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Ximending's American Street

Nearly 20 years ago, the first fashion clothing store opened on Alley No. 96, Kunming Street. The store was an importer of used clothes from the U.S., for which it was adored by young adults as the frontier of fashion clothing. With a little exposure on the media, other stores of similar kind mushroomed along this small alley at the turn of the millennium. In 2005, the entire alley was made a walk path and renamed by the Department of Urban Development, Taipei City Government, as "American Street." Today, the street is no longer dominated by the U.S. culture, but includes much broader varieties such as those of Japan and UK.Graffiti is perhaps the most symbolic sight in American Street, as it is seen on rolling doors, walls, and even on power distributors. Instead of treating graffiti as a punishable act, the city government actually welcomes creative designs and colors at the corner of American Street and Alley No. 103, Emei Street, extending all the way to Taipei Cinema Park. Perhaps it was because that shop owners and visitors in American Street are mostly young adults, they had much higher tolerance to this sub-culture. For this reason, organizers of Taipei Cinema Park and Taipei Youth Art Center had joined efforts to redesign the graffiti art near American Street through graffiti competitions. Meanwhile, some shop owners have also worked with graffiti artists to paint creations on their doors and walls as means of attracting attention.

Address: Alley 96, Kunming Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City

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