Pleasant engagement of people with their surroundings is a prerequisite of an attractive city.Whether it is the elegant quality of London, the romantic atmosphere of Paris, or the sense of fashion of Tokyo, every distinctive city has its own special attributes that attract people and businesses from all over the world.
Taipei is a city some hundred years old, and a century is a long time, in human terms. When compared to other cities, however, Taipei is seen to be young and dynamic, with inexhaustible energy and boundless potential.
Taipei’s past is a chronicle of outstanding achievements. They are a distinctive record of the hard work of generations of municipal authorities and citizens, who are rightly proud of their splendid history.Today, Taipei lays claim to the world’s tallest building, Taipei 101, and the world’s largest comprehensive wireless network. The city is known too for elite talent in the social sciences and high technology. And last, but not least, Taipei is home to a dazzling array of cultures and the place that has best preserved the traditional art of Chinese culture.
Now, in this new era of global competition, Taipei must build on its unique qualities and fully utilize all its resources to assure its future. To that end, I have proposed ten practical strategies for improving this city. They include new approaches to security, education, traffic, culture, environmental protection, urban development, government effectiveness, and internationalization.
Some of these strategies have already been implemented, to great effect. For example, in a project to revitalize the Tamsui River, we formed a committee to ensure that besides simply dredging the waterway, the city also considered issues like beautifying the environment, improving water quality, arranging riverfront views, and renovating the surrounding city. Moreover, revitalizing the river is only the beginning of a broader effort to highlight local geography and culture and renovate the entire west side of Taipei. Ultimately, the city will transform not only its appearance, but also its character, embracing environmental protection and healthy governance.
Furthermore, because the health of a city depends on the health and well-being of its residents,health policies are critical to making Taipei more livable. Today, the city’s attention is focused on the services needed by the increasing number of seniors, recent immigrants, and members of disadvantaged cultures, and on issues such as environmental protection, public health, and security. More specifically,we need a long-term community service network; low-chassis buses, to make our bus system barrier-free;policies to assist indigenous people and new immigrants, and to preserve Hakka culture; and new databases of criminal records and coordinated public monitoring systems, to make our city safer.
I have been the mayor of Taipei for half a year now, and I am well aware that when it comes to improving this city, there are potentially thousands of tasks we might undertake. The demands of developing Taipei may seem at times overwhelming, but I trust that thanks to the combined efforts of the city government and all the city’s residents, our prospects are bright indeed.
Lung-bin Hau, Ph. D.