Special Report 3
Taipei, a City of Infinite Possibilities
The development of Taipei over the past decade has been unstoppable. In 2014, Taipei was honored with the 2014 City Climate Leadership Awards and the Citizen's Choice Award. In the meantime, the 5th UCLG ASPAC Congress 2014 and the ceremony marking its 10th anniversary were held in Taipei City. More than 1,800 guests from 54 Taiwanese and international cities participated in the Congress, and Taipei successfully promoted itself as a rising and transcendent member of the international community.
2016 will be an important year in which Taipei City will enjoy the results of its promotional efforts. As a result of striving for the right to organize the event, Taipei City has finally been selected by the European Cyclists' Federation to host the 2016 Velo-city Global, and be the event's first Asian host city. What's more, the 2016 World Design Capital event will also draw the world's attention, and Taipei City, as the 5th World Design Capital, is the first city in Chinese-speaking regions to win this honor. Overall, Taipei has been improving its international image by organizing exhibition activities and festivals as well as promoting itself as a global landmark. These endeavors and the warm hospitality which defines the city give Taipei the potential to become an international tourist destination. Taipei has successfully passed the severe tests that have been imposed on her internationally again and again, and has won appreciation from the international community with its superior soft power. “During the past 10 years, Taipei has changed from a boring place to an interesting and playful city,” said Peter Zec, CEO of the Red Dot Design Award. Indeed, “this continuously progressing city brings people with infinite possibilities.”
Capital of Design – Connection to the World with Design
Taipei City was elected the “2016 World Design Capital” in November 2013 with the theme of the “Adaptive City: Design in Motion”. The first official activity of the World Design Capital – the “Agreement Signing Ceremony” – was held in Taipei Guest House on March 28, 2014. The 2016 WDC Host City Agreement was entered into by Hau Lung-bin, the Mayor of Taipei City, and Dr. Brandon Gien, the President of ICSID, in the presence of Wu Den-yih, the Vice President of the Republic of China (Taiwan). This agreement officially announced that Taipei is to be the “2016 World Design Capital” and the 5th World Design Capital ! Taipei's logo was also announced at the signing ceremony. The signature color of the logo is purple, a color created by blending red, yellow and blue. It symbolizes Taipei as a city of vitality and enthusiasm, cultural creativity and smart technology. On October 18 in the same year, Liu Wei-gong, the Director of the Taipei City Government's Department of Cultural Affairs led a team to Cape Town and brought the host city plaque to Taipei. This great result soon attracted the attention of the international media, resulting in more than 1,000 reports; even CNN reported this news. Taipei City is recognized worldwide and will become a global model city, creating a new milestone in the history of Taipei.
To achieve the development objective of becoming World Design Capital, the Taipei City Government integrated existing city development initiatives with more innovative thinking and resources to plan 16 core projects focusing on innovative city governance methods, such as inviting designers to reside in unused spaces of schools, developing cantilever-roof bus shelters to adapt to insufficient land and space, inviting artists to paint on transformer boxes and bridges, designing shop signs, and planning museums and old houses. All of these plans have achieved their aims. What is more, Taipei City Government has entered into an agreement with the Ministry of Finance's National Property Administration to promote the “Zhong Shan Design Industry Park”. These plans were important achievements of the plan to bid for being 2014 World Design Capital. In the meanwhile, the scale of “The 3rd Taipei Design & City Exhibition” in 2014 was enlarged and up to 30 social design pieces from 9 countries were exhibited, raising the rich design energy intrinsic to Taipei to a new level. In addition to demonstrating the design works that may bring a better and more convenient life to the citizens of Taipei, the purpose of becoming World Design Capital is more particularly to promote the beauty of Taipei on the global stage. Since 2012, the Taipei City Government has held exhibitions in Finland, the Netherlands, Cape Town and London. In addition, another two exhibitions centered around the theme of the “Adaptive City” designEX, Australia, and the Tokyo Designers Week, Japan, in 2014. The Taipei City Government has promoted the concept of being World Design Capital since 2012. The media for the promotion included 4 published books, more than 54 design events, 80 films, participation by 1,024 designers and creative cultural workers, and the support of more than 2,700,000 persons. The end of the handover ceremony indicates that the official launching day of the “2016 Taipei World Design Capital” is drawing closer. The schedule and agenda will be officially announced in 2015. Taipei is ready and expects to share its beautiful stories with people around the world in 2016.
CC40: Winning the “2014 City Climate Leadership Awards – Citizen's Choice Award” and the Only Asian Nominee for the Air Quality Award
Taipei City stood out from the crowd and won the “Citizen's Choice Award” at the 2014 City Climate Leadership Awards, held by the C40 (The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group) and Siemens. There were 31 proposals from 26 cities for the competition, and Taipei was eventually elected with the theme of “Clean Air – It's your move”. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin flew to the New York City to attend the ceremony and received the award from Eduardo Paes, the Mayor of Rio City and the President of the Brazilian National Congress on September 23, 2014. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Prime Minister of Norway and the winner of the Tang Prize in 2014, also took to the stage and shared the honor with Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin. Eduardo Paes emphasized in his speech that the citizens of the world elected the winner of this award, rather than a few judges. Taipei City was recognized for her “air quality” and won mainly as a result of the participation of Taipei's citizens in air quality improvement. The successful execution of all policies is attributable to citizens' participation. To improve the air quality in Taipei City, the Taipei City Government's Department of Environmental Protection, Taipei City Government, has promoted the idea of “Creating Fresh Air Together” since 2010 and invited citizens to take public transport instead of cars or motorcycles. With this effort, more and more citizens in Taipei are selecting the mass transportation rather than individual methods of transport, and Taipei's environment has improved substantially as a result. This award reflects the efforts of the citizens of Taipei and their involvement in improving their environment. Taipei City has received this honor with recognition from people around the world.
Moreover, Taipei City was the only Asian nominee for the C40 “2014 City Climate Leadership Awards”. This glory not only represents the significant improvement of the Taipei's air quality, but also reflects the ambitious nature and long process of improving air quality in a metropolitan city like Taipei. The main cause of air pollution in metropolitan areas is traffic. To reduce mobile sources of air pollution, the Taipei City Government has invested plenty of resources in promoting a green transportation environment, such as constructing the world-leading, high-quality MRT system, promoting green-mark buses which are subject to stricter emission standards, and building the public “YouBike” bicycle renting system, the last mile for the green transportation system with the highest turnover rate in the world. Additionally, the Taipei City Government has invested ample resources in providing a transportation service characterized by humanism, hospitality, wisdom and kindness to the public in the hope that they will experience the most convenient and effective intercity transportation. The experiences of the Taipei City Government in taking measures to control, reduce and improve measurements of air pollution for more than 10 years and the recent anti-pollution measures such as the diesel mark and YouBike public bicycle renting system have enabled the effective reduction of emissions from mobile sources in the metropolitan area. According to the data of the Executive Yuan's Environmental Protection Administration, the number of stations/day with low air quality (PSI>100) has been reduced from 68 stations/day ten years ago to 6 stations/day in 2013, indicating an improvement rate of 91%. According to the DEP, Taipei City is known for comfort, safety and hospitality. Now, she stands out from her competitors with regard to air quality and shows that the environment of the city is keeping pace with those of other modern cities. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin also has invited many foreign guests to have their own “BMW” (YouBike or Bus, MRT and Walk) experience in Taipei. No matter whether by convenient transport or by foot, people can enjoy beautiful scenery and delicious cuisine and perceive the Taipei's livable and lovely environment.
Velo-City Global 2016 Taipei
What makes the air quality of Taipei superior to that of its global competitors is the longterm promotion of green transportation. To create a low-carbon and healthy environment in the city, the Taipei City Government expects the public to use energy-saving mass transportation rather than personal vehicles. With the promotion of environmental protection and leisure activities in recent years, the usage of bicycles is gradually growing. The visibility of Taipei City in the international community has increased thanks to the fruitful promotion of the public bicycle system and the creation of a friendly biking environment. As a result of striving for the right to organize the event, Taipei City has been elected as the host of the Velo-City Global by the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF). Taipei is the first city in Asia to organize this congress. Velo-City Global is the most important congress of the international bicycle industry and is held annually. The purpose of the congress is to encourage the planning and design, as well as the development and implementation, of strategies in the bicycle industry. Velo-City Global is the largest cycle congress in the world. It was first held in Germany in 1980 and then led by the ECF 72 years later. The congress has been held in many cities such as London, Barcelona, Paris, Dublin, Munich, Brussels and Copenhagen, and has not been held in any Asian city to date. The ECF is dedicated to promoting economic sustainability and environmental friendliness for cyclists. Since 2010, the congress has been held in European cities the odd-numbered years and in the cities outside the Europe the evennumbered years.
The 2014 Velo-City Global in Adelaide, Australia, was a success. Taipei will be the host city in 2016 following the 2015 Congress, which is to be held in Nante, France. The Congress will then be held in Asia for the first time and is expected to attract many guests from different countries to Taiwan. For Taipei, a city where riding cycles is encouraged enthusiastically, this is a great honor to citizens.
Healthier, better air quality and more smiles! In Taipei City, riding bicycles has become the norm. It is not only a travel tool but also the best lifestyle for discovering and implementing environmental protection. The Taipei City Government has taken many measures to promote cycling in recent years. In addition to setting up 195 YouBike stations in 2014, it has made efforts to create an environment suited to cycling and has sped up the construction of the bike lanes in the city and around the riverside. In coordination with major construction projects such as the renovation plan of the MRT Songshan Line and the Taipei Green Boulevard Design Project, the Taipei City Government has reallocated space on main road arteries and set up clearly-defined spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. A city bike lane network 100 km in length is expected to be set up between 2014 and 2016. The total length of the city bike lane will then reach up to 500 km and total bicycle parking capacity will be increased to 26,000 units. The scale of the YouBike public bicycle system will be expanded to 300 stations in 2016 as well. To create a friendly and safe cycling system, the Taipei City Government is also promoting a cycling-friendly culture in the hope of cultivating a harmonious relationship between cyclists and pedestrians and making cycling a common practice in the daily life of citizens. With these ideas in mind, Taipei will become a model city with regard to both the cycling environment and the use of bicycles.
A City Going Beyond the Boundaries
The “5th UCLG ASPAC Congress 2014, Taipei” was held in Taipei from September 3 to 6, 2014. The UCLG ASPAC was founded in Taipei in 2004 and this 5th congress was held here after a period of ten years. 2014 was also the 10th anniversary of the UCLG ASPAC and the 5th congress is thus very meaningful to the members. The 5th UCLG ASPAC Congress in Taipei has the theme of “Continuous Improvement of Cities: An Introduction of the Design to the Urban Governance”. The mayors of Taipei's sister cities, international friendly cities and partners, UCLG ASPAC members and the mayors of all cities in Taiwan were invited to participate in this great event, and the Taipei City Government took this opportunity to introduce municipal projects and administrative achievements to the international community. “YouBike” riding was arranged for the mayors and representatives o f these i n t e r national cities so that they could experience the green transport and uniqueness of Taipei City. They were invited to DinTaiFung Dumpling House in Taipei 101 Mall to make and taste steamed dumplings and watching Lucy, the film that a renowned international director, Luc Besson, shot in Taipei. The mayors of many important international cities were invited to participate in this distinguished gathering, including Teima Onorio, the Vice-President of the Republic of Kiribati; Stephen Yarwood, the Mayor of Adelaide, Australia; Suzuki Yasutomo, the Mayor of Hamamatsu, Japan; Mike Robbins, the Mayor of the City of Stirling, UK, and Brenda Halloran, the Mayor of Waterloo, Canada.
The opening ceremony of the 5th UCLG ASPAC Congress 2014, Taipei, was held on September 3, 2014, and Ma Ying-Jeou, the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Hau Lung-bin, the Mayor of Taipei City, Teima Onorio, the Vice President of the Republic of Kiribati, and Syed Muhammad Asghar Shah Gillani, the Chairman of the UCLG ASPAC, acted as the co-hosts of the ceremony. The Forum of Mayors was held after the opening ceremony. Dr. Joanna Lei, a former member of the Legislative Yuan, acted as the moderator of the forum and the opening speech was given by Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, who shared his experience of urban governance with the 12 mayors and representatives from cities in Taiwan and abroad. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin and the participants cosigned the “Taipei Declaration”, showing their determination to improve public service, promote urban development, improve the citizens' quality of life and reduce their respective cities' impact on the environment through concerted effort. The participants will also work together continuously to improve the welfare of their citizens and, with this determination, create a new milestone in the history of the forum. 4 international workshops were held during the 5th UCLG ASPAC Congress in Taipei. Chief executives and experts from the Asia-Pacific region were invited to discuss four urban governance directions: “The Development and Applications of Smart Cities”; “The Spirit of Taipei City – An Improving City”; “The Development Tendency of Green Transport”; and “How to Build a Material Cycle and Zero-Waste Society” – and share their experiences. The Taipei City Government held a special forum exhibition (Taipei City Design & Diplomacy) in Taipei Expo Park's EcoPark from September 3 to 8 during the 5th Congress It mainly exhibited the 16 core projects for “World Design Capital Taipei 2016” and inter-city diplomacy, environmental policy, investment environment, “2016 Velo-City Global” and the “2017 Taipei Summer Universiade”. The exhibition was open to citizens free of charge to promote their understanding of the administrative achievements in Taipei City.
Meetings of the directors and executive directors, as well as the general assembly, were held on September 5, 2014, during the 5th UCLG ASPAC Congress in Taipei. In addition to being reelected as Director and Executive Director for the period from 2014 to 2016, Taipei is a natural Co-President from 2014 to 2016, due to the organization of the 5th UCLG ASPAC Congress. This was very helpful in upgrading the status of Taipei City in UCLG ASPAC. After the 3-day Congress ended, a visit to the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, Beitou Branch of Taipei Public Library and the Beitou Refuse Incineration Plant was arranged so that the guests could experience the cultural and environmental scenes of Taipei. The 5th UCLG ASPAC Congress ended successfully on September 6th. The participants of the Congress came from 54 cities in Taiwan and other countries and 3 international organizations. A total of 1,800 guests participated in the Congress and related events, and 1,000 guests visited the special exhibition. The capability of the Taipei City Government to organize the congress was recognized and praised by the guests, and the Taipei City Government took this opportunity to promote Taipei as an improving city that constantly surpasses itself.