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Tai pei : A city of am biti on

Taipei : A city of ambition

by

Charles Landry


Taipei: A city of ambition

Taipei : A city of ambition

Distributor

Urban Regeneration Office Taipei City

Publisher Chang Kang-wei Editorial supervision

Chien Yu-Lung, Fang Ting-An, Chang Ming-Shen, Hsieh Ming-Tong, Jan Yu-Chi, Hu Ju-Chun, Tseng Jun-Hao

Project Advisor

Lin Chung-Chieh, Hsu Yen-Hsing

Production coordination

Bamboo Culture International Ltd.

Author

Charles Landry

Translator

Anne Yao

Chief editors

Margaret Shiu, Lin Sheng-fong

Executive editors Graphic design

2

Catherine Lee, Anne Yao

Fortune House Studio

Image acknowledgements

Charles Landry, Anne Yao

Date

January 2015

ISBN

978-986-04-4163-5


Taipei is focusing.

3


Taipei: A city of ambition

Contents

Summary Preface

14

Cities punching above their weight

16

Comprehensive capital

20

The capitals framework

The urban hierarchy

20

25

Tier one global cities

25

Second tier cities

26

Third tier cities

26

Fourth tier cities

26

Clever urban development

4

8

28

Challenging the development community

28

Rethinking value & profitability

29

Building on Taipei’s potential

33

Business as usual does not work

34

Grasping the new world

38

Agility & flexibility

38

Collective intelligence

40

Hardware & software

41


Co nte nts

A Taipei perspective

42

Bottom up innovation & incubation culture

42

Content development and new media awareness

44

Seamless connectivity

48

Venture capital

48

Social enterprise

49

Education curriculum

51

Interesting bureaucracies

51

Open data

52

Procurement & the start-up culture

52

Mentorship

53

Immigration

53

Taipei lifestyle shops.

5


Qualities of ambition

55

Courage, tenacity & boldness

56

Progressive administration

56

Farsighted vision

57

Honest about realities

60

Widespread leadership

60

Sophisticated learning landscapes

61

Harnessing all talents

61

Bi-partisanship & active citizens

61

Collaborating across boundaries

62

Transparent inclusive processes

62

Hubs & hotspots

63

Balancing the big & small

63

Mainstream & alternative

63

Diversity & openness

63

Highlighting cultural distinctiveness

64

Measuring against the best

64

Strategically opportunistic

64

High quality physical environments

65

Perception & marketing

65

Delivering on promise

65


Endnote

67

Epilogue: Jumpstarting a New Era

68

Acknowledgement

72


Taipei: A city of ambition

Summary

Taipei stands at the cusp of a rare opportunity that cannot be grasped by a 'business as usual' approach. Things need to change and urgently and the immediate actions should shape the longer term thinking, since Taipei has the skills, talents and potential but these are not harnessed well. Taipei has an inspiring story to tell the world. This combines a rich, multifaceted experience of Chinese culture within a humane and human scale city exemplified by its lane culture, although the latter is under threat. It is a tech savvy community that understands well the art of living. This is the final publication in a trilogy as part of a three year mentoring and advisory role with Taipei government enabled by the URO. The work has stressed a series of issues that need addressing and this requires a mechanism to help implement change. This mechanism is a combination of things as affecting change requires three things: First, a shift in belief, thinking and perspective; second, a readjustment of political priorities, courage, motivation and will and third, strategies and policies with an incentives and regulations regime to match, so that vision and aims are acted upon and implemented. The eleven focus areas and recommendations proposed below will have a substantial effect on the positive prospects for Taipei, especially if the details are worked through by the city government in a collaborative exercise between politicians, public officials, private and community interests. It requires that all parties think, plan and act differently and re-develop renewed trust, mutual respect and understanding for the virtues, capacities and roles of each partner. 8


Sum me ry

The crucial issues to address are: • The public bureaucracy is not fit for purpose for 21st century conditions. World-wide cities are re-assessing their governance structures. Taipei must operate in a far stronger cross-department and cross-sector way. Taipei’s opportunities can only be achieved by operating with an integrated approach that harnesses collective skills. We have proposed a ‘creative bureaucracy’ programme to revamp the rules and incentives regime, and to enable the administration to transact better through public/ private partnerships. This will generate ‘civic creativity’. We have introduced the innovative South Australian commissioner for public sector reform to the city whose 90-day transformation projects have transformed their operating environment. This relationship should be deepened for mutual learning. See the Change@South Australia project www.change.sa.gov.au/ and their commissioner Erma Raineri. • Taipei needs an integrated talent retention and attraction policy Assessing and monitoring Taipei’s talent health and its movements is perhaps the government’s most important task. The in and outflow of skills, expertise and talent determines Taiwan’s wealth creation prospects and success. This needs to be handled in a holistic, cross-sector way as a matter of urgency, including issues of immigration policy. Government needs to look at talent issues through the eyes of the young and how they would like their city to develop. We have introduced the city to Rotterdam, a leader in the field and the Dutch network of creative centres, which house 4000 smaller companies. The link should be deepened- see www.dcrnetwork.nl/ and Leo van Loon leo@popvox.nl.

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Taipei: A city of ambition

• Taipei needs to continually monitor its creative ecology and be alert to necessary interventions Book two created a map of Taipei’s creative eco-system with strengths, opportunities and problem areas. This described a shifting landscape of needs and potential. Currently of greatest urgency is meeting a series of space requirements and regenerating areas such as Dadaocheng as well as bringing university and industry knowledge closer together. This might mean changing the curricula and involving more practitioners in teaching. • Taipei needs to dramatically rethink its real estate driven city making. It needs to be ethically and principled driven rather than purely land value focused. The inability of the real estate community to create great well-functioning cities is increasingly becoming apparent. Major cities around the world are shifting focus to become more people-centred with an emphasis on merging public, private and community interests as they recognize that this creates more prosperous places. Development proposals need to be assessed within a broad ‘capitals framework’ which assesses social, cultural, economic, heritage and financial capital simultaneously and does not base decisions solely on a more simplistic and narrow financial calculus. The property development and investment community needs to be brought into the conversation as it is ultimately in their own interest as it helps create value. • The five major development proposals currently under discussions can present an important symbol of changed perspective and priorities. The redevelopment for the common good approach can challenge the property development community to come up with imaginative proposals beyond merely high rise residential proposals. The five large scale regeneration sites such as the train depot, bottle cap factory and air force base are good testing grounds.

10


The

Air

Force

headquarters – a major development opportunity.


Taipei: A city of ambition

• Understand that a 100 small projects done well and orchestrated can be more powerful and effective than an imposing physical structure Great cities combine well their hardware and software infrastructure, for instance balancing space requirements for co-working or startups, with service activities such as loans or mentoring. Equally placing the equivalent of one investment in hard infrastructure instead in an endowment fund can have far greater effect as can smaller interventions in revitalizing streets or public space. • Create a development framework that safeguards the old appropriately and blends well with the new The lane culture, for instance, is one of Taipei’s heritage assets and several countries such as Australia (Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide) have revitalized their cities in this way. At times the lanes need renewing and not keeping in frozen whilst maintaining their characteristics in a modern form. This is a challenge for good urban design. They are often the location for new economy companies or the young start-ups that Taipei needs. • Make partnership working Taipei’s daily practice A learning and mentoring programme needs to be instigated since there are insufficient mature public/private partnerships which combine and blend well public interest and private initiative. Trust needs to be rebuilt in order to harness collective potential. Equally private sector interests should be encouraged to develop greater corporate social responsibility. • Instigate an integrated city-wide support for younger companies and start-ups There is vibrancy wanting to burst out expressed by a growing start-up culture, yet this feels thwarted and under-acknowledged and too many people are still moving elsewhere. The city needs to engage and work with the younger generations and dynamics of the evolving economy, its means of communication and what this new city should look and feel like. Older heads and young enthusiasm have much to give each other, yet this potential is not fulfilled. Mentoring schemes and help to access ladders of opportunity remain too scarce.

12


• Es ta b lis h a C r ea t i v i t y Pl a t f or m t o h a r n e s s th e c o l l e c ti v e imagination of Taipei This recommendation formed the heart of book two and is a multi-sector partnership of high level players and younger talents deeply concerned with Taipei’s future well-being. They understand the role of creativity. The platform is an orchestration device to harness momentum, develop critical mass and to communicate the city’s creative aims and potential and to help make that happen. It needs to develop a paced and purposeful time-tabled project plan. The Creativity Platform is more a promoter, advocate and lobbyist rather than an implementer of projects and programmes. • The public sector should play an important role in innovation through a progressive collaborative procurement policy. Taipei needs to deepen its relationship with Helsinki’s Forum Virium that has recently been brokered. This subsidiary of their city develops new digital services in co-operation with companies, other public sector organizations and residents and brings these to global markets and embeds this into the emerging economy. They have become a global model and their Living Lab concept should be explored by Taipei. Here users and producers cocreate innovations. Living Labs have been characterised by the European Commission as Public-Private-People Partnerships (PPPP) for user-driven open innovation. See http://www.forumvirium.fi/en/introduction/organisation and Jarmo Eskilinen jarmo.eskelinen@forumvirium.fi

Ambitious cities who punch above their weight express special qualities. They include most importantly courage, farsighted understanding of the evolving world, widespread leadership, progressive governance and creating a seamlessly connected, human scale physical environment that satisfies the senses. They also have simple principles best expressed by Copenhagen’s: ‘We start with looking at urban life, this tells us what to do and what peoples’ needs are; we then consider urban public space and only lastly the buildings’1 .

1.http://www.sharingcopenhagen.dk/media/701391/Metropolis-for-people-UK.pdf

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Taipei: A city of ambition

Preface

Ta i p e i - V V G contemporary creativity

&

new lifestyles

The major concern of ‘Taipei: A city of ambition’ is that the city does not slip into becoming a fourth tier world city and increasingly fades into insignificance, dependency on others and outside the buzz and energy of global developments. The aim is to see how Taipei can use its distinctiveness and be a well-recognized global third tier city with a compelling story to tell the world based on a unique set of assets that others cannot replicate.

Taipei’s compelling story should combine the intimate feel of the village and human scale with a sense of being cosmopolitan – a global creative hub with a diverse economic base that people can call home. It should seek to engender in those that live there and visit the feeling that they can be creative. Here the mainstream meshes with the alternative in order to discover new ways of doing things or in developing innovative products and services and making them happen. This is the third and final publication in a trilogy concerned with the future of Taipei. These have been commissioned by the Urban Regeneration Organization(URO) which has a concern to make the most of Taipei’s physical assets, but also realizes that this is only possible with far greater partnerships both within the city government as well as with outside interests. It recognizes too that transformation is more than purely physical and that renewal only occurs when it is meshed with economic, social and cultural concerns. The resulting books have assessed Taipei’s urgent needs and its abilities and capacities to maintain and improve its global positioning in a way that meets both local desires whilst responding to global, competitive necessities.

14


Taipei: A city of ambition

Cities punching above their weight

Little work on cities explores the lower tiers of cities which represent the vast majority - perhaps 95 percent across the world. This is where Taipei sits. Most discussions about the future of cities focus on the top 10, such as Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Tokyo, London and New York. All of these have special histories and conditions that do not strictly apply to Taipei although we can learn from them.

The aim of our project with URO has been to explore why crucially some of those cities in next tiers down, two, three and four, do better than others even though they have the same resources. In considering ‘Taipei: A City of Ambition’ 20 urban leaders were interviewed across the world, mostly mayors and key decision makers of relevance to Taipei, whose cities had done better than expectations. They were asked: ‘what are the three main things that made your city do better than expected’; ‘how would you describe these qualities’; ‘what is your advice to other cities’, and ‘what are the issues cities need to consider’. Cities ranged in scale from Manchester, to Bristol, Helsinki, Malmo, Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Eindhoven to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Miami as well as a couple of Asian cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Two cities in real crisis in South America, Bogota and Medellin, that have changed dramatically were included as comparators to see if the same qualities and characteristics apply from cities in completely different circumstances. Three cities, Helsinki, Rotterdam and Adelaide have shared their approaches and lessons with Taipei in relation to issues like innovative procurement, harnessing young talents or rethinking the bureaucracy to meet 21st century needs. Taipei has established links with these and they need to be deepened.

16


Cit ies pun chi ng abo ve the ir we igh t

Of relevance to the research has been my active participation in a series of visioning events where the dilemmas and potentials of city development have been explored on very large projects. These include ‘Beyond the Nordic Supermodel’ in Copenhagen/ Malmo involving 15 cities in the Nordic region, the ‘Bays Precinct’ project in Sydney, the largest development in the city for over 50 years involving urban experts from across the globe, as well as discussions in Miami with the Knight Foundation about the future of American cities. The events revealed starkly the conflicts between city development based on higher level ethical principles and notions of blending the public good with private initiative or city development merely driven by land value calculations. There

was a consensus amongst the leading progressive cities, especially those who wish to make an impact globally, and world experts that the journey of travel must be one where the public interest considerations have a greater presence. Here the notion of capital is being re-assessed. Importantly cities need to frame any project initiatives in the context of overall city making. In short, building a retail destination is not city making, and building a stadium is not city making by itself. Only thinking about all developments in an integrated way is city making. It is astonishing how their conclusions mirror those found in the literature on how cities become successful.

17


18


Ta i p e i

n e e d s

t o

dramatically rethink its real estate driven city making.


Taipei: A city of ambition

Comprehensive capital

Making a successful city is not a simple job to be approached in a one-dimensional way. Successful places understand how a city’s forms of capital and assets work at a deeper level – how you amass them, invest in them, orchestrate them and use them to powerful effect. This is a different framework for thinking about the urban future than merely looking at traditional assets like your location, your business environment or heritage possibilities. Successful places go out of their way to accumulate all types of capital and so, for instance, you can build wealth creation and social capital simultaneously. To do this requires a shift in mindset. More shallow places think the trick is simply to amass one alone – finance - and to judge everything on that criterion alone believing that ensures efficiency and effectiveness. They could not be more wrong. It results in long term decline and disappointing results.

The capitals framework The capitals framework requires the following forms of capitals

to be orchestrated when shaping the future city: Human, the special knowledge of their people; social, the complex web of relationships that make up civil society; cultural, the sense of belonging and understanding of the unique identity and distinctiveness of a place; creativity, harnessing the capacity to be curious, to imagine, to be original and inventive; intellectual, the analytical capacity of a community; scientific and technical, the knowledge base and practical wisdom of a city; democratic, the ability of communities to foster a culture of discussion that

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Com pre hen sive cap

ital

helps build resilience and future-proofing; environmental, the built and natural landscape and ecology; heritage, the historic resources and traditions of a place which contribute to identity and self-knowledge; leadership capital, the motivation, will, energy and capacity to take responsibility and lead; and finally financial capital, how resources are garnered to pay for services and infrastructure. Capital is held by a person, a company, a community or city. It is what is considered valuable and can be turned into value. It is an asset a city can draw on as ‘revenue’ to sustain and enhance itself.

These forms of capital are urban assets and a lack of them, urban deficits. They should be thought of as urban currencies and like all assets they need nurturing and managing. Good places make sure these forms of capital are in a good balance. For instance, with financial capital the more you spend the less you have, whereas with social capital the more you use it the more it grows and the more positive results you get. This focuses an urban leader on where to invest a city’s resources. They already know they must harness their scientific and technological knowledge and resources, but what about the others? This capital framework has dramatic implications for how the city is organized, managed and operates. It implies far greater partnership activities and working across silos. It requires solid recognition of the value and values of both public interests and private energy, motivations and skills, and blending them appropriately. It demands a new organizational ethos and spirit across the groupings who influence how the city is shaped.

21


Helsinki New university library open to all citizens.

H e l s i n k i , Ka m p p i C h a p e l an elegiac wooden church created in collaboration with social services.

23


The urb an hie rar chy

The urban hierarchy

A brief description of tiers in the global urban hierarchy is useful so that Taipei can assess and position itself in a context. First tier cities are strategic places and communications nodal points which have a direct effect and influence on world affairs economically, culturally and politically, where global agendas are created, facilitated and enacted.

Tier one global cities are typically centres of national and international trade, political power, banking, insurance and related financial services, advanced professional activity of all kinds (medicine, law, higher education, technology, research), information gathering and diffusion, knowledge creation and inventiveness, culture, creativity and entertainment and even conspicuous consumption. And they are places with excellent physical and other infrastructures and a stimulating milieu for information, knowledge and creativity through which money, workers, information and commodities flow. They thereby link economic relations between surrounding regions and the global economy helped by powerful media outlets with an international scope and they are the base for large foreign businesses and corporate headquarters. Usually New York or London and increasingly Shanghai and Beijing are mentioned here.

Ro t t e r d a m T h e n e w m a r k e t hall designed by MVRDV combines market and housing.

25


Taipei: A city of ambition

Second tier cities tend to be the capitals of nations with less power but they have a cluster of strong global niches or they are secondary cities in big nations. They are well-connected, well recognized and players on the global stage. For example, Chicago and Frankfurt are usually considered rather significant global cities when a concentration of economic activities is stressed, but not when the focus is on political power or the cultural industries. The reverse is true of Los Angeles and Sydney. Other cities frequently placed in the second tier of global cities include Hong Kong, Singapore, Miami or Toronto.

Third tier cities typically fall behind the second tier cities on

every criterion, but they nevertheless remain globally significant given the broad consequences of the organisations and activities they house. The third tier frequently includes places such as Vancouver, Milan or Rio de Janeiro who each has something special to offer the world be it in lifestyle, fashion or cultural vibrancy. Taipei could offer the world a rich experience of Chinese culture open to the world and at ease with itself.

A fourth tier city can be of considerable size with the associated economic activities attached, but it falls outside of the main pathways of global connections and exchange even though it might have special niches. These cities can be known to the cognoscenti and might be a niche tourism destination, but they are always fighting for acknowledgment. Such places usually look to others as leaders and trendsetters. Being placed at this level is not enough for Taipei if it is to be ambitious. How do cities in this tier or in danger of falling into it maximize their potential?

Taipei,a tech focused city.

26


Taipei: A city of ambition

Clever urban development

Taipei is fortunate in being rather unique and distinctive but has not harnessed this potential fully. Staying in the third tier involves Taipei increasing its global reputation. This can only happen if Taipei’s urban redevelopment process is far more subtle and clever. This means managing its growth path in a comprehensive and holistic way and understanding,

integrating and orchestrating the many forms of capital and assets that make a city work. Ambitious cities in Taipei’s wider region such as Melbourne, Sydney or Singapore and Seoul and elsewhere like Copenhagen and even New York understand increasingly that a simplistic land value and real estate driven approach is inadequate and does not create great cities. Indeed Seoul mayor Park Won-soon stated that his second term theme is ‘to seek to open a new "creative economy" era focused on people/citizens, rather than buildings and construction’.

Challenging the development community to have a broader perspective is crucial, even in terms of their own self-interest. The urban leadership then ensures that projects do not only help a small number of people accumulate financial capital, but also whether development initiatives, physical renewal and urban design help support a confident, vibrant economy and startup culture and socially inclusive Taipei that feels like a creative milieu with a rich experience. Thus rather than only assessing Taipei’s health in terms of financial capital, as important as it is, Taipei’s necessary transformation should consider a balanced capital scorecard of indicators to include all forms of capital. This makes for better and more resilient projects.

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Cle ver urb an dev elo

pm ent

When these forms of capital are considered together urban development processes happen differently. Unfortunately these other capitals are rarely costed, although their costs turn up elsewhere and have to be paid. Therefore the question is not ‘what is the value of these forms of capital’ but instead ‘what is the bigger cost of not considering them’. Together these forms of capital create the overall prosperity and health a city needs. If a development causes social problems it reduces social capital the consequences of which need to be paid elsewhere such as in increasing crime rates or lack of motivation to do better. If development destroys an old building worthy of being kept it reduces the asset that could have contributed to the overall identity value of the city or even its economic value. If buildings are ugly and out of context, it can reduce overall attractiveness, so discouraging the imaginative people Taipei needs to create wealth from staying, or others in coming to the city. If local industry does not gain from development and only outsiders benefit, Taipei’s human capital and resilience decrease. If environmental considerations are neglected Taipei and the world suffer. If developments seem to be in the interests of narrow groupings Taipei’s leadership capital declines. By thinking of these forms of capital as the urban currencies it reveals how all dimensions of city-making are inextricably interwoven.

Rethinking value and profitability is essential. Consider the contrast with the real estate led model of urban development increasingly showing its weakness because it does not adequately deal with the complexity of urban issues. It is not cradled within a bigger picture of how urban profitability works or a larger public interest

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Taipei: A city of ambition

Adelaide,reclaiming the street.

framework. It neither sufficiently harnesses broader opportunities nor addresses problems in an acceptable way. It usually looks at projects in isolation and how much value can be extracted from a particular site, but does it add to the total value of Taipei? This implies assessing Taipei’s development not only as a series of isolated projects, but seeing ‘the city as the project’. For instance, creating highest quality design or contributing to the public realm rather than creating hermetically gated estates can be seen as a burden and a cost within a real estate driven perspective. From a wider perspective contributing to the public domain and these considerations become an asset. It is easy to see how money can be made in Taipei within an isolated project. Densities can be increased, building heights raised, prime waterfront views can be sold off with no payback to the public realm. A series of unconnected projects might individually make sense, yet devalue Taipei as a whole. Things that individually seem inefficient like maintaining the lane culture by contrast from a larger perspective then create value. For instance, many talented people in Taipei prefer this ambiance thus creating a wish for them to stay. More sensitive, organic urban development that works with the texture of the old and blends in the new is more difficult to implement. It requires constant care and attention, but once it becomes common practice many development dilemmas erode as people understand the difference between an urban engineering approach to city development and the idea of creative city making. Even though the former can achieve big physical statements it is less good at creating the fine texture that helps give cities their lifeblood – interaction and exchange.

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Taipei , VVG setting a new standard.


Bui ldin g on Tai pei ’s pot ent ial

Building on Taipei’s potential

Book one ‘Talented Taipei & the Creative Imperative ’2 and book two ‘ A Creativity Platform: Harnessing the Collective Imagination of Taipei ’ 3 stressed issues that some decision makers already take seriously and crucially others they do not. For instance ‘Talented Taipei’ highlighted the deepening talent crisis and how the talent loss is draining skills, expertise and competences and weakening Taiwan and Taipei.In spite of many good initiatives talent questions are not addressed in an integrated , holistic manner. This would involve not only education and economic development but also physical planning as what is allowed to be built shapes potential or deters it. It would consider how heritage plays a role in economic competitiveness, since ‘new ideas need old buildings’ as Jane Jacobs said; or how the culture of place can drive motivation and confidence, depending on whether a city is more open than closed; or how the role of creativity in every sphere helps force feed potential; it would assess immigration as a potential. Perhaps most important is how this is pulled together so that Taipei tells a compelling story of itself to its own citizens and the world at large. In Taipei too many of these issues are dealt with separately. A couple of examples suffice: Few consider as a part of common sense what the physical conditions in the contemporary world are that attract younger gifted people to stay in Taipei or to bring back people from abroad. Equally few consider which forces and skills need to be brought together to generate a creative milieu. Crucially it is not easy for talented outsiders to contribute to Taipei. Thus Taiwan operates with a far too narrow pool of expertise, energy and potential. This is why the re-assessment of immigration rules has been so important.

2.On-line Reading , http://www.urstaipei.net/archives/8816 3.On-line Reading , http://www.urstaipei.net/archives/16154

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Taipei: A city of ambition

Business as usual does not work Silo thinking is still far too entrenched and there are insufficiently mature conversations between the public, private and community worlds that are not based on special favours. This holds Taipei back. Thus trust between sectors remains weak. Yet every city of ambition, large or small, knows that cross-sector collaboration is a vital ingredient for success. They find ways to break down the barriers. In evaluating Taipei’s potential from a global perspective and in considering the evolving dynamics of how cities operate today we need to think, plan and act in a different way. E v e r y o n e k n o w s a n d e x p e r i e n c e s , d a i l y, t h e d r a m a t i c transformations happening in cities from how we make our wealth and prosperity to how we communicate. As I noted previously: “Every shift in the means of wealth creation, like now, creates a new social order; it demands new ways of learning and things to learn, new skillsets, and a new understanding of what competitive resources are. It requires new physical settings,

new kinds of facilities and different cultural capabilities”. A key paragraph in the UNCTAD Creative Economy Report (2010) notes: “A new development paradigm is emerging that links the economy and culture, embracing economic, cultural, technological and social aspects of development at both the macro and micro levels. Central to the new paradigm is the fact that creativity, knowledge and access to information are increasingly recognized as powerful engines driving economic growth and promoting development in a globalizing world.”

Taipei,Songshan as a learning campus.

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The great acceleration e x h i b i t i o n a t Ta i p e i Fine Arts Museum.


Taipei: A city of ambition Taipei,the car in control and pedestrians pushed aside.

Grasping the new world The central question for Taipei is whether the various interest groups and urban stakeholders including the city government, universities and business groupings have fully grasped the consequences and impacts of global changes and acted upon them accordingly. Teaching, for instance, should be affected by these changes. Indeed some of Taiwan’s leading and most successful technology experts lament the lack of an entrepreneurial culture and suggest that academia insufficiently understands industry and market needs. Status is still too much based on writing peer reviewed papers, which reproduces similar types of people. The overall result is that academia and industry are on two parallel paths. By contrast one thinks here of organizations like Kaos Pilots in Denmark who have rethought business education from a creativity perspective and have an extremely effective track record of getting students into jobs and in generating innovations. This is why we have also stressed the ‘creative bureaucracy’ notion as a means to rethink what a 21st agile and effective bureaucracy might look like and operate, and remember there are bureaucracies in private organizations as much as public ones.

Agility & flexibility The concept of the creative bureaucracy is a deliberately provocative connection – since ‘creative’ is generally seen as positive and ‘bureaucracy’ as negative. The core idea is to recapture the good reasons why bureaucracies exist, but in a 21 st century form that is right for its time, that enables people to give of their best, to express themselves fully whilst achieving public good aims in collaboration with private interests. Good bureaucracies are crucial for making cities fit for the 21st century where ‘civic creativity’ which is based on fairness, transparency and equality is encouraged and employees empowered. As the external operating environment changes so the internal operating methods need to change too. There are also

38


Taipei: A city of ambition

tensions within organisations – such as a more educated workforce, the reluctance of people to work within strict hierarchies and the need to be better at connecting, facilitating and catalyzing rather than controlling and managing. City government organisations across the world are increasingly exploring how well prepared they are to respond creatively to the internal and external pressures for change, and the South Australian experience and especially its Change@South Australia project www.change.sa.gov.au/ has been showcased in Taipei. In particular its 90-day projects which solve problems within that short time frame are impressive.

Collective intelligence ‘Harnessing the Collective Imagination of Taipei’ emphasized that Taiwan is relatively small in population terms, 55 times less than China as well as having economic, political and other disadvantages. This conditions how it should bring together its resources. Here it can learn from the Nordic countries, Sweden, Finland and Denmark who, recognizing their smaller resource base, use every conceivable asset in an inclusive, participative way. In essence they use the capitals framework proposed above. It is their only chance if they want to punch above their weight and have cultural and economic influence. This is why book two proposed the setting up of a ‘ creativity platform’ to bring together the interesting forces in Taipei to focus in a cross sector way on what needs to be done to help the city.

Taipei cannot afford not to join its forces together. In Taipei too many approaches are fragmented and thus the collective intelligence of the city is not gathered well. This wastes energy, potential and capacity. The old and the young could help each other – and need to. The public and private sector both in principle have something to offer the greater whole. This deadlock needs to be broken, especially in the context of the new progressive ways cities think of city making. We described this trajectory as the City 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0.

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Hardware & software The City 1.0 is hardware focused and looks at the city largely from an urban engineering perspective. It treats the city rather like a machine and comes up with mechanical solutions to problems. Those who understand the soft dynamics that make cities work have less influence. The city 2.0 has other priorities and evolves from the 1990’s onwards. Its industrial emblem is the science park and high tech industry; its management ethos has flatter structures; partnership working rises in importance as does collaborative working. The mental model sees issues as more connected and it is more aware of how the software and hardware of the city interact. Urban design becomes a higher priority. It begins to focus on the emotional feel of the city and its atmosphere. ‘The City 3.0’ goes one step further, it takes on the virtues of City 1.0 and 2.0. It tries to harness the collective imagination and intelligence of citizens, business and the public sector in making, shaping and co-creating their city. This ‘soft urbanism’ takes into account the full sensory experience of the city and emotional impact of the built fabric and how this shapes economic vitality. So it is strongly concerned with the public realm, human scale and aesthetics. It understands that blandness and ugliness weaken the city. Its mental model is to see the city as an organism. Organizationally it is more flexible; horizontal and cross-sector working become the norm. It recognizes that to succeed we must sometimes fail and so has greater tolerance of risk. Taipei Eslite Bookstore and the thirst for knowledge.

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Taipei: A city of ambition

A Taipei perspective

Ambitious cities need to be part of the evolving technological world. Our work with URO has focused on the broad operating environment for creativity , both technological and in other forms, and how decision makers should see Taipei through the eyes of the younger generation. Urban leaders in the private sector were interviewed in Taipei, apart from the conclusions of book one and two produced for URO, they stressed the importance of an innovation ecology including focusing on issues such as: The new business models operating globally, including bottom up innovation; content development and awareness of the potential of the digital economy; the venture capital system; social enterprise; open data; the educational curriculum; progressive procurement policies. Here we summarize the views of local partners.

Bottom up innovation & incubation culture The resilience of cities is enhanced by encouraging bottom up innovation and a start-up culture. There is vibrancy trying to burst out of Taipei reflected in the enthusiasm to startup companies, however much of this channelled into more decorative design rather than software products or technology driven innovations. Taipei does not appear to have a competitive advantage over other cities, such as Helsinki where the fall of Nokia was seen by some as a kind of liberation. Nokia had begun to suck in all available talent and to monopolize the situation restricting start-ups. Now however, many often older ex-Nokia employees are part of new start-ups in areas like gaming, such as Rovio or Supercell, which employ several thousand people. 42


A Tai pei per spe ctiv e

Their roles are less in the front end creative aspects, but in essential fields like licensing or international trade so helping these companies globalize. This is a good example of where young and old heads collaborate. There are many incubation centres and a few co-working spaces . Most are within universities and relatively few have been developed by the private or not-for-profit sector. Others like Songshan Cultural and Creative Park have great potential, but do not meet it . They look too representative and focused too much on showcasing rather than being an active hub full of co-working spaces. Elsewhere given its vast spaces there would be several hundred young entrepreneurs milling around. The Park needs a sub-contracted incubation manager who is incentivized to fill up the space. It can learn from examples like the Nokia building in Helsinki which houses over 600 people or the Creative Factory in Rotterdam which has more than 300 people working in it. The Dutch Creative Centres network has 33 members and within these buildings are housed 4,000 small companies and start-ups employing over 10,000 people. The founder of the network shared his experiences in Taipei and showed how you need an entrepreneurial and active management approach to making such centres and co-working spaces work. See http://www. dcrnetwork.nl/ A good sign of bottom up entrepreneurship, however, is the rapid rise in social enterprises focusing on delivering services and products in new ways to improve social problems. Examples include “Duofu Care & Service”( 多扶接送 ). Positively the government is drafting appropriate laws to help the sector grow. The disadvantage though is that it often does not generate foreign income and is difficult to monetize.

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Taipei: A city of ambition

Content development and new media awareness Lee Kai Fu ( 李開復 ) and Chien Li-Feng ( 簡立峰 ), two of Taiwan's successful tech entrepreneurs, are very concerned about prospects and believe that entrepreneurship needs to be rediscovered in the technology industry. They say Taiwan’s past success cannot necessarily be reproduced for the mobile industry. Lee Kai Fu in the 12th Chinese Business Leaders Summit pointed out that Taiwan has missed out on the web, software and mobile revolutions after hardware wars. Crucially the new innovative entrepreneurs only set the eyes on Taiwan’s market, not even further. He also highlighted that “small market cannot make great business” 4 . Taiwan needs to be fiercely focused on overseas markets as were its ICT industry, it cannot be parochial. Taiwan needs to attract foreign talent which is why a group of elites have pushed the work of “Forward Taiwan” in loosening immigration laws for connecting the world. Because Taiwan is held back with few success stories in the mobile world, there is a vicious cycle and lack of investment leads to lack of investment. Instead people take the easy way and invest in the real estate market. The president of Google Taiwan Chien Li-Feng suggested a better environment for young entrepreneurs needs to be established with greater risk taking on behalf of the government or universities to encourage the industry to regain the innovative power. Chien Li-Feng reinforces our view that ‘the most fundamental solution is to integrate the strengths of government, industry and academia to help young people and young start-ups in new industries’ and to get some younger brains to receive more recognition, as ‘the environment is unfriendly for younger generations of technology-oriented entrepreneurs’. 5 They rarely obtain depth technology through academic institutions to further enhance competitiveness and so the number of technology-oriented entrepreneurs has been decreasing in recently years, and there are even fewer people returning to Taiwan to start new companies. The most effective way is for companies themselves to invest in new startups, or even encourage employees to start their new companies. Yet this approach does not fit well with Taiwan’s more hierarchical culture, as it

4.Lee Kai Fu, Speech Summary from “The Road to Change, Innovation and Growth”, the 12th Summit of Chinese Business Leaders( 華人企業領袖遠見高峰會 )” 2014/10/30.

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5.Chien Li-Feng, “Regain the innovative power of IT(尋回科技產業的新創力量)”, Special Column,United Daily News, 2014/11/2.


Ta i p e i

urban

landscape - only skyscrapers.


Can Flora Expo Park transform into “Creative Innovators’ Park” for young entrepreneurs and start-ups?


Taipei: A city of ambition

implies giving up control, even though mid-level managers with practical technological know-how and market experience have more chance to succeed than new graduates. This is the model places like Google have adopted especially with Google X Labs to nurture new enterprises. They see this talent drain positively as it expands Google’s orbit and networks and they may buy them back later. This happens very rarely in Taiwan. This lack of opportunity makes talent open to overseas offers from headhunters. Appier is a notable exception focusing on artificial intelligence and big data technology, it has recently received funds from Sequoia Capital based in Silicon Valley.

Seamless connectivity The internet is part of Taiwanese daily life and e-business is well developed with PChome shopping, PChome stores, Yahoo and Ruten acting as strong platforms. Nevertheless, according to Chan Hungchi ( 詹宏志 ), PChome’s online founder and a godfather in the business, the internet industry and digital economy remains relatively underdeveloped . He notes “The internet industry is also a “social tool” to advance banking, retailing, manufacturing and so increases the competiveness of all businesses” 6 . He believes the Taiwanese have had great skill in providing internet hardware technology but have neglected the software. This may be due to a lack of national policy after 1998. Transacting seamlessly across the globe also remains problematic for legal reasons even though Taiwan is a tech savvy country as witnessed by the exemplary 7/11 chain.

Venture capital The domestic venture capital scene is relatively underdeveloped with the spare resources more likely to end up in property, which does not secure Taiwan’s future. Instead, if a small proportion were to be invested in start-ups that energy would revitalize Taiwan. Therefore the recently launched “HeadStart Taiwan Plan”, turning the Flora Expo Park in Taipei into a “creative innovators’ park” by the National Development Council is positive. NDC will introduce foreign and domestic capital for young entrepreneurs and if this new development succeeds in getting Taiwan’s 6.Chan Hung-chi, “Internet is the power engine to drive the digital economy (「網路產業」是啟動數位

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經濟的火車頭 )”, http://wired.tw/posts/1400 browsed on 2014/11/5.


companies and capital markets to invest in start-ups, a significant shift will occur. In the 1980s and 1990s there were more private venture capital funds investing in start-ups especially in tangible hardware where the immediate return is easier to calculate. However these “senior”

venture capitalists have a problem dealing with new content and the internet economy, especially since they are more likely to be micro businesses. Su Shih-chung( 蘇 拾 忠 ), general secretary of Taiwan Venture Capital Association, noted that over 50% of venture capital in Taiwan goes to companies over 10 years old. There used to be a tax incentive to encourage investment in start-ups, but this was cancelled after 2000. Besides, banks in Taiwan are too traditional with insufficient understanding of the new economy. They disadvantage smaller companies and focus more on listed ones. This means that the role of business angels and venture capitalists is key. Yet the system is not responding and alternative financing schemes like crowdsourcing have not yet taken off in a more substantial way.

Social enterprise Social enterprise is a hot trend with the most inventive and passionate younger generation people eager to find business models that connect local and international markets to deal with social problems. A very good example is “Duofu Care & Service” which provides a pick-up service for disabled people. Hsu Zhuo-fu ( 許 佐 夫 ) the founder discovered there were over one million disabled people needing a shuttle service - a demand government could not meet. He established “Duofu Care & Service” for elderly and disabled people as well as “Duofu Travel” that helps people travel on wheel chairs. The national government is working on a new law for social enterprise and ‘not-for-profits’. Yet some would prefer less regulation in order to foster their evident creativity and possibilities. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Economic Affairs plans to sponsor the establishment of ‘social enterprise incubation centres’. Centres with over 30% social enterprise companies will be able to apply for subsidy. Whilst the purposes and

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aims of general start-ups and social enterprise may be different, their

entrepreneurial spirit is similar. The Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto is an excellent example for Taipei to learn from in how to give greater impact to social enterprises. See www.socialinnovation.ca/

Education curriculum Over 20 universities provide culture business or creative industry curricula, many of which focus on digital design and new media. Of the 130 incubation centres across Taiwan 78% were set up by universities. Yet interviewees highlight that the gap between academic training and industry needs is still very large. Thus it would be useful to assess whether the young start-ups are getting sufficient business

mentoring from practitioners within these university contexts. Importantly the projected drop in the birth rate and student enrolment will affect start-up rates in the future as well as release several thousand professors. Some have said they could start businesses, although commentators doubt their business acumen.

Interesting bureaucratic interventions Rethinking bureaucratic procedures has been an overarching theme of our three year project and its importance was reconfirmed both by urban leaders and many interviewees in Taipei. In the Taipei context the World Design Capital and 1999 hotline are two successful examples that integrate cross-departmental services, which is one of the key issues in rethinking the bureaucracy. However these initiatives only happen when the Mayor takes a leadership position since there is no clear policy or instruction to encourage such collaboration. As this approach is not embedded, the lack of horizontal communication makes many policies less effective and unlikely to achieve their aims.

Taipei,global branding versus local identity.

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Taipei: A city of ambition

Open data Open data has this year become a big issue in Taiwan with several international conferences. It is connected to notions of the smart city. There is an official government site about open data but there is a long way to go to match the activities of cities like Amsterdam, Berlin or Helsinki. The Open Data Alliance chairman Peng Chi-ming ( 彭啟明 ) has been in contact with ministries for open data and found that the percentage of classified data is much more than estimated. He suggests government should make an inventory of all data and discuss with the private sector which data sources to open. The current consensus is that neither the government nor private companies are ready for open data. They do not as yet understand the boost this gives to innovation, linked as it is too to the open source movement which is changing the business model of many large companies.

Procurement to encourage start-ups This is a completely underdeveloped area in Taipei and the link between encouraging innovation and public procurement is not seen. This ranges from acquiring basic consultancy contracts to more sophisticated purchasing procedures or using the city as a test bed to trial experiments in any sphere. The increasingly popular ‘living lab’ movement idea has not yet taken hold in Taiwan. Cities such as Barcelona, winner of the European Capital of Innovation and Bloomberg City of Innovation awards, received their designations for allowing the city to be used as a test bed for experiments and for collaborating with companies to develop products and services that help cities in general. These include using mobile phones as a diagnostic tool for the elderly or developing sensors and tracking devices. Similar initiatives exist in many of the applicants to the European Capital of Innovation award. Helsinki has perhaps the most sophisticated, active and innovative public procurement policy and mature public/private collaborative ethos. Forum Virium has been showcased in Taipei. It is a subsidiary of the City of Helsinki Group, and it develops new digital services in cooperation with companies, the City of Helsinki, other public sector organizations, and Helsinki residents. The aim is to create better 52


services and new businesses, plus to open up contacts for international markets. For further information see http://www.forumvirium.fi/en/ introduction/organisation

Mentorship Linking the experience of the old and the enthusiasm of the young has been a major theme of the work with URO. Yet unfortunately there are insufficient schemes or mentoring programmes that bring both parties together. Examples like Y Combinator in Silicon Valley do not exist and current incubators, with notable exceptions, only provide limited support such as in the legal field or joint marketing activities or helping with trade shows.

Immigration Fo r wa r d Ta i wa n h a s f o c u s e d o n t h e u r g e n c y o f l o o s e n i n g immigration laws since Taiwan now faces many challenges that are causing its former success to flatline, and which could threaten the nation’s economic future. The population is ageing and declining compounded by one of the world’s lowest birth rates; and given the increased opportunities available to those with international degrees, Taiwan’s young people are looking abroad and remaining abroad to begin their careers and start their own businesses with their talents lost to Taiwan. Meanwhile local start-ups are being left behind by competitors whose long-term strategies are better targeted for international competition. Clearly a multi-pronged approach is necessary in order to reverse these trends and no single measure can be relied upon to stem the tide of economic slowdown. However, a more open immigration policy is one strategy to create a more positive talent churn to rebalance the in and out flow of skills. Forward Taiwan suggests three primary goals, which are to: Liberalize experience, salary, and capital requirements to hire foreign professional employees; simplify qualifications for permanent residence; and abandon the renunciation of original nationality for those who wish to become Taiwanese citizens.

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A focus for Helsinki is high tech and quality of life.


Qualities of ambition

Qu alit ies of am biti on

Cities that fall back and decline , the survey revealed, are c onsumed by micro politics and parochial thinking and this disturbs their wider focus, they look inward rather than outward. By not looking ahead this detracts from generating urgency and will. Things never seem bad enough to trigger action. Muddling through is the predominant approach. The organizational structure is siloed and insufficiently empowers staff. Decisions take too long to make. Laziness and complacency take over. It is worse for cities where things seem fine on the surface. In more attractive places there is a danger of imperceptible yet graceful decline when neither boom nor bust pressures are immediately at the forefront. By contrast the best cities which we regard as global models, the

relative feeling of comfort is not enough. They say ‘It is not OK to be OK’. The characteristics of ambitious cities are complex and not all are present in every city all of the time. Yet the trajectory and overall balance is clear. The main qualities of cities of ambition follow. They appear here as a simple list yet the reality in the cities surveyed were struggles to achieve success. In most cases it was difficult to become ambitious. Tradition dies hard especially when places had their reputations built on former assets such as an industry, a resource or set of circumstances and even a culture. Views and ways of doing things entrench. They become a mindset. Those who are part of a city’s former achievements tend to resist change unless they have foresight. Many leaders described how there were blockers and entrenched interests , how people and institutions tried to create obstacles, and how many were unable to think in terms of the bigger picture. People often had to be moved on and there was resistance. Often the change makers struggled. There are few places where being ambitious is a natural way of life. How do ambitious cities generate these qualities and this drive? The qualities highlighted were:

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Taipei: A city of ambition

Courage, tenacity & boldness Crisis is seen as an opportunity to take responsibility, be bold and to look at things afresh. Ambitious places recognize a business as usual approach will not get them to where they need to be as they understand how the operating dynamics of cities are changing and that new competitive resources are coming to the fore. They look at the bigger picture, they think forward and plan backwards. Their thinking is strategic. They assess the future in the broadest terms. They exhibit foresight and awareness beyond the confines of their own discipline, field and interests and are conscious that they are helping to future-proof their city. Their city leaderships, public and private, create a crisis of ambition this is a crisis of a special kind. With a normal crisis threats loom sharply and action is required, but for others not so alert there is the ‘frog in boiling water’ threat. The problems can then be addressed too late.

Progressive administration Good urban governance is regarded as the sine qua of success as is using resources effectively. The administration is seen as transparent, clear and focused. They are well-organized. Working with other leaders they create mature, motivated partnerships with private and third sector organizations. This increasingly becomes the norm. They are not only collegiate, but collaborative and so make the most of their potential. The rules and incentives system are adapted to the emerging vision of the city rather than existing rules constraining potential. They think through new financing mechanisms to achieve objectives. This enhances the ability to construct more flexible mechanisms to achieve the complex deals focused on creating public interest outcomes.

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Intergenerational collaboration the way of the future.

Farsighted vision Being farsighted and understanding global dynamics is considered a central leadership virtue to achieve ambitions. The ability to place the possibilities for the city in a broader context and how they fit in is vital. Being strategically principled and tactically flexible helps frame the city’s modus operandi guided by a determined delivery focus. There is an ability to tell a story of place and how everyone might fit in. The capacity to orchestrate the short, less expensive and easier initiatives with longer term, less easy and more expensive ones is crucial is achieve momentum and to add value.

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Adelaide Airport and a new level of sensory aesthetics.


Taipei: A city of ambition

Honest about realities A realistic assessment and deep understanding of economic prospects and problems shapes strategic thinking and develops urgency. There is an openness and transparency about overcoming obstacles. Programmes exist to help bring people from the old economy into the new.

Widespread leadership Departments and sectors are willing to work together and to develop a culture of collaboration. Integrated thinking, planning and acting is seen as vital. Interdisciplinary working is encouraged and an understanding that not all wisdom is to be found within the public administration and thus cooperation with many stakeholders is the key to success. Leadership is seen as a discipline and resource that can be learnt and overrides power play. There are possibilities of creating widespread leadership groupings with decision making communities in public and private walks of life. These have a forward focus, whether they are teachers, public servants, transports chiefs, middle and higher management in industry and business, or community organisers, or those in the artistic world. There are many leaders and many levels of leadership. There are dynamic and forward looking people of quality in every sector providing a strong sense of vision for the place, meaning that there is deep awareness of current trends and emerging developments and their implications. The culture and leadership style is inspiring, able to delegate and be empowering to others. Things are accessible. These leaders describe an achievable yet ambitious future that acts as a compelling and involving story, be it a vision for the city or region, or a business venture or educational programme. There is professional pride and this is infectious.

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Sophisticated learning landscapes The move to the knowledge intensive economy demands outward looking learning institutions adept at understanding how new learning and communications systems work. A culture of debate fosters an environment of openness and this is encouraged by awards, recognition schemes and the encouragement of experimental practices. A culture of self-development, learning and foresight is encouraged with appropriate mechanisms to match. Learning does not only happen in universities, but also other settings such as centres of excellence or professional development contexts.

Harnessing all talents Cities have a talent attraction and retention strategy and nurture and mobilize the ideas, talents and creative organizations in their city in order to keep the young and gifted. Ladders of opportunity are created to generate good transitions between the world of learning and work. Often this involves setting up incubation and co-working networks and centres of excellence. The link between research worlds and industry is productive. Younger cohorts are encouraged to grow through mentoring programmes in the public and private sectors so that leadership qualities cascade down the organizational structure.

Bi-partisanship & active citizens Bi-partisanship on the major issues concerning the city is seen as crucial both within the political class as well as with the private sector. This involves bringing public and private partners together on jointly agreed agendas. Citizens are activated on a larger scale and initiatives exist to seek their involvement as shapers, makers and co-creators.

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TedxTaipei office fostering the new creativity.

Collaborating across boundaries Creating an environment that opens up opportunities and not seeking to control sensible proposals and activities too much is a core ethos. well-respected multi-disciplinary ‘thinking brain’ for the city made up of private and public sector partners is seen as essential. Part of their work is sophisticated auditing of urban assets and resources and obstacles to success. This evaluation happens on a continuing basis.

Transparent, inclusive processes There is a well balanced combined top-down and bottom-up approach that recognizes both the value of citizens and external specialists. he public institutions combine a listening capacity yet simultaneously are willing to be bold and have a clear standpoint when necessary. A default position exists to involve people and organizations even though it takes more time, yet with an understanding that this helps create resilience.

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Hubs & hotspots Creating areas where critical mass can be established focused on niches like a designated business district or the creative economy sectors. Spreading renewal initiatives across the city to create alternative hotspots. Developing a networked incubator and breeding ground strategy.

Balancing the big & small Not being too focused on creating single big icons at the expense of taking budgets from other initiatives. Seeking to avoid overwhelming and over scale comprehensive development schemes. Creating master planning frameworks that allow for a diversity of housing choices. Orchestrating well thought through smaller initiatives that collectively represent a larger icon and celebrating the fine grain.

Mainstream & alternative Being relaxed about encouraging alternatives that challenge the status quo. Instituting a balanced support structure to ensure creativity is embedded in how the urban dynamic evolves. Celebrating imagination, creativity and imagination through award schemes and recognition programmes.

Diversity & openness Highlighting and working with the diversity advantage. Fostering a culture of openness and ensuring this is manifested in all areas of public life. Expressing diversity in the built form.

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Taipei: A city of ambition

Highlighting cultural distinctiveness Identifying the unique, special and distinctive and promoting this accordingly. Using cultural programmes as an attractor and thus helping develop a strategy of confidence. Using artistic interventions to generate a sense of wonder and using the city as a stage and canvas to express itself Orchestrating a calendar with locally derived and internationally oriented events.

Measuring against the best Good mechanisms exist to gather information on good practices and innovative solutions from around the globe, such as research centres and collaborative devices such as cluster networks, specialist hubs or centres of excellence. All parties are alert and scan the horizon in their respective sectors, actively looking out for the next important thing in their respective domains – currently there is likely to a significant involvement in things green. Pride in place helps the city share a common agenda.

Strategically opportunistic They are strategically agile knowing when and how to seize opportunities, for which they have already created a state of preparedness. Creating a bidding machine constantly alert to opportunities. They see the planning process as continuous and not as a one off activity. They survey the world to pick up projects that further their purposes. Bidding for the World Design Capital is an example. These are assessed in terms of the legacy they can build and how they can take the city forward.

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High quality physical environments There is recognition that urban quality is vital in inspiring motivation, commitment and loyalty to place. There is a good balance between old and new physical structures, and recognition of the value of heritage and how the old can stimulate the new. There are rental and purchase opportunities at different price points and there are housing choices to meet different levels of income. Public transport and accessibility are well developed allowing for seamless connectivity and walkability, and wi-fi connectivity is ubiquitous. An understanding of the environments and physical settings that attract young innovators.

Perception & marketing Projecting a compelling story of place globally and where it is going in a sophisticated manner. Bringing in the media as a collaborator to communicate broader goals. Supporting new forms of communications including with social media strategies. Working on the image and perception of their city focusing on how they are contemporary and cutting edge.

Delivering on promises Identifying game changers that create a new dynamic can be significant. Most importantly ambitious places get things done. They ‘walk the talk’. The real life examples of things achieved really matter. This makes invisible assets and achievements visible. These inspire and help develop a culture of continuous improvement and mutual learning. It provides confidence. This allows ambitious cities ‘to punch above their expected weight’.

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End not e

Endnote

A new period is beginning and Taipei has an opportunity to address some entrenched problems. All parties, public, private and community, need to think, plan and act differently in order to redevelop renewed trust, mutual respect and an understanding of the capacities and roles of each partner. The public bureaucracy needs to made fit for 21st century conditions and must work in a far more cross-departmental way. Partnership working internally and externally needs to become Taipei’s daily practice. This will help create an integrated talent retention and attraction policy and good support for established and younger companies or start-ups. It will help too in making Taipei more interesting, successful, balanced and prosperous with its city making less determined purely by land values where blending the old and new creates a good synergy. In making this happen the public sector should play an important role in encouraging innovation externally and in its own workings. The proposed Creativity Platform can be a powerful vehicle to harness the collective imagination of Taipei helping to orchestrate the energetic forces, young and older, who wish Taipei well.

Sydney blending nature into Jean Nouvel's building.

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Taipei: A city of ambition

Jumpstarting a New Era

Global cities are competing ever more fiercely in the contemporary era and in that context city government needs to take on more responsibility for the city’s identity and positioning, for the health of its local industries and for overall competitiveness. The municipal government alone can fully meet the talent needs of the city, and directly respond to these through appropriate resources and support. In the traditional division of public duties of the past, economic development was regarded as part of national policy. The role of the municipal government was simplified to be the mere messenger and executioner of national policies. It was always difficult to position the city properly and to develop urban resources to meet its talent demand. Given the international talent movement and development of new economic models, the traditional division of public duties can no longer sufficiently answer to the needs of the new era. Conversations and interactions with Taipei’s creative talents of all ages from different areas over the past three years, have made us aware that Taipei’s new energy is based on creating lifestyle industries focusing on quality of life which emphasize peoples’ unique personal traits. Micro-startups increasingly act as a realization of personal life values, and social enterprises striving for public welfare have also become a vital sector in Taipei. Simply put, a new era of the cooperative, co-creative, and sharing economy has arrived, which is unlike any traditional economic model.

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Ep ilo gue : Jum pst art ing a Ne w Era

Ta i p e i , n e w u r b a n design juxtposed with the old.

In Taipei, many organizations have noticed the global trend that highlights the importance of the creative economy, which includes the new media industries, digital culture, the design and arts sectors, and have taken on their unique networking and international connections driven approach. Taipei should take advantage of this new global trend and utilize its potential talents by establishing a swift, agile and open platform to provide assistance and support with minimum intervention. At the same time, we should make flexible use of Taiwan’s ICT prowess to give rise to a mobile revolution By employing the collective wisdom of the new era and supporting the provision of a co-working environment we can encourage the formation of a sharing economy. We need to create a collaborative network that is intertwined and, at the same time, omnipresent, in order to form an innovative creative culture. We should also foster and facilitate the development of social enterprises, and consider the application of open data. Simultaneously, we should get the skills within the creative economy to infiltrate local industries and commerce, planting seeds that will jumpstart the transformation of our industrial environment and injecting the energy to revitalize itself. The creative economy is poised to take off in Taipei, and we need an incremental jumpstart to honestly face the insufficiencies in existing laws and mechanisms. By respecting the necessity for openness and inclusiveness, and understanding the freedom and independence needed by creative talents of whatever age group we can break new ground with courage and thus support innovation with agility. We

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Taipei: A city of ambition

need to change the traditional concept of growth that emphasizes only efficiency and quantity and endorse brave attempts that challenge existing values. We should encourage new generations to pursue the basic value of self-realization and help build a creative atmosphere that can be experienced and participated in, and provide all kinds of networking opportunities. This way the creative economy of the next generation will naturally be nurtured in Taipei! Now, we shall take a ride with this global trend, and build this new economy with warmth and foster an urban experience that can be felt! Or more simply put, a happier economy! This way, we hope the younger generation can fulfill their dreams and lead a happier life!

Lin Chung-Chieh Director of Economic Development Department

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Taipei's alleys have potential with a little imagination.


Acknowledgement

This third publication is the follow up to the books 2012 “Talented Taipei & the Creative Imperative” and 2014 “A Creativity Platform: Harnessing the Collective Imagination of Taipei” where we highlighted the city’s main asset is in its creative talent pool. These three publications were made possible by the substantial time and effort from many individuals, representing both the public and private sectors. Our task force expresses its sincere appreciation from their input, without which the depth and unique qualities of Taipei would not have been evident to us, nor the direction for the future development of a more creative Taipei.

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