The Politics of Preserving Urban Nature: A Case Study of Kaohsiung's Meinong Nature Park

By Yu-Hsuan Lee.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies

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The research object is the politics of urban nature related to the advocacy process for Meinong’s National Nature Park in Kaohsiung. Located in the largest industrial city in Taiwan, Meinong is similar to the city’s backyard in which the National Nature Park was fueled by new crises after the anti-dam movement in the 1990s. The politics of urban nature shows how the rural environmental movement encountered contemporary land development in the post-industrial context of Kaohsiung. The National Nature Park in Meinong is caught up in this conjuncture in which contested environmental discourses have been manifested. Local challenges to the exclusive tradition of the national park system from the outset are analyzed for purposes of considering issues concerning land development, co-management, co-option, and ecosystem service. Despite the anti-politics that arose during the debate, I argue that the National Nature Park concept is promising when elaborating an intertwined relationship between conservation and development. The result shows that mainstream nature tourism could be moved beyond, towards environmental justice under the regional planning. This research adopted in-depth interview, participant observation, and critical documental analysis in mapping these different forces and their interpretations related to urban nature.

Keywords: Meinong, Urban Nature, National Nature Park, Ecosystem Service, Environmental Justice

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, Volume 11, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.19-35. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 807.929KB).

Yu-Hsuan Lee

Assistant Professor, Department of International Affairs, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Kaohsiung, Taiwan