Relational geography of a border island: Local development and compensatory destruction on lieyu, Taiwan

Su Hsin Lee, Wen Hua Huang, Adam Grydehøj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The paper considers Lieyu island from a relational geography perspective, relative to the islands of Kinmen, Xiamen, and Taiwan. Lieyu retains its natural landscape and military heritage in part due to its remote location and military restrictions relative to nearby Kinmen Island. Local politicians harness Lieyu’s archipelagic relationality and sense of underdevelopment relative to other islands in its archipelago to gain financial subsidies for infrastructure development. Such infrastructure projects (including fixed links) endanger Lieyu’s sense of islandness and island place. We introduce the term ‘compensatory destruction’, which involves destroying existing place-based values or attributes in the process of implementing new values in the name of development. Although compensatory destruction is not necessarily bad, care must be taken to ensure that development projects serve the needs of the community as a whole and are adequately assessed and evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-112
Number of pages16
JournalIsland Studies Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov


  • Compensatory destruction
  • Islands
  • Kinmen
  • Local development
  • Relational geography
  • Taiwan
  • Xiamen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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