Hsiao-hung Nancy Chen
The view is widely held that, throughout the last half-century, Taiwan has not had a ‘housing policy’ in a strict sense, but rather a ‘public housing policy’. There is a strong cultural emphasis on owning one's own home. This has contributed greatly to the achievement of a home ownership rate that exceeds 80 per cent, while the main focus of state intervention in housing has largely been directed at those who are not home owners. From the beginning of the 1980s, however, this has begun to change; house prices have increased rapidly making it gradually more and more difficult for ordinary people to purchase a house; it is commonly estimated that purchasing requires working and saving hard for 30 years. Even where they have achieved home ownership, because of rapid urbanisation and poor planning, the physical environment experienced by most people is of low quality. These circumstances are beginning to result in popular criticism sometimes taking political expression. Thus with political democratisation, a number of civil organisations such as the Homeless Movement Organisation and the Community Construction Organisation have tried to bring pressure on the government. The history of housing policy in Taiwan, therefore, has been one of several decades of intervention with respect to the housing of a minority of the people, followed by recent moves towards a more comprehensive approach.
In the first few years after 1949, when the KMT party led by Chiang Kai-shek moved to Taiwan, government intervention with respect to