The Taiwan government has long used ‘Zone expropriation’ as a means for public construction and large-scale development, often resulting in controversies over forced displacement of local residents. READr consolidates past Zone expropriation plans and found that 80% of the development plans were primarily for building housing. By comparing the vacancy rate of the development area, it was discovered that the vacancy rate of the Zone expropriation locations was almost always higher than the average.This result shows that the housing supply is greater than the demand, the development plan is obviously overly optimistic, and the necessity is insufficient.
This report is the first one to use data and statistics, such as vacancy rates and transaction data, to prove the long-standing issue of Zone expropriation abuse in Taiwan. Unlike previous reports that only examined individual cases, this report uses comprehensive data analysis to highlight the systemic problems of Zone expropriation, which has received feedback from many domestic land-use scholars.
We collected the locations of Zone expropriation over the years, and through the use of QGIS software, we were able to combine the Zone expropriation locations with the Ministry of the Interior’s village empty housing data to obtain the number of empty houses in that area. Additionally, we also utilized a scrolling video with a map of Taiwan’s empty housing rate as the main focus, with text explanations and photos to allow readers to understand the overall situation of Zone expropriation.
Context about the project:
Data journalism is often limited by the completeness of the data, and the most difficult aspect of this report is the government’s lack of transparency in data, such as the vacancy rate within the scope of the plan. We had to rely on multiple sources of data and cross-reference them to obtain the vacancy rate of the expropriation plan. Even the land transaction data of the plan, which should be public government data, was hidden on different websites. However, we were able to overcome the lack of transparency in data through various means, and successfully produced the first data-based expropriation report.
What can other journalists learn from this project?
When discussing the issue of Zone expropriation, it is easy to be limited to case-by-case discussions. However, data provides us with a good direction. When we consolidated all Zone expropriation plans, we found that more than 80% were primarily for the development of housing.
However, this contradicts Taiwan’s low birthrate problem. So we further compared the vacancy rate of the Zone expropriation location, which provided a new data perspective to review Zone expropriation. This may be a reference approach when discussing other old issues.