Children’s Lived Spaces in Suburban Taiwan During the 1960s

  • Mengchun Chiang


This study aims to portray children’s lived spaces in rural Taiwan during the 1960s. Taiwan started to develop into a prosperous and industrialized country with a stronger and dynamic economy during the 1960s while it maintained an authoritarian, single-party government. Today, Taiwan has transformed into a country that is not only economically developed, but also socially Westernized. The lived spaces of children in suburban Taiwan have gone through a drastic change during the last 50 years. This study attempts to provide descriptions of children’s lived space during the 1960s as a different way that space could be lived in comparison to the present westernized space and gives insights into an Other kind of the lived space of society today. I interviewed two native Taiwanese adults who were about 10 years old during the 1960s. I asked them to draw a picture of their childhood home and to describe their everyday experience in that space. Both participants described a childhood home similar to a traditional san-ho-yuan architecture that has an open space in the center of a three-wing building. The architecture of children’s lived spaces in rural Taiwan during the 60s invites intimate familial encounters, engagements with nature and domestic animals, and communal activities for children. With the narratives of the participants, attention was drawn to how children are living in the present day Taiwanese architecture where they are provided with a separate and distinct lived space that does not allow for close and intimate encounters with adults, other children, and nature. The concluding remark underlies the challenges of forming a sense of identity in the given lived space that children face today.