The Angels and Approaches of Housing Solutions in Taiwan
Hua Ching-chun, Political Deputy Minister（Ministry of the Interior, Taiwan）
Housing encompasses a horde of multifaceted issues that may call for exploration, grounding and solutions from divergent angels and approaches.
Taking a long-term perspective, administrations and people of different generations have commonly responded to important contemporary housing issues, but still left behind certain unanswered problems. Throughout the time, some cities and countries are able to provide for secure and comfortable housing for most of people, while others are even not in the position of supplying clean water and basic infrastructure. Of course, most of cities and countries lie somewhere in between on this spectrum, still facing never-ending challenges.
In general, the housing situation in Taiwan is closer to the fortunate end. However, our environment may still seem fragile in comparison and against expectations.
Every place shall define the housing issues of their generation and assess dimensions and approaches for the state, people and housing professionals to take actions respectively. Their common goals are to lessen burdens, enhance happiness, build the future and pursue balance.
Profit-driven is the nature of the market while cause-based advocacy the responsibility of the civil groups. The role of a rational government is to define the issues and to channel both the corporate and civil energies towards solutions.
Housing issues often entail multiple dimensions and complicated processes. Therefore, the objective of ‘defining the question’ is to choose the angels and approaches towards potential solutions. In terms of the angel, ‘balance’ holds the key, simply understood as:
‘Do more where previously neglected; do less where excessively overacted.’
‘More provision to higher demands; more assistance to greater needs.’
In terms of the approach, it can be understood as:
‘Starting from simple steps and make things simple;’ or
‘Create justice and fairness in efficiency; enhance efficiency in justice and fairness.’
Recent years, we define the housing issues in Taiwan as follows:
1. Insufficient direct supply of secure housing by the state;
2. The rental market has been highly neglected;
3. Severe delay in renovating old and perilous housing.
These three key issues pave the foundation for our current housing policies.
Some people might wonder why these three, why not deal with undervalued property tax, high home price and sky-rocketed speculative accumulation.
Someone might say this is politics; the government after all is the tool of capitalists. However, we can turn around and think: upon solving the first three issues, we do not only alleviate people’s direct problems, also help improving latter three issues. On the contrary, we may address some injustices by starting with the latter issues, but failed to solve people’s direct needs.
Every generation is endowed with own tasks and we can only overcome them by one step a time.