The cities of Asia are surely places that younger countries like America should look for future examples, good and bad.

Taiwan has a relatively short history of colonization by industrialized humans and a diverse natural ecosystem that allows for persistence of animals and plants even in the core of Taipei (population closing in on 3 million). Here are a few images of Taiwan’s urban ecosystem, where human intent and design combine with natural forces to create oases of nature.

I hope you find them as mentally refreshing as I do.

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Da’an Park: skyscrapers loom behind the palm trees of the park.

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A beautiful pond lies at the heart of Da’an park. This park was created only about a decade ago from a large lot of urban blight, including abandoned buildings and waste dumps. This area is now home to dozens of species of herons, geese, hawks, ducks, egrets, and songbirds.

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Striped bamboo. There are many exquisite bamboo species gracing the park.

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Looking up: delicate green canopy of bamboo evokes the great forests of the mountains.

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Blossoms of every kind can be seen, even in winter.

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Common tiger butterfly. Dozens of species of Taiwanese butterflies float like poems through various zones of the park: sunny, shady, near water, flower patches.

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The old fig trees and rubber trees of the park are lovingly propped up and offer a haven to all kinds of birds, insects, and animals.

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Pallas’s squirrel, a happy inhabitant of the park’s older fig trees. Utterly without fear and capable of bounds of ten feet or more.

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