Ecological EnvironmentTamsui River waterfront redevelopment projectsTaipei City possesses rich river resources, meaning we have great potential in developing an amazing waterfront. However, in its early days, when the city urbanized rapidly, embankments were built along the rivers, which prevented the waterfront from becoming an integral part of Taipei city life. To rectify the situation, the city has initiated projects to redefine, reconnect and reinvent the relationships between city life and the waterfront.The Tamsui River waterfront redevelopment projects aim to implement Taipei’s waterfront urban design guideline and to build a ‘sky garden’ overpass to attract citizens to the waterfront. The waterfront redevelopment projects will establish a new relationship between the waterfront and the city. The total length of this proposed overpass is 4 km and construction cost is estimated at $21.2 million USD.Taipei Hiking Trail SystemHills and mountainous areas constitute over half of Taipei City’s total land area. In order to provide a user-friendlier environment for hikers and mountain climbers, the Department of Urban Development in 2004 initiated a project to overhaul the hiking trail signage system, and to integrate the public transportation system and hiking trails that form a comprehensive “Taipei Hiking Trail System.” In providing a readily accessible environment through integrating the hiking trails and classifying the trail grades, urban residents now find nature a lot more accessible. In 2006 and 2007, the City Government consolidated the basic infrastructure and continued to issue publications to promote and encourage the general public’s participation in mountain climbing and hiking as a leisure activity.Hot SpringUnique volcanic geological topography and activities have given rise to the many hot springs in suburban Taipei, which in turn has led to the development of clusters of the hot spring industry in the region. In 2007, the Taipei City Government continued the project of “Changing Xingyi Road Conservation District into Hot Spring Industry Special Use District”, hoping that the land-use of the Taipei could be properly adjusted from the viewpoint of the supply of hot spring resource, and the continuous utilization to promote the sustainable development of these unique, precious resources.Tea Culture Conservation
The Maokong area, with its great variety of teas, tea gardens and sightseeing spots, has long since been a popular tourist destination for Taipei’s residents to engage in hiking, tea drinking, and to enjoy Taipei’s nighttime scenery. In order to solve the traffic congestion, Maokong Gondolas System was established and began operation on July 4, 2007. The operation of gondolas has improved the quality of tourism in Maokong Area and brought prosperity to the region. Moreover, the lad use plan of Maokong area was proposed by the Taipei City Government and approved by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This is the first case in Taiwan that permits the substitution of development to traditional urban planning control. To conserve environmental resources, nurture tea culture and provide high-quality leisure venues, the area is rezoned to promote sustained development of leisure activities and tea-drinking culture, modeling Maokong into a recreational hub for Taipei’s tea-drinking citizenry.The “Green Net”The “Green Network” project was designated by the Taipei City Government to create a green urban environment and a more harmonious city landscape by connecting its sidewalks, open spaces, green areas and public spaces such as institutions and schools. Through the systematic integration of a green network consisting of nodes, lines and areas, the Government aims to create a verdant and lush urban landscape. After the completion of the greening improvement master plan for Civic Boulevard, the strategic area improvement design has been carried out. In 2008, major construction of improvement included sidewalk of Taipei Municipal Longan Elementary School, and Taipei Municipal Zhongshan Girls’ Senior High School, and the area surrounds Taipei Municipal First Funeral Home.Green BuildingWith the practice of “Rules of Architecture Technology—Regulations on the Green Building”, application of constructing new buildings in Taipei City has to follow the regulations to be examined and approved before it could be built. Starting from July 1st, 2003, any public building with a construction budget of NT$50,000,000 and above needs to submit a “certificate of a green building candidate” when applying for the license of construction. The most representative cases of green buildings in 2007 include Shipai Branch Library and Beitou Branch Library of the City Library.Living EnvironmentUrban RenewalIn 2007, the Department of Urban Development continued to promote urban renewal of certain areas, such as the public land of Huaguang Community in the east of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and the area near Guaisui Street of Datung District. Moreover, concerning the re-construction of the area on the right bank of Tamsui River, the renovation of the areas around the MRT stations, the revival of business in the old region of Wanhua District, and the reuse of greater areas of public land, the Department came up with concrete projects of urban renewal and revised land use plan in specific area. The Department also proposed to continue promoting urban renewal and developing strategies to attract businesses investment that will speed up the processes of renewal.Revitalizing Business DevelopmentIn order to raise the competitiveness of business circles and attract shoppers and at the same time combine traditional businesses with the renovation of business circles, in 2007, the Taipei City Government sponsored a series of revitalizing plans in the business circles of the old districts to change the shopping environment and create local features. Through assisting the commercial areas, revitalizing community industry, and maintaining and transforming urban space, the City Government intend to combine culture, business, and community efforts to revitalize local economy and to sustain the cultural heritage.Encouraging the Private Sector in Advancing RenewalWith the change of times and the community development, some old buildings that are either low or small and a majority of apartment buildings of four or five stories are no longer suitable for the development of the city or fulfill the demand of living quality by the citizens. Some unlivable buildings, such as those that had been damaged in disasters, those built with a high level of chlorine (the so-called “houses of sea sand”), and those built with radiated steels, are listed as the top targets for demolition in the Plan of Urban Renewal by the Taipei City Government. In order to encourage owners to demolish these buildings and rebuild on their own, the city government continued to review and simplify related regulations on urban renewal of Taipei City and, at the same time, compensate the cost on preparation, operation, construction and maintenance of private property with the Fund of Urban Renewal. These are to effectively promote the projects of reconstruction and renewal and to revamp Taipei into a livable city.“Face off” the City: A Colorful Make-up MovementThe City Government encourages private urban renewal projects and improvement by publicly awarding construction of buildings that coordinate with existing environments and innovative ideas. These buildings are introduced in publication for propaganda in order to raise the consciousness of the citizens about the exteriors of buildings and the quality of environment so that they can be inspired to improve their own environment through renovation or regular maintenance. In 2007, there were 42 applications for the “Face-Off Award of Taipei City”. After careful evaluation, “Manlemen”, an old brick building on Zhongshan North Road, was selected as the most representative case of renovation and given the “Award of Best Renovation/Maintenance for Private Buildings”. “Healing Garden” was given the “First Prize for Private Open Space” for its courtyard that brings relief through the combination of landscape, sounds, fragrant smells, and concrete installment. The Museum of Drinking Water was given the “Award of Best Renovation/Maintenance for Public Buildings” for its classic exterior that revealed a historical facet after careful renovation for ancient relics. The “Golden Award for Public Open Space” was given to both Museum of Contemporary Art of Taipei and “The Plum Garden” in No. 1 Park of Beitou for their innovative designs that coordinated with the old buildings. “Taipei Golden Chain Amusement Center” was awarded in the category of “Best Plan and Design” as it showed the urban ecology with the combination of water landscape and gardens.Outdoor CafesIn order to create different views of the sidewalks in Taipei, provide better living environment with business consideration, and offer the citizens a rich and multiple living experience as well as carefree urban surroundings, the Department of Urban Development of Taipei City Government started an experimental project of setting up outdoor cafes on the sidewalks of some boulevards in the city since September 2001. Its goal is to form a new type of urban leisure activity.This project has been put into practices in different phases since 2001 and it now covers all major streets of the city. Presently (from January 26, 2008, to December), 17 applications of setting up outdoor cafes has been passed.Pedestrian Walkway NetworkThe “Xinyi Commercial Center’s Pedestrian Walkway” was designed to connect the major commercial clusters within the center by creating a pedestrian walkway network. It links the Taipei City Hall Station of the MRT’s Bannan Line in the north with the main commercial and shopping nexuses, and extending southward to Taipei 101 and future station of the MRT’s Xinyi Line to ensure a safe and convenient shopping pathway for pedestrians. This innovative pedestrian walkway network is characterized by an elegant new type of skywalk free of the unattractive appearance often associated with conventional skywalk designs. Rather, conventional designs were supplanted in this case by lightweight, simple yet elegant footbridges, which integrate LED bulletin boards and traffic signals. The skywalks combine transparency and functionality with aesthetic appeal. The skywalk system has evidently reduced the congestion and clutter of pedestrians and motorized vehicles, while streamlining the flow of visitors to the trade shows on weekends and holidays. The skywalks are a welcome boon to the convenient and friendly ambience of Xinyi Commercial Center.Street FurnitureThe “Taipei City Street Furniture Design, Operation and Management Plan” was devised to create a high quality urban streetscape. Through private investment, management and maintenance, contractors have been commissioned to design, install, maintain, clean and manage street furnishings. The first stage of this project has installed street furniture on major streets of Taipei, including Zhongxiao East and West Roads, Renai Road, Heping East and West Roads, Chongqing North and South Roads, Zhongshan North and South Roads, Fuxing North and South Roads, Dunhua North and South Roads, Roosevelt Boulevard, Keelung Road, Chengde Road, Daye Road, and Xinglong Road. It not only offers citizens a more comfortable, safer, and more convenient urban environment, but also brings in a new visual effect to the landscape of the city.
Integration of Nature, Heritage and Art Trails ProjectTaipei boasts a rich natural, historical and artistic heritage concentrated at various clusters within the urban landscape much like brilliant pearls, each with its own enchanting stories. The “Capital City – Integration of Nature, Heritage and Art Trails Project” aims to connect these numerous isolated heritage clusters to form a precious string of “pearls”. In order to shape the spatial framework of these three trails, the City Government has improved the pedestrian environment along Zhongshan North Road and Jiuquan Street as the Stage 1 Project. In 2007, the sidewalk on the north of Jiuquan Street and the space at the southeast side of Zhongshan Football Stadium were greatly improved. The pedestrian environment in the north of Jiuquan Street (from the east of the MRT Yuanshan Station to Section Three of Zhongshan North Road) was improved with a new view of the Yuanshan Station. The area at the southeast side of Zhongshan Football Stadium (the area around the intersection of Minzu West Road and Zhongshan North Road) was improved by the installment of wood platforms and water paths, the renovation of illumination and pavement, the planting of trees and flowers, and the designated recreational space with special features. This renewed area stays lively now as it attracts a lot of citizens to linger and hold leisure activities.Smooth Pedestrian Space—Leveling the ArcadeThe total length of the arcade in Taipei City is about 170,000 meters, and about 110,000 meters require to be improved. To solve the problem of uneven levels of the arcade, Taipei City government started the project of “Leveling the Arcade” in 2002 which focused on certain spots of Taipei, such as stations and scenic areas, business districts, and hospitals, to improve the unevenness of the arcade.
The length of the arcade being improved between 2002 and 2006 is 24,000 meters. In 2007, 39,000 meters were improved. The total length of improvement thus reached 63,000 meters. The rest of the 47,000 meters will be gradually improved. It is estimated that the entire project will be completed by the end of 2010.Urban NightscapeTaipei’s Urban Nightscape is oriented around three general sites: the Xinyi Commercial Center and Neihu Technology Park, and the banks of Tamsui River and Keelung River as well as Taipei City’s major streets and key blocks. In 2007, in order to improve the overall nighttime illumination along the right bank of Tamsui River, a proposal that focuses on the improved illumination of the tiers and the water gates was put into practice. Aspects such as humanity, art, energy-saving, and ecology were considered and integrated in the plan that aimed at constructing an excellent urban environment.Community PlanningThe Department of Urban Development of the Taipei City Government began to promote the project of “Community Environment Transformation Plan” since 1996. In 2003, the Department implemented the “Urban Space Transformation Plan”. In 2007 in view of the dynamic communities of Taipei City, the Department has proposed the “Demonstration of Friendly Community Plan” which has raised the consciousness of the citizens on the issue of effectively preventing crimes and establishing a friendly and safe city. The Department also coordinates public and private efforts to promote activities and awareness of community autonomy to create friendly communities.In 2007, the department sponsored the “Planning of Waterfront Communities along the Banks of Tamsui River”, hoping that some issues about water activities and innovations could be inspired and new paths of living could be proposed to raise the living quality of the area. The project was to ensure the cooperation and interaction of the communities along both banks of the river and meant to be the beginning of the renovation of the areas around Tamsui River.Neighborhood Improvement – The Creation of a New Urban CommunityNeighborhood Improvement is a project that aimed at enlisting the help of Taipei’s residents to propose their own improvement plan for their community’s public space. The Taipei City Government subsidizes any plan that gains approval to aid in its implementation. In the planning process, planners help generate ideal images of public space by drawing upon the input and vision of residents and engaging them in a continuous process of discussion and communication. Community Planners try to achieve their objectives not only by enhancing the quality of the urban living environment but also by designing a community that is responsive to the needs of local residents. In this way the process entices public participation and reinforces community awareness. In 2007, seven neighborhood improvement projects were undertaken, including “Creating Energy for life in the City Jungle—DIY Greenery for Community (Linko Community)”, “A New Phase of Yushan Community—Collecting Sunshine, Water, Soil, and Local Wisdom in Urban Space”, the “Plan and Construction for Reforming the Space at the Corner of Bangka Boulevard of Heping Community in Wanhua District of Taipei City”, the “Plan and Design of the Water Living Corridor of Taihe Community in Xinyi District of Taipei City”, “Twin Stars of Lohas--Construction of the View of Both Jieshou and Dongrong Neighborhoods”, “Construction of the view of Zhongyang Community in Beitou District of Taipei City—Beautifying the Community Environment and Planning the Swallow Hiking Trails”, “and “Construction of the View of Dongrong Neighborhood Community in Songshan District of Taipei City.Community Planners“Community planners” are individuals with a background in urban planning and architecture, who are willing to serve the community. They serve as liaisons between the government and city residents, and their major responsibilities are largely devoted to improving “public space”. The Taipei City Government started the selecting process for community planners in 2001 to assist residents to develop their communities. In 2007, the Taipei City Government selected 57 teams of community planners to volunteer for the project. The City Government wanted to recruit enthusiastic and creative young men willing to devote their time to benefit the community. The project provided young community planners with systematic training, and a practice course was designed to elaborate their communication, coordination, and integration skills. The training program and the experience gained from the project provided the planners the opportunity to involve themselves in community affairs, contribute to community actions and sustainable development of the city. The City Government started the annual training program for young community planners in 2000, and about 700 planners have participated in this training program so far. In 2007 alone, 93 young community planners participated in the training program to bring new blood to the young community planners. In order to encourage community residents to participate in community planning, the Taipei City Government sponsored the course of “Urban planning and community participation” with the cooperation of twelve community universities every year. The joint undertaking of community universities and the community planning service center are encouraged to open courses concerned with environmental issues.Producing EnvironmentTaipei Technology CorridorTaipei City government plans to forge a “Taipei Technology Corridor” which extends from the Nangang Software Park and Nangang High-speed Railway New Region through Neihu Technology Park to Beitou-Shilin Science and Technology Park to attract businesses such as information, biology, and communication technology to establish research and development and regional business centers in Taipei. To offer sufficient space for the development of science and technology industry, Taipei City government plans to review the urban plans concerning the industrial districts along the Keelung River after it’s relignment to allow for more space and the industrial and business regions of the fifth replotted area in Neihu to ensure the continuing development of Neihu Technology Park.Nangang Software ParkTo strengthen the mass effect of Nangang Software Park, the city government is currently promoting the third stage development of the land. The future production value is estimated at US$1.86 billion per year. Moreover, in related to the plan of “Four Gold Bricks” of the Executive Yuan, the city government set up the development plan between Nankang and Xizhi along the High-speed Railway to make Nankang the Intelligence Center of Taiwan. As for the urban plan of Beitou-Shilin Technology Park, the city counsel has passed the budget for its development. Related departments and bureaus have started zone expropriation for its development.Taipei Technology Corridor will make Taipei the Asian headquarter of business operation, research and development, brain cultivation and management in global high tech industry. Presently the production value of the corridor has been increasing rapidly. In 2006, the total business income of Nangang Software Park and Neihu Technology Park was NT$2,438.1 billion. To promote general regional economic development, the city government plans to cooperate with the Taipei County Government to integrate the industrial areas of the county and extend the corridor from Neihu and Nankang to Xizhi and Wugu.Neihu Technology ParkTaipei’s Neihu Technology Park is Taiwan’s first metropolitan hi-tech park. The park primarily houses the highly value-added ICT industry. Annual revenues of 58.25 billion USD in 2006 were generated by the park’s 2,989 firms and 90,000 employees during 2006. A sophisticated and comprehensive network infrastructure has also attracted many world-class companies: 3 major fixed line providers, emerging ISP and IDC companies, and IT giants such as Acer and Compal have all based their headquarters at the Neihu Technology Park. Nortel also plans to setup Asia’s largest Internet info center at Neihu Technology Park, providing a faster and smoother broadband connection between Taipei City and the world.According to the data collected in August 2006, there are a total of 119 R&D centers across Taiwan; 47 of them are located in Taipei City; and 10 are in Neihu Technology Park. Among the 306 operation headquarters in Taiwan, 99 are located in Taipei City and 24 in Neihu Technology Park. According to the Info Tech 100 determined by Business Week (2004), 15 Taiwanese companies are on the list. Among these, Compal, BenQ and Liteon—have stationed operation headquarters or R&D centers in the Park.Nangang Exhibition CentreApart from the Nangang Software Park, there are other investment opportunities such as Nangang Exhibition Centre Phase II, Biosceinc Centre, Redevelopment of Nangang Station Area and Northern Taiwan Contemporary Music Centre, etc. The city anticipates additional annual revenues of NT$ 1.86 billions, and the strengthening of cluster effects.Beitou-Shilin Technology ParkAnother proposed industry center is the Beitou-Shilin Technology Park. The park will cover 194.29 hectares and offers land for industrial development for the next 20 years. The park’s proximity to rich medical research resources and excellent access to Taipei City’s infrastructure makes it an ideal choice for knowledge-based industries and their supporting functions. The nearby cultural hotspots, such as the National Palace Museum and a planned Culture Center, also make the area ideal for residential development. The potential for development and quality of life offered by the Beitou-Shilin Technology Park’s intersection of technology and culture is unparalleled.Regional CooperationDevelopment and the forging of alliances between cities and regions are becoming an irrevocable trend in the era of globalization. To avoid becoming marginalized, Taiwan and its local governments need to meet these challenges head on by transcending administrative boundaries, integrating common resources, and fostering cooperative relationships to secure mutual benefits and prosperity.
A “Northern Taiwan Counties and Cities Development Prospect Exhibition” was held on January 12th, 2004. So-called Northern Taiwan actually refers to eight administrative districts: Yilan County, Keelung City, Taipei County, Taoyuan County, Hsinchu County, Hsinchu City, and Miaoli County. During the exhibition, the eight counties and cities announced their partnership to face the world hand-in-hand, signified by the signing of the “Northern Taiwan Government's Cooperation Memorandum.” The memorandum proposes to fulfill the goals of “raising living quality, maintaining public safety, creating social welfare, enhancing administrative efficiency, and promoting economic development” through coordinating the resources of northern Taiwan, and thus the regional development continues to be promoted. In June 22, 2007, the first meeting of “Committee of Developing and Promoting Northern Taiwan” was held. The second meeting was held on November 20, and on December 27, 2007, an annual exhibition of the concrete results of the cooperation of the Eight Counties and Cities of Northern Taiwan was held. Hsinchu City and Taipei City will take over to host the meetings in 2008 and continue to promote the cooperation of Northern Taiwan Region.ConclusionIn creating a better life for its citizens and preserving a sustainable ecological environment for the generations to come, the Taipei City Government must continue to preserve its healthy and vibrant natural environment, while at the same time improving its investment environment. Government leaders are poised to showcase Taipei City as one of the most prominent urban centers in the world through effective marketing strategies. The Taipei City Government sincerely invites all residents to work together to make Taipei an even more highly competitive center, one whose advanced investment environment and high standard of living has made Taipei an international city that is also a great place to live, work and enjoy life.