote the happiness and honor of the people?
The Taipei Dome site is located next to Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, in front of Sun Yat-sen Memorial hall and west of Songshan Senior High School. The Xinyi Commercial Center is also just a kilometer away. An earthquake could hit he city and trigger serious consequences such as fires or explosions while several large-scale events take place in each of these locations. Would the area be large enough for so many people to flee away?
For example, a fully booked concert could take place in the Taipei Dome while the neighboring Songshan Senior High School and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall each hold important events. Simultaneously, the Xinyi Commercial Centre could hold its anniversary celebrations and the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park its fall picnic. A fire could break out at the Taipei Dome and create thick smoke.
Imagine a wave of 140 thousand people running away from the Dome, the surrounding park, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and Songshan Senior High School.
Soon after that, the shoppers of the Xinyi Commercial Center would notice the smell of smoke and start panicking as well.
But where would they go? At first towards the surrounding roads, namely Zhongxiao East Road, Guangfu Road, Civic Blvd. Avenue, and Keelung Road. The Translated from http://zh.wildatheart.org.tw/story/10/7826 by Quentin Mreal problem is that with so many people in the streets, it would be difficult for fire trucks to make their way in.
If you think such an instance is hard to imagine, take a look at this picture from New Year’s Eve.
What is even more difficult to believe is that at a meeting on urban design conception, Farglory Land Development Co. (遠雄集團), the main contractor of the project, argued that the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Guang Fu Elementary school, Songshan Senior High School and Yongji Park could all be used as safe places in case of an emergency. Despite obviously omitting the issue of having to keep clear of the roads, it is striking to see that in its safety evaluations, Farglory failed to consider the problems of evacuation and assistance to people in surrounding places.
Besides, a team of medical experts from the municipality noted the lacks of Farglory’s design in the event of an emergency (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-x_0cxgLeY). The solution proposed was to reduce the size of the structure, limiting its capacity to 88 thousand people.
Another option would be to forget about the Dome and only create cultural centers or workspaces on the site.What is interesting to note is that even if the first alternative aims to reduce the capacity of the Dome by 60 thousand seats, the surrounding streets would still not be able to absorb the tides of people and allow fire trucks all at the same time. The second option is even more worth thinking over. Didn’t we just get rid of an ancient forest park to build a covered stadium? The cancelation of the whole “construction plan for the Taipei Dome Complex” suddenly became a possibility!
Should we believe that this means the Dome will be removed to make way for a park? Isn’t the construction of the Dome only encouraged for surrounding businesses like stores, hotels and movie theatres to make profit? If not, why does the alternative plan only “allows affiliated constructions”? It is clearly just about the money!
After Taipei 101 in Xinyi District, are we going to be able to count the beautiful Songyan Forest Park as a place to be proud of?