I really like what they did to Xi Men Ding. They did something very similar in Taichung on “Electric Street” (we gonna rock down to…) I don’t like Electric Street as much because they put an English language compass on the sidewalk. Why couldn’t they write it in Chinese? Also, Electric Street’s futuristic rainbow like structures are kind of tacky. But it’s still cool. Also, the canal in front of the train station in Taichung is looking prettier. They put in a wooden walkway on its sides. There’re lots of nice parks in Taichung - especially around the Natural Science Museum. Also, if you go to Taichung - you must see Art Street. Art Street is next to Dong Hai University - which is also considered a park. Art Street (i4 shu4 jie) may be the quaint little suburb you’re thinking of - though the surrounding appartments are dumps.
But I think the ugly facades of Taipei are maybe a modesty thing…?
I notice a lot that the house may look like a dump on the outside, but when you walk inside, you see that it’s actually a palace. I even went to this “dumpy” house once in Hualien. The inside was gorgeous and the family had a private elevator. The top floor was a piano room with a bar. From the outside, though, the place was a dump.