Taipei begins construction of 20,000 public housing units

Taipei begins construction of 20,000 public housing units

ELECTION PROMISES:A total of 19,923 units at 127 sites are expected to be done or under development by year’s end, the Taipei Department of Urban Development commissioner said

The Taipei Department of Urban Development has begun planning and building about 20,000 public housing units, department Commissioner Lin Jou-min said on Monday in response to criticism that Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je has failed to keep his election promise to build at least 20,000 units in his first term.

When Ko took office in 2015, his administration pledged to “increase public housing units by 20,000 in four years for a total of 50,000 units in eight years,” but as Ko’s first four-year term is ending, city councilors and the media questioned whether the promise will be met.

Lin told a news conference that the administration did not promise to “complete” 20,000 public housing units in four years.

The department in 2015 prepared a four-year schedule and financing plan for the projects, Lin said, adding that a total of 19,923 units at 127 sites are expected to either be completed or under development by the end of the year.

This includes 2,648 units at 18 sites that have been completed, 10,752 units at 31 sites that are under construction, 1,319 units at three sites that are being contracted out, 2,206 units at seven sites that are being planned and 2,998 units at 68 urban renewal joint development sites, he said.

The department’s goal and determination to finish the projects have not changed, Lin said, adding that the number of public housing units that have been created in the past three-and-a-half years is about five times the number created in eight years under former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin.

The department is also to launch an online “monitoring dashboard” that uses graphs to provide data about the city’s public housing projects to the public, he said.

When asked about Lin’s remarks yesterday, Ko said: “Actually it would be difficult to reach 20,000 units, even if we included projects that are under construction. It is not as easy as we thought it would be, but we are still making inventories.”

Asked whether he had failed to keep his promise, Ko said that there would be about 19,000 units, which is not far from the original goal, adding: “It is already quite impressive if the city government can create 19,000 units.”

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