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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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.