Walking into Taichung's Past and Present: Discover old Taichung at your fingertips
ASCDC works together with Taichung City Government's Cultural Affairs Bureau to bring back the city's local history in digital form
From left to right, ASCDC Director Lin Fu-shih (林富士), Taichung City Government's Cultural Affairs Bureau Director Wang Chih-cheng (王志誠), and Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) are pictured at the book launch reception for Walking into Taichung's Past and Present. (From the left) Dr. Lin Fu-shih (林富士), Taichung City Government's Cultural Affairs Bureau Director Wang Chih-cheng (王志誠) and Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) unveil Walking into Taichung's Past and Present together.(From the second on the left) Mrs. Yang Mei-chen, daughter-in-law of the late photographer Yu Ju-chi, General Manager of Kadokawa International Entertainment, Dr. Lin Fu-shih, Director Wang Chih-cheng and Mr. Lin Chuan-hsiu, son of the late photographer Lin Chuan-chu(on the fourth from the right).Dr. Lin Fu-shih giving a speech.Director Wang Chih-cheng giving a speech.Legislator Huang Kuo-shu giving a speech.Dr. Lin Fu-shih and Director Wang Chih-cheng in front of the showcase of Walking into Taichung's Past and Present and the mobile app.Walking into Taichung's Past and Present.
A collaboration among Academia Sinica Center for Digital Culture, Taichung City Government's Cultural Affairs Bureau and other local organizations,
Walking into Taichung's Past and Present—the first Taichung travel guide with a mobile app—is now available!
Following the success of Walking into Taipei's Past and Present (《臺北歷史地圖散步》) published in 2016, Academia Sinica Center for Digital Culture (ASCDC) has now launched Walking into Taichung's Past and Present (《臺中歷史地圖散步》), which includes a monograph and a free app. The project explores the rich history of the city and revitalizes it digitally. On January 24, ASCDC and the Cultural Affairs Bureau, Taichung City Government jointly held a book launch reception for Walking into Taichung's Past and Present at Taichung Broadcasting Bureau to showcase how historical materials and digital technologies work together to transcend time and space—Taichung City's development over the century is now at your fingertips.
The app "Taichung Historical Maps" features 13 historical maps of Taichung and 150 precious old photos, which are integrated into present-day Taichung using Google Maps and Street View. With geolocation positioning, the app allows users to travel through history to see how Taichung has changed over time.
A number of scholars and experts were invited to contribute to Walking into Taichung's Past and Present, writing articles on 17 subjects in-depth with the style easy to understand, including historical background, cultural backgrounds and anecdotes of the attractions in Taichung. Spanning from the period of Japanese rule to the days after World War II, the book covers many aspects such as urban development, cultural activities and social life, including the historical context of Taichung being established as a provincial capital, the conflict of banana trade, the cultural legacy of the indulgent social life in the old days, remnants of US military alliance during the Cold War, the story of Taiwan’s first female doctor Tsai A-hsin and so on, putting together the city’s history and the walking routes around the city. In addition, by scanning the QR codes in the book, it opens up the app "Taichung Historical Maps" that shows its location—the old photographs and the current street view are juxtaposed, and we are taken back in time.
ASCDC Director Lin Fu-shih (林富士) points out that in the era of digitization, knowledge production should work with digital technologies to go beyond the experts to be shared by the general public. Walking into the Past and Present series opens up a brand new path for travel guide in Taiwan—with Taiwan's capital Taipei and Tainan, Taiwan's oldest city that has rich history already covered, Taichung, Taiwan’s second largest city, is not to be missed. Taichung was the provincial capital under Qing rule and is the first city undergone urban planning during the period of Japanese rule. Taichung's importance, unique history, and rich culture deserve extensive explorations.
Wang Chih-cheng (王志誠), Director of Cultural Affairs Bureau, Taichung City Government, says that with tangible and intangible aids such as historic sites, historical maps, old photographs, cartoons and the app, Walking into Taichung's Past and Present guides readers through time and space, so that we get to read Taichung's rich texture of history, geography and culture. Wang stresses that the publications used to be restricted to paper-based materials, but now, by scanning the QR code next to the site introduced in the book, we will immediately have the idea of the site's past and present—Taichung's one hundred years' history is not only the words printed in the book but also the places in the real world to be explored.
In recent years, the Bureau has been engaging in the project "digital city museum" to preserve and regenerate the local history and to construct "Taichungology", which brings together the locals and out-of-towners to learn about Taichung. From 2016 to 2017, 10 books on "Taichungology" were published, including A Time for Banquet: Beverages of Taichung and Bubble Tea in the World (《團圓食光：世界珍奶與臺中茶飲》) and A Stroll down the Rails: The History of Taichung Station (《驛動軌迹：臺中火車站的古往今來》), among others. Wang believes that Walking into Taichung’s Past and Present, which combines technologies with cultural history, is another good start for the publications on Taichung.
Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書), who initiated the project of the book, adds that this book is very different from conventional history books—it is great fun, and it will surely bring back lots of memories among Taichung people—it is an important step forward in the compilation of Taichung's history.
Soon after its release in early January, 2018, Walking into Taichung's Past and Present has ranked top 2 travel guide new arrival at books.com.tw, Taiwan's largest online retailer. Lin stresses that the publication can only make possible with the great help of central and local governments, in particular, the Center for Geographic Information System of Academia Sinica that provided the historical maps, the descendants of Lin Chuan-Chu and Yu Ju-Chi, two renowned photographers based in Taichung, who provided rare old photographs taken by Lin and Yu, as well as National Chung Hsing University Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences that helped to invite the contributors to the book. All these efforts have made the book's content more genuine, more detailed, and closer to people's life in post-war Taichung.