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Sustainable Industrial Development Planning in Urban Areas: From Industrial Ecology Aspect
– From Industrial Ecology Aspect

Shiann-Far Kung* and Kuo-Hui Chung**
Presented in the International Symposium on Urban planning , Kobe, 2001

Keywords: industrial ecology, eco-industrial park, brownfield


Post-war industrial development in Taiwan has been greatly enhanced by its industrial land supply policies. To meet the demand of its fast expanding and frequently restructuring industry, three major types of industrial land system have evolved, and vast of industrial land has been provided. However, none of the three land supply systems has a built-in planning and management mechanism which is capable of creating ecologically sound industrial estates, in terms of the current international environmental standards. In addition, existing industrial estates have often had minimal, if not negative, relationships with their local community, the UMC and Hsinchu City Government conflict in May 2000 is just one fresh example. Facing the increasing environmental awareness of the people and the foreseeable international non-tariff trade barriers, Taiwan’s industrial development is in shadow, and there is an urgent need to improve existing industrial parks and industrial estates all over the island.

It is argued in this article that existing environmental protection approaches, primarily the pipe-end checks, individual firm based examinations or environmental impact assessment, altogether are not enough to solve the problems. A new integrated industrial planning and management mechanism has to be introduced. In this aspect, the authors suggest that the concept of industrial ecology may provide urban planners a new foundation in industrial development planning. More specifically, literature pertaining to the emerging eco-industrial park idea, and experiences of its classical Kalundborg model and some of the North American cases will be examined. Based on these, two types of eco-industrial park ideas will be discussed, with respect to their applicability to Taiwan’s existing industrial estate system and industrial structure.

* Associate professor, Department of Urban Planning, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan
** Master student, Department of Urban Planning, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

This paper reviews Taiwan’s postwar industrial development planning, with emphasis on the provision and management of industrial land through industrial policy and spatial planning. It further argues, in lieu of the increasing environmental concern from international society and domestic communities, the existing industrial development planning has to be modified, and environmental elements have to be integrated into the planning system, if the island is expecting to sustain its industrial growth and economic prosperity.

1. Industrial Land Supply System in Taiwan
Taiwan has experienced fast economic growth since 1960s. It is commonly agreed that the central government of the Republic of China has played an important role in guiding this economic development process through industrialization policies and spatial planning. Chiu (1997: 4) divided Taiwan’s industrial policy into five stages: first phase of import substitution (1950s), export expansion (1960s, 1970s) cum second import substitution (1974-80), the fostering of science & applied technology industries (1980s, 1990s) and economic liberalization (1986 and after), and promotion of industrial upgrading and structural transformation (1990s). In each of the stages, certain target industries were promoted, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has been responsible for the initiation and implementation of these policies.

In order to facilitate the industrial investment, and considering that Taiwan has “enjoyed” the second highest population density in the world since long, spatial planning should have been instrumental in providing the desired infrastructure and industrial land. From the enforcement point of view, Taiwan’s spatial planning system can be divided into only two stages, and 1973/74 is the dividing point. Before 1973, the Urban Planning Law and its Regulations on Enforcement guided the spatial planning and development control of the island, town or city plans were individually made without much consideration of its surroundings, land use beyond the boundaries of these city plans was only regulated by the Building Laws. In the second stage, following a substantial revision of Urban Planning Law in 1973, the Regional Planning Law was promulgated in 1974. Within the new regional/urban planning structure, individual town or city planning has to follow its respective regional plan’s guidance, and the land beyond urban plan boundaries was also subject to the regional non-urban area land use control. In this paper, we will use “urban industrial zones” to denote those industrial land designated by town or city plans, and “D-class building use land” as land permitted for industrial purposes under non-urban area zoning registry.

Before the 1973/74 spatial planning system change, urban plans were ideal future blueprints, the static nature of urban planning and the building management in the 1950s had been unable to meet the efficiency required by the industrial investors on the edge of Taiwan’s economic takeoff. The Statute for Promoting Investment (SPI) was promulgated in September 1960 as a more efficient approach. Industrial Land-Selecting Task Forces were formed by central and provincial governments, bypassing the spatial planning institution, to actively select sites and plan industrial zones. This became the third industrial land supply source, the industrial zones thus established shall be referred to as “designated industrial zones” in this paper. The Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) was set up under MOEA in February 1970 and became the agency responsible for the provision of industrial land in the central government. The planning and development of the designated industrial zones has since been put under IDB’s direct control.

By the end of 1999, as Table 1 shows, total area of industrial land exceeded 43,000ha. Urban industrial zones accounted for nearly 22,000ha, total area of the 87 designated industrial zones in operation was 11,422ha, and the scattered D-class building use land altogether occupied 10,660 ha area. There were additional 22 designated industrial zones under planning or construction, with a total area of 18,500ha (IDB, 1999). Clearly the urban industrial zones was the most important supply source among the three, in terms of area planned for industrial use, but the designated industrial zones are going to take the lion’s share in the coming future.

Table 1. Industrial and Spatial Planning Features in Taiwan, R.O.C.

2 Within the 80 designated industrial zones which data are available, 38 zones are equipped with waste treatment facilities.

2. Management of Industrial Area and the Environmental Issues
Designation of land for industrial use does not guarantee the actual supply and the quality of industrial land, rather, the administration and management of the industrial estate is important in this respect. The three supply channels have quite different management systems. According to the respective regulations, the urban industrial land and the D-class building use land are administered by the local government, and no on-site administration bodies is required, on the contrary, industrial zones are administered by the IDB, via industrial administration centers in each or group of industrial zones.

D-class building use lands are basically scattered but usually locate not very far from urban areas, thus the firms can take the advantages of urban infrastructure and amenities while enjoying the lower land price in rural areas. Because of their dispersion and relatively longer distances from the local governments, the factories have been operated de facto without effective environmental inspection from the local authorities. Furthermore, since they are not concentrated, unless the operation is in big scale, any individual firm’s environmental impact may not attract serious alertness, but their collective environmental impact on the whole ecosystem of the island deserves attention.

An urban industrial zone is ideally a collection of sites clearly bounded, and, theoretically, well located in an urban plan area; nevertheless, many urban industrial zones were designated because they had existed prior to the plan, these existing zones are usually scattered and smaller than the newly designated ones. For the newly designated urban industrial zones, the local government is responsible for the development of public service and infrastructure, and the landowner and the investor decide when and how the land parcel being actually used. The result is often a scattered development within the planned industrial area, and the landscape is by large as if there was a collection of D-class building use land within the urban area.

Since early 1980s, Urban Planning Bylaws of Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Taiwan Province classified urban industrial zones, and industries allowed to each kind of zone are also classified according to the degree of pollution. Yet, there is no legal statement pertaining to the least required management or environment facilities in the zone classes. Because they are located in the urban area yet not well equipped with waste disposal facilities or effectively monitored, groups of firms such developed have been gradually recognized as problematic spots.

In sum, although industrial pollution has become an important factor in the current spatial planning’s legal framework, due to the passive control nature of land use and zoning regulations, industrial development remains in effective the designation of land for industrial use individually or collectively in a suitable location.

The designated industrial zones have a different development and management system. Since they are usually drawn for urgent or special need, timely designation and timely development are naturally among the major planning objectives. Spatial planning officials sometimes privately regarded this “efficiency” has sacrificed general development interest and process just to fulfill sectoral and temporal needs. However, its management system opened a new window for industrial planning thinking. It seems that on-site indsutrial management function was first introduced through the establishment of Kaohsiung Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) in 1965, also under SPI framework. The original emphasis was to attract foreign direct investment through a more efficient administration (Li, 1976: 354-358), KEPZ has been widely accepted as a successful model afterwards. Whether this successful experience has anything to do with the later industrial management system in designated zones is not clear, however, the establishment of Science-based Industrial Park Administration to manage science park development is evident (Kung, 1995: 163). However, soon after the establishment of IDB, Statute for the Establishment of Industrial Zone Management Institution was promulgated in 1972. According to the statute, all the designated industrial zones larger than 100ha have to establish a (although not clearly termed “on-site”) management center, zones smaller than 100ha may establish a management station or to be managed by a neighboring center.
By the end of 1999, all the 87 designated industrial zones in Taiwan have set up management institutions, most of them are on-site. The three EPZs and two science parks are also managed by their respective administrations. A typical management center is equipped with a director and 10-14 staff, another 6-9 technical staff shall be added if the designated industrial zone has wastewater treatment plant. The administration of EPZs and science parks are much larger, for example, the Science-based Industrial Park Administration is divided into six divisions and provides a wide range of services from investment consultation and evaluation, commercial, environmental, to labor relations; with a total staff of approximately 400.

Therefore, SPI and other industrial development statutes have injected management function into Taiwan’s industrial development planning. With this element the industrial parks may better developed and react to the increasing environmental concerns which, either from local communities or international trade non-tariff barriers, has becoming a major restrictive force against industrial development.

Industry-related environmental issues are currently the responsibility of IDB and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA divided Taiwan’s environmental policies and administration into four stages ( From this literature, it is not clear which government authority was responsible for the industrial pollution issues before March 1971. Perhaps the issues had risen with the fast industrialization in the 1960s, as a result the IDB was established to manage industrial development affairs as well as the byproduct of industries; hence, between 1970 and 1971 IDB was also responsible for the industrial pollution affairs. Between Spring 1971 and 1982, at the central government level, Sanitary Bureau was established in 1971 to monitor air pollution, and sanitary conditions in general and of food industry, and the Water Resources Planning Council of MOEA was responsible for the water pollution. However, when one examines through the vigorous promulgation of various environmental laws and regulations since the mid-1980s, it should be clear it is in the third and fourth stages that the environmental agency (the now EPA) has gradually resumed a clear and strong status in the central government, and finally playing an important role in industrial development.

In fact, the power of EPA in the government has grown with the civilian perception of industry and environmental movement in the past two decades, and there has been many industrial conflict and confrontations all over the island, covering all types of industrial land and most of the major industries. There was a myth in the beginning of the 1980s, when the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park was first established, that the high technology industries are clean and yield very little negative environmental effects. The myth has certainly gone with fires of Winbond in 1997 and United Semiconductor in 1998, and the United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) conflict with Hsinchu City government in May 2000. Therefore, it is clear that all kinds of industries, all types of industrial area, and their supporting facilities are now subject to environmental investigation, either from the EPA or by the general public or special interest groups.

Until now, industrial development and environmental quality are generally seen as two sides within a zero-sum game. The institutions set up for the environmental assessment and monitoring came from similar ideologies. As a result, the future industrial development in Taiwan is in shadow. From a spatial planner’s view, one of the urgent issues is to reduce the environmental impact of existing industrial parks with least upgrading costs and to create new ones which would not harm the existing environment and local community. Since there has evolved two planning systems to provide three types of industrial land for economic development purposes, and the environmental factor has firmly joined the development issues, current planning and assessment processes and pipe-end checks are not the answer. There is an urgent need for planners in Taiwan to find a model which could better accommodate all the said parties’ interests.

3. Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Industrial Development Planning
The expected answer may be found through the concept of industrial ecology and the eco-industrial park planning ideas. It was commonly thought that the term “industrial ec
ology” was introduced by Frosch and Gallopolous in 1989 (Ayers, R. U. & Ayers, L. W., 1996: 279), however, Allenby (1999) considered that Japan has been using similar concept in its industrial development strategies since 1970s. The basic notion of the industrial ecology is that the industrial systems could be more efficient if they are molded after natural ecosystems, and the industrial systems thus constructed could contribute to the sustainable development of the earth.

Industrial ecology does contain strong implications for industrial and spatial development planning. Kalundborg, a small town on the western coast of Denmark with about 100 km distance from Copenhagen, is often cited as a naturally evolved prototype of industrial ecology and the Mecca of industrial ecology researchers. Many authors have used Kalundborg to illustrate the symbiotic relationship among the firms, local agricultural and fishery farms, and the local community; hence the possibility of recreating industrial symbiotic communities elsewhere.

However, it seems that industrial ecology and its application has not attracted much awareness from spatial planners. Andrews’ (1999) suggested that there is an evolving role for planners “to put industrial ecology in place”, and it in fact revealed one of the most recent planning trends in the United States — the so-called “eco-industrial park” movement.

In the United State the idea of eco-industrial park did not come only and directly from the industrial ecology, although they are highly rel ated. Literature suggests that it was also a pragmatic reaction aiming at new solutions for the “brownfields” issue which had been a direct effect of the US environmental assessment system (Lowe, Moran & Holmes, 1998; Russ, 2000). The idea was introduced to EPA in 1993, and EPA immediately funded a study project, and proposed that the EIP be one of the demonstration projects for the President Council of Sustainable Development (PCSD) which was also established in the same year. In 1996 the PCSD hosted the first US workshop on EIP, along with other activities sponsored by the PCSD, EIP is now attracting fast growing attention in the US (WEI, 1999). Table 2 presents some of the EIP projects developed or under planning in the US. EIPs are also found in other countries, although with less details and there is no literature showing whether these projects have been influenced by the American initiatives.

Clearly, different ideas have been raised in these projects, with different emphases due to the locational, societal, industrial, and other factors in the area. We are now in the process of collecting detailed data, in the hope that a better understanding of the US and other countries’ experience will help us to formulate a good proposal to Taiwan’s next generation industrial planning.

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By Bruce K. Chung

Bruce K. Chung - A pioneer industrial ecologist with multi-professions including green building design and city planning, heritage conservation and re-design. You can visit Bruce's on-line CV via the link below >>>