Heads towards Becoming the World Design Capital
Taipei—an Adaptive City, Design in Motion
What do you expect to see in Taipei in the year 2016? A city with the convenience of intelligence? A city of sensation and innovation? A city of Soft Power? Or a city that combines all of these elements, making it a wonderful city of great livability? Seizing the opportunities to successfully host the first IDA Congress and Taipei World Design Expo, the Taipei City Government (TCG) officially announced in 2012 its plan to join the bidding for 2016 World Design Capital. This would not only allow the international design community to see the great works of design and creativity produced in Taipei but also would promote the innovation of the city by enthusiastically infusing the concept of “design” into the City as designers and the general public would be invited to participate and develop their creativity in the spirit of caring. With the theme of Adaptive City, Design in Motion, the whole project will take place in Taipei City. An urban evolution driven by the city’s inhabitants will be undertaken. Hence, we can all come together to make Taipei a more livable and more wonderful city to live in.
World Design Capital: An innovative city and a model for others
World Design Capital (WDC) is a global project launched by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (icsid). The WDC designation is a biennial city promotion project to recognize a city with great accomplishments in the field of design and awards it with the title “World Design Capital.” Cities that have previously been awarded this title include Italy’s Torino in 2008, Korea’s Seoul in 2010, Finland’s Helsinki in 2012 and South Africa’s Cape Town in 2014.
The Icsid juries have selected these cities not only for the assertiveness they have demonstrated in creating suitable conditions for the development of the design industry: these cities also have the ability to apply design thinking in order to fulfill their urban visions. Each World Design Capital has a pioneering design vision, and the processes and outcomes of their transformations have gained our utmost respect.
Cross-disciplines integration platform：Launching a press conference as the first step
Since February 2012, the TCG has been aggressively pushing forward urban regeneration through the concept of design. Groups from various departments were invited to collaborate in this project. Through a cross-disciplines integration platform, they have examined and analyzed the functions of the city in the past, present and the future in order to find the penetration point to the critical mission of solving urban development issues. Nine critical operating areas: the economy, city development, basic infrastructure, the environment and sustainability, public safety, city image, cultural creativity, healthcare and citizen outreach, and human resources were formed by inviting one hundred professionals and experts from relevant fields.
Nearly 400 seminars and meetings were held and 64 case studies from 13 Countries used as reference. Five main themes were agreed upon, including Life Quality and Health, Ecological Sustainability, Smart Living and Urban Regeneration and Life Industry. Development issues and action projects for each field are introduced below to map out a comprehensive design blue print.
On June 29, 2012, World Industrial Design Day as designated by icsid, the TCG held the event “Let’s design together,” the second design driven city in the world (after New York City) to celebrate the Day. In addition, on the same day, a press conference to publicize the TCG’s launch of its application project to bid to become the 2016 World Design Capital Expo was held. Experts and professionals from relevant industries and organizations, along with academics were invited to support the City in its efforts to compete for the WDC designation. Many well-known Taiwanese designers gathered for the occasion to share their insights on the nature and importance of design and to show their support for Taipei and its aspirations.
A live show of Designer’s Wall was presented, showcasing 30 award-winning design works, demonstrating Taipei’s abundant design energy. The climax of the event was the inauguration ceremony. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin , Taipei Cultural Affairs Commissioner Liou Wei-gong, representatives from domestic design associations such as Wang Yu-ling, director of the Chinese Society of Interior Designs, Mr. Kuo Jieh-cheng, the Director of the Chinese Industrial Designer Association, Mr. Yang Chia-chang, the director of the Taiwan Graphic Design Association, Mr. Ying li, the director of the Designers Association of Taiwan, Mr. Wang Hung-hsiang, associate professor of the Department of Industrial Design of Taipei University of Technology and others joined hands and waved their fists to demonstrate their collective determination in moving towards the 2016 WDC.
First in Taiwan—Design Thinking Course for Public Servants
To develop its policy for WDC Taipei 2016, the TCG is embedding innovative DNA into the logic of urban administration. In order to vitalize the administrative thinking of civil servants of the TCG and help them learn to think from the perspective of users, i.e. citizens, the TCG became the first in Taiwan to hold a series of courses on the concept of design. It also held the Taipei Creative Hub Workshop at the end of November and mid-October in 2012. Participating TCG’s department heads, civil servants and citizens who take an interest in urban evolution and transformation were able to engage in brainstorming and interactive discussion to learn how to integrate design into future municipal undertakings and service planning. These courses and workshops were planned by top designers who have hands-on experience in the field. In these activities they led the participants to brainstorm, innovate, discuss by groups, field investigate, work together and create things manually. To think from another perspective allows them to understand how they can combine the design concept with administration processes. Thus, it helps the city to evolve in all aspects.
The TCG Design Concept Series Course started on September 25 and continued for three days for a total of 18 hours. The courses were honored to have famous designers from all industries to instruct a total of 70 participants including department heads and colleagues. In the workshop four themes were featured. Attendees joined together to brainstorm and study international cases and simulation cases of urban issues based on integrated thinking and communication across different departments. These activities served to bring out policies of maximum benefit to the City. Feedback from the attendees indicated that this was an interesting learning experience and more. It was a good start for conversation across the departments of the TCG. The Taipei Circulation Urban Design Workshop was held on October 11 with Kung Shu-chang from the Graduate Institute of Architecture, NCTU, serving as the chief commissioner.
Lecturers from different fields and professions were invited to share their experiences with 35 participants in the workshop. From perspectives of the public service system and public welfare, they gathered together to explore possibilities of the development in Taipei. In the two-day workshop, they came up with five concrete plans of action to improve the signage system of the Taipei Main Station. On October 16, the Public Design Workshop was launched. Headed by the Gixia Group, the event featured the theme of creating “A Wonderful Day of Civil Life Experience.” 30 civil-service officials from 12 units of the TCG were encouraged to retrospect “public” issues. With regard to the public facilities and service system of the city hall building, they came up with seven enhancement solutions.
In addition to the fruitful course outcomes, were the enthusiastic responses of the attendees. The TCG plans to include this as part of on-the-job training for future employees and will continue to work with the Department of Civil Servants Development to provide Urban Design courses for civil servants to learn and earn credits. Gradually, design can become a common language and a common ground for the public sector.
International Exchange makes Taipei Shine; WDC Taipei 2016 creates a voice for itself in the world
In order to enhance the visibility of Taipei’s abundant and wonderful design achievements in the international community, the TCG has undertaken several international exchange projects through a variety of approaches such as exhibition, publication, cooperation with the media and international forums. They provide recognition of and support for the design achievements in Taipei from the international community. They also strengthen TCG’s bid for the WDC Taipei 2016. The first project was 24h+ Taipei, a themed exhibition. A collection of 60 design works were showcased in a chronically linked manner to show 24 hours in the life of Taipei City. Through design and exhibition, the public interacted and communicated with each other by means of the unique designs of Taipei. The 24h+ Taipei Exhibition was also featured abroad in internationally important design events, including the Helsinki Design Week from September 13 to 16 in Finland, and the Dutch Design Week from October 20 to 28 in the Netherlands.
These two international exhibitions attracted about 660 thousand local residents to the booth from Taiwan with more than a thousand messages left by the visitors, indicating their support for our bid for World Design Capital. At the same time, the TCG is dedicated to expanding urban diplomatic relationships through design. During the exhibition, the TCG held Design dinner parties referred to as Taipei’s Night in the Netherlands and Finland. Mayor Hau Lung-bin personally interacted with the heads of the local governments and important figures in the international design industry to gain support from all sectors and help Taipei’s bid for the WDC 2016. Key achievements included the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for Friendship Cities, signifying the intentions of the two cities to engage in exchange in areas of municipal administration, cultural innovation and juvenile education.
Taipei not only made another friend in Europe but also obtained substantial and influential support from the international society for its WDC 2016 bid. The TCG published Design Taipei in September 2012 to promote Taiwan’s vibrant power of design around the globe. Keywords in Taipei Design, the main theme of the first publication, condensed the design and development power of this City into twelve keywords. The first letter of these twelve keywords was used to form the two words of the title, DESIGN TAIPEI. The first publication had a printing of 10 thousand issues.
In addition to being distributed at international exhibitions, TCG also cooperated with China Airlines in having copies of the publication placed on planes for international travelers. These efforts aimed to make Taipei’s design strength visible to the world. At the end of 2012, the TCG worked even harder by cooperating with Wallpaper*, one of the most influential design and life magazines in the world, to publish Taipei Revealed, a 24-page booklet. It introduces important figures from the various design sectors in Taiwan and the urban oasis unique in Asia. Moreover, it also contains coverage of 20 design brands, 21 designers and more than 30 works of Taipei home decoration and tea-making. Innovative design, daring and deft thinking as well as traditional cultural elements were all on display. In addition to international exchange, the TCG also actively hosted international forums to provide citizens more chances to communicate with major international design masters. The Taipei World Design Conference was a two-day event.
Starting on October 4, 20 designers from 12 countries, scholars and business owners were invited to participate in this forum with its theme of Design for Values. Practical strategies of applying design concepts to industries and life were discussed. Participants brainstormed on the possibility of utilizing design concepts to create new values in industry and urban environment including brand name, design, service and innovation. The forum successfully attracted 2,400 people who work in the design sector.
Link the City with design in all forms
The WDC Taipei 2016 policy aims to inspire urban evolution by design. This is not only a top-down policy to be implemented by government agencies but also a city-wide campaign that designers and the public are encouraged to take part in. By forming a unified consensus, everyone can join together to transform and recreate Taipei and make it a city of greater livability. Under this principle, the TCG plans to further advocate the idea of WDC Taipei 2016 to the public—the administration and management of a modern city takes visionary design. As part of this effort, the TCG held the first Taipei Design & City Exhibition from October 5 to 28, 2012. Through diverse exhibitions global trends of development and local plans of action were introduced.
With the theme of Expectation Taipei, two conceptual exhibitions, Social Design and Design Taipei were held in the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park. The exhibitions were intended to inspire citizens to think about the nature of design and discuss how to transform Taipei from all aspects. Plaza, an interactive space, served as a venue for local residents to create a blueprint for a livable Taipei in 2016. The 24-day exhibition attracted a total of 95,689 visitors. Among those 742 visits were made by 46 professional groups from Taiwan and abroad. Of these groups, 9 were important foreign guests, 13 were from schools, and 12 were from the business sector and government agencies. Among them, Mr. Charles Landry, a strategic consultant for an internationally-famed creative city, made a special visit and praised the Social Design exhibition and provided great insight into city development and global trends in the field of design. He also encouraged the city to borrow from the momentum of traditional culture in creating viable design concepts. The WDC Message Wall was full of the post-its, a total of 5,808 message left by members of the public. Teachers and students from 34 schools joined in.
In addition to the exhibition at the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, 4 urban locations, including Nanhai/ Guling Street, Zhongshan Shuanglian, Eastern Taipei and Tianmu were chosen to serve as satellite hubs to connect 160 local shops to host more than 40 events, such as seminars on creativity, tour guides, production of creative works, shows and exhibitions with themes such as community creativity and local features. The East Taipei Carnival on October 5, The Way We Were Street Concerts in Tianmu on October 14, Zhongshan Concert on October 20, and Show Market on the Guling Street on October 27 were just four of the citywide events. Four maps with walking tours and one picture book of city blocks were created and distributed as guides for individuals to walk into side streets and along streets to find where the vitality of the city originates. This was also another thread to explore the history of urban development in Taipei. To further encourage the public to discover, understand and utilize their design imagination in every possible aspect of their lives, the TCG activated two channel events, physical and online, in December. One was the on-site event—My City, My Voice, which was a tour wishing station. Starting on December 9th, the first stop was at the plaza in front of the Taipei City Zoo.
There more than 500 citizens and friends from Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Spain and America enthusiastically took part in the event. Using their creativity and imagination, they drew their expectations of WDC Taipei 2016 on wish stones with five colors. Each color stood for an issue to be addressed: Green for livable city, red for urban decay, blue for aging population, orange for innovative thinking and silver for industry transformation. All the wish stones were collected and piled on a giant I ♥ TAIPEI totem pole, symbolizing their collective imagination for WDC Taipei 2016.
A themed area was installed at the wishing stations to showcase the selection of design projects from around the country and abroad so as to inspire citizens to discover their muse for innovative design in their daily lives and to experience a wonderful moment with great designs. The other channel was through the virtual world by launching an interactive online game called Keep Running, Taipei Design on Facebook. This game was centered on a main character—a little green man, commonly known to the public as the icon appearing as a “walk” sign when traffic lights turn green. To play, friends gathered online to click as often as possible in 15 seconds to help the little green man run as far as possible. Through this clicking participation, the evolution of the WDC Taipei 2016 moved closer to the goal of a livable city. In the 23-day event, nearly 10 thousand (9,797) plays were calculated with a total of 3954 people participating in the game.
In addition to events held by other city governments, the TCG also worked with may important design exhibitors in Taiwan in order to bolster the development of the design sector and to provide citizens with a good opportunity to know more about design and use its concepts in their daily lives. For instance, the TCG was an exhibitor at the first Taiwan Designer’s Week 2012, a design exhibition of the largest scale held by Taiwan’s private sector. The TCG installed an exclusive booth, where those interested in design could talk personally with designers engaged in the plan to make Taipei a city of design. The exhibition last 10 days from September 14 to 23 with a total of 58,641 visitors in attendance. Moreover, the TCG also set up an exclusive exhibition area named WDC Taipei 2016 for the first Taipei Original Festival @ Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in November. With this installation, the TCG was able to advertise to the public about the government’s plan to bid for WDC designation and exhibit the abundant creativity of the City in terms of art, literature, talents and performance. The exhibition lasted 17 days and attracted a total of 137 thousand visitors. Among them, several hundreds of visitors left their message showing their support and expectation for the WDC Taipei 2016.
Responses from all sectors take 2013 to a new height
Are you looking forward to seeing Taipei City in 2016? “Design can change a city” and the application for the bid to become 2016 World Design Capital is a great opportunity for the City to export its design power. It is also a movement for urban evolution by the TCG to push forward the concept of design and to improve administrative efficiency. Preparation for the bid is in full swing. To mobilize people from the private sector and invite more businesses to play an active role, the Government will devise diverse and abundant plans of action in 2013 to promote Design Taipei from top to bottom. Whether you are a designer, student, or office worker, have a studio, a company or you come from a social group or an NGO, as long as you care about Taipei, please join us by all possible means to participate, brainstorm, cooperate, take action or provide support so that we can create a living in Taipei of great quality. Let’s work together for the great transformation of Taipei City in 2016!