I have to admit that Instagram is not a bad APP to discover places or just about anything that strikes your fancy.1 Some snapshots from IG (as Instagram is commonly referred to in Taiwan) actually got me motivated to explore a new part of Taipei, in the Songshan district 松山區.
I originally wasn’t planning on writing an introduction of the Minsheng Community 民生社區, but as I read more about it, I felt that it deserved its own dedicated post. This shall also provide a little context for some upcoming posts.
I don’t know if this corner of Taipei has always been this charming, but it certainly feels under-reported in travel guides and such. After all, if I lived in that area, I’d probably want to preserve its calm atmosphere and keep it away from tourists. 😉
So, on my last outing to Taipei, I ventured into the Songshan district 松山區, in the quaint Minsheng community 民生社區, an area with a Western feel to it. But, was it more European or more North American? I checked Google, and it pointed me to the Living Lab website which had just the information I was looking for. It turns out that the Minsheng community is the first American model community in Taiwan. Not surprising considering that it was actually funded and advised by the USAID, as were many other Taiwan Miracle projects.
In retrospect, given the sight of a few gated residences, I should have had a hunch at the American inspiration, however, the America I know is mostly big cities and suburbs on the West Coast, not cute neighborhoods, so maybe this is more of an East Coast inspiration??
Anyway, despite the immediate proximity to the Songshan airport 松山機場, the area remains amazingly calm, for it is not in the airway path. As a bonus, the height of the buildings is limited for the safety of the flights, hence, preventing the area from suffocating under the shadows of potential high-rises.
Coincidentally, while taking my time to walk out of the Nanjing Sanmin 南京三民 MRT station, I actually stopped to take a closer look at what happened to be an artsy representation of the Minsheng community, contributing a little bit more to my understanding of this neighborhood. Well, the description did, not the art in itself (⊙_☉).
The Artist’s Statement reads:
“The Green Heart of Taipei’s urban jungle is Minsheng Community, a quiet residential district, flourishing with trees and plants. When the sun shines through the thick camphor trees lining the sidewalk, pedestrians slow down to take a moment of serenity. This work transforms the distinctive feel of Taiwan’s first dedicated housing subdivision into simple geometric shapes and lines, reflecting the fresh, green heart of Taipei City.”
One could argue that the Da’an park also makes a worthy contender for the title of Green Heart of the city of Taipei, but other than that, the statement depicts pretty well this serene Minsheng Community.
It is then no wonder that some trendy shops have been popping up in that area. Just to name a few, this is where you’ll find the much instagrammed and buzzing All Day Roasting Company, settled in a corner of the Minsheng Park 民生公園 is a boutique of the famed pineapple pastry SunnyHills 微熱山丘, and Kinfolk fans can photoshoot away at one of the few Fujin Tree Group establishments sprinkled over of the neighborhood.
The Minsheng community was also featured in the 2010 movie Taipei Exchanges 第36個故事, for which a coffee shop was built from scratch, and still lives on under the name of Daughter’s Café 朵兒咖啡館. The movie is a light-hearted story about a soul-searching girl who opens a coffee-shop with a quirky twist to it, just perfect to watch on a torrential plum rain day!
For additional information on the Minsheng Community, read
this and this. For stuff to do, check those maps (in Chinese). And to explore from the comfort of your screen, lose yourself in the #民生社區 on IG.