Challenges and Responses
As the capital city and one of the most important metropolitan centers in the world, Taipei must embrace its role in the global community to help the country align itself with all global visions. The most daunting challenge we face today is the signing of ECFA. Apart from providing a friendly, safe,convenient and barrier-free environment governed by law, the city is superior in its technological competitiveness with the installation of the Neihu Technology Park and Nankang Software Park. These make Taipei a premium choice to foreign investors for setting up headquarters; Taipei is a gateway to the expansive chinese market, and a window for Chinese enterprises to go global.
In addition, the Taipei Songshan Airport is actively engaging its counterparts, the Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, Tokyo Haneda Airport, Seoul-Gimpo Airport, and Hong Kong Airport to commence direct flights. This allows Taipei, located in the center of the East Asian network, to become an excellent, direct portal for the Asia Pacific Economy by leveraging its provisions of a mature business environment and crossstrait economic and trading background. Other incentive packages can also be applied to reduce the impact of the ECFA on traditional industries and disadvantaged workers. A review mechanism for commodities made in mainland China would also be constructed in order to take care of the rights and benefits of local citizens.
While we embrace globalization, the green movement is also exerting its growing influences across the world. In acknowledgement of this, the Taipei City Government spares no efforts in energy conservation and environmental protection. In terms of resource recycling, it is estimated that by the end of 2040, zero landfill can be fulfilled as stipulated in the Climate Protection Agreement. In the past three years, actions to reset indoor air-conditioning temperatures above 26 degrees centigrade helped the city addition, such air-con temperature reset and energy saving practices can be extended to the commercial and industrial sectors and help us to realize the vision of Taipei as a low-carbon city.
The most pressing challenge to be addressed at the moment is Taipei's urban landscaping, so as to make it a leading city in the world. For instance, in terms of riverside reinvigoration, we are not yet satisfied with the landmark that the water quality of the Danshui River is the best it has been in thirty years; more efforts will be taken in the future to continuously improve the water quality and promote water-friendly activities. Riverside urban development and cross river bank facilities are under construction at a quick pace. After the central government lifted a key regulation, the city government made a breakthrough in Shezidao redevelopment; its readiness serves as a great leap to fulfill the goal of riverside revival in Taipei. The second challenge to be met is the huge change in the engineering culture with the implementation of the Smooth Road Project, which has been designed to enhance the maintenance quality of roads. Zhungxiao East Road, one of the most heavily traveled roads in the prosperous downtown area, has not been milled for two decade. However, the new project has revamped the road and upgraded its quality by leaps and bounds.
Having been in use for thirty years, the Xingsheng Highway was rebuilt to achieve a facelift and provide a safer and more comfortable environment for travelers. Moreover, the area of the resurfaced arcade, after three years of work, now exceeds 110 thousand meters in space. Taipei is getting closer to fulfill its vision as a barrier-free, commuter-friendly space. We are resolved to carry out the Smooth Road Project, making it a new reference index, synonymous to “service quality,” representative of the city’s public works department.
In the Taipei Beautiful Series Project, several world-class landmark construction projects are about to get underway, including those for the Taipei Art Center and Popular Music Center. More efforts from both the public and private sectors are to be polled to create more space and push forward urban renewal by the dismantling of old and unused buildings. In so doing, more green fields will be created in Taipei where any small piece of land costs a fortune. Thus, citizens can enjoy the greenery that serves to transform Taipei from a cement urban jungle to a city with innovative and quality living spaces.
2010 is also expected to be a fruitful year as Taipei is poised to go global. In a follow-up to the 21st Summer Deaflympics Taipei 2009, which enhanced the global visibility of Taipei, we are invited to participate in the Expo 2010 Shanghai in Mainland China. With our participation, Taipei can take this great opportunity to demonstrate to the world our achievements in resource recycling and in the construction of wireless broadband infrastructure covering the expanse of the city. Apart from this, Taipei is going to organize the 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition, one of the biggest international events in Taiwan's history. The event is estimated to attract more than 8 million visitors to Taipei. True to form, Taipei is about to transform itself into a beautiful and accommodating city and we are more than proud to display our beauty to the world.
In tackling the challenges of the future, the city government will take full responsibility to work with our citizens. We expect to effectively and continuously implement several landmark projects, such as the 1999 Citizen Hotline, the Smooth Road Project, the Revitalization of the Danshui River, the Taipei Beautiful Series Project and others, which enable us to expedite the city’s economy and trading activities, and to upgrade our industrial edge. Finally, all this will help create a better living environment for Taipei citizens. So let us bid goodbye to the mishaps of the past, and embrace the opportunity to create a brighter future.
Lung-bin Hau, Ph.D.