創意平台:臺北,邁向城市3 0英文版0813

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Har nes sin g the col lec tive ima gin atio n of Tai pei

A Cr eativ ity Platf orm : Har n es s in g t he c ollec tive im ag in atio n of Taipei


Charles Landry

A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei


Urban Regeneration Office Taipei City


Lin Chung-Chieh

Editorial supervision

Chien Yu-Lung, Chang Wen-Te, Hsu Yen-Hsing,

Production coordination

Bamboo Culture International Ltd.


Charles Landry


Anne Yao

Chief editors

Margaret Shiu, Lin Shen-feng

Executive editors

Catherine Lee, Anne Yao, Mike Ho

Graphic design

Fortune House Studio

Image acknowledgements

Urban Regeneration Office Taipei City,

Hsieh Ming-Tong, Wu Ming-Chiu

A group of young professionals discussing the future of Taipei.

Charles Landry, Village Taipei, Anne Yao



March 2014




A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

Preface: Enhancing the creative ecology of Taipei

Eight years ago I had a vision for Taipei’s potential. Now, I am proud to see it slowly coming to fruition and blossoming in many ways. It has not been an easy path. Along the way, we have encountered many obstacles typical of the complex workings of city government, obstacles which required understanding and reassessment by various ministries and also the public. Such is the role of the government—as facilitator of progress. And as Taiwan’s capital, Taipei is the weathervane for such headwinds. At times, it does seem as if the bureaucratic process hampers our efforts, but administrative procedures are important and must be followed. We must understand where our city’s unique potential lies and which way to steer, so as not to be left behind by the changing tides of local and global events. Charles Landry is our creative city advisor. I greatly admire the work he has done for Taipei. His evaluation of our city’s creative ecology, both hard and soft, suggests that our greatest asset lies in the city’s creative milieu, which has attracted a large pool of highly educated and internationally connected individuals from Taiwan and overseas. Taken as a whole, these professionals represent the potential to embed creativity deep in our economy in ways that will not merely improve the aesthetic aspects of our urban environment, but will also be the key to the economic survival of our city and even the entire country. As is apparent from the cases presented in this booklet, the future for modern cities lies in nurturing and harnessing the diversity of creative start-ups. The example set by these international cities should serve as a guide for our development trajectory. Many similar programs have already been initiated in Taiwan, but more work needs to be done in order to coordinate the efforts of the various ministries involved. We also need to cooperate with local private and nonprofit organizations to understand and support these creative suggestions and initiatives. Taipei must use professional leadership from nongovernment sectors 4

Brigthening up the

window of

the local representatives office.

Pre fac e

to move forward, and the city government must also synergize with these efforts in order to revitalize Taipei. Charles’s suggestion of a public interface in the form of a Creativity Platform will help bring in the input our city needs. Charles’s frequent visits over the past two years has given him a deeper understanding of our city and its creative environment and enabled him to propose specific and coordinated interventions in the public and private sectors. This will ensure that Taipei is fully capable of accommodating the talents of creative professionals from home and abroad, so that our city is turned into a thriving creative capital. The IT industry in Taiwan has evolved from v1.0 (focusing on system hardware), through v2.0 (software applications) and is now heavily in v3.0 (digital content and global connectivity). To meet our structural needs, our city must likewise be transformed and turned towards a version 3.0, and for this we need the awareness of citizens and government administrators. Our city’s core of young leaders have evolved far beyond the v1.0 bureaucratic system and are moving towards v3.0, a system in which mutual interests are aligned symbiotically with the city. Taipei’s winning the 2016 World Design Capital and 2017 Universiade have shown us our chance to reap the exponential burst of creative energy and creation from our talented young professionals. In our unique insight into modern living, Taipei the Creative City has much to show everyone around the world. With my sincere appreciation.

Lung-Bin Hau Mayor of Taipei City 5

A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei


Preface: Enhancing the creative ecology of Taipei




Setting the stage


Taipei: Towards a City 3.0


The City 1.0


The City 2.0


The City 3.0


Misalignment & disconnection


The Creativity Platform


The Taipei creative eco-system map


Foreign examples



Creative Quarter strategy Creative Quarters development agency


Epilogue: We are on the way




It takes courage to shift how a society operates.


A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

Urban graffiti tries to

Summary Taipei stands at the cusp of a rare opportunity to fulfil its powerful potential. It cannot be grasped by a business as usual approach. To make the most of its assets and resources requires a shift in aspiration, and will, as well as new thinking, organization and management. Taipei needs to tap into, nurture and unleash its existing skills and competences at every level as well as bring in new skills and talents especially those of the younger generation. This cannot happen overnight and will take some time to unfold in its fullness. Strategic decisions need to be taken urgently to set in place the pre-conditions to maximize possibilities and to address the escalating level of competition between cities. This will help make Taipei more magnetic and put it more firmly onto the global map. Every shift in the means of economic wealth creation creates its own specific order and dynamics, thus current global trends require a different kind of city. There is a trajectory of urban development and in simple terms we can describe this as the City 1.0, the City 2.0 and the City 3.0. The first is focused on getting the hardware of the city to work well and Taipei has achieved this, sometimes in admirable ways. The second understands how the hardware and software of the city work together and how the city feels from an emotional and sensory perspective. The priority here is to enhance the urban experience, its quality of life and liveability. The aim for Taipei now is to become a City 3.0 and this requires a different level of inventiveness in order to harness the collective imagination of Taipei. The City 3.0 is more innovative, inspiring, inclusive, interactive and integrated in its approach.


Sum me ry

beautify infrastructure.

Leading global cities understand the need for a culture of creativity, as this is a new form of currency. They welcome a culture of collaboration and partnership. If Taipei follows their lead it will be able to expand on its strengths, its prospects and its effectiveness. Of special importance is the need to combine Taiwan’s precision and technically skilled crafts people and engineers with the upcoming, younger creative forces. This can make a tremendous contribution to leading Taipei forward. The World Design Capital in 2016 and the Universiade in 2017 are both exciting opportunities to show this new innovative and collaborative spirit within the public sector, between the public and private sector and the city’s research community as well as engaging citizens of all kinds in interesting ways. To bring the potential together a “creativity platform” is proposed. This is an orchestration device made up of people who understand the possibilities and needs of the evolving economy and the priorities of City 3.0. The platform connects the disparate forces in the city to mutual benefit; it helps the younger talent network with older mentors. It is a partnership driven public interest entity with the aim of harnessing and exploiting Taipei’s various talents and especially encouraging an entrepreneurial start-up culture. This will help project Taipei as a versatile, ambitious and imaginative Asian hub. The Creativity Platform, with its cross-disciplinary membership, is more a promoter, advocate and lobbyist rather than an implementer of projects and programmes. The platform will create a voice, clarify needs, bring different creative forces together and highlight strategic opportunities. In parallel to the Platform a Creative Quarter’s strategy is proposed. The aim is to cluster activities in varying parts of the city in order to encourage the development of hotspots where creative forces and those that will in part drive the future Taipei economy, can gather and create synergies.


Setting the stage Set ting the sta ge

Taipei is in the midst of a significant transition in seeking to enhance its opportunities and prospects. In so doing it wishes to change perceptions of the city positively both for citizens and in the outside world. This has involved trying to understand the deeper trends and dynamics now shaping cities world-wide and how Taipei can make these work in its favour. In this process of reflection Taipei has collectively begun to appreciate that the opportunities a city creates, its sense of a ‘can do’ atmosphere and how stimulating it feels increasingly determines its overall vitality and chances of being a compelling city that is viable and competitive. This will make Taipei more magnetic and help put it onto the global map. These new trends require a different kind of city.



are always overseeing us all from high


Each urban era has its predominant and distinctive function, form and feeling. A city’s physical form and atmosphere follows its economic role and purposes and consequently the world of cities is changing dramatically in response to the new economic conditions globally and drivers of wealth creation. To plan, manage and operate an industrial city is different from planning a city where creating knowledge intensive products and services or being creative or eco logical priorities are key. In the one people are seen simply as units of mechanical production. Here the city is conceived of more as a machine for production and for living in. Taipei still lives with the legacy of this kind of thinking. In the creative city by contrast decision-makers focus on those who generate ideas and inventions and how they perceive what makes a good city and what needs they have. Stimulus, opportunity, a ‘can do’ attitude, buzz and atmosphere are some of the watchwords. The central issue becomes how a city leadership creates the pre-conditions and tolerance for people to think, plan and act with imagination. Attracting and retaining talent becomes crucial and this issue was widely addressed in


A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

the first publication of this series called ‘Talented Taipei & the Creative Imperative’. The task then is to develop a mechanism to identify, nurture, bring together and harness the skills, expertise and talents of Taipei. This is crucial to help make Taipei a more resilient city. In the older economy large firms dominated the economy. In the newer economy SMEs and micro businesses play a more significant role. They are often the content creators that add value to products and services. They often form alliances, networks and co-operative arrangements to operate more effectively. It is they who are driving many of the innovations, especially in high tech areas, that will help secure Taipei’s prosperity. Yet the thinking and regulations and incentives regime has not as yet been fully adapted to the new conditions. The role of micro firms and how they operate in particular is not sufficiently understood. Here the creative economy sectors such as design, performance and social media are more important. As independent sectors such as music or film they are significant, but even more in terms of their spin-offs and adding value to other sectors and their products and services. They help create the so-called experience economy where products and services are given extra qualities and symbolic value often derived from Taiwanese distinctiveness. These micro firms operate across the spectrum from fully professional companies to lifestyle businesses and even to semivolunteer working. Many align strongly to various artistic fields and draw their inspiration from them. Divisions between work and recreation are often blurred and many take on a number of projects simultaneously as part of a portfolio of work. Their preferred habitats are areas with an urban buzz - especially older, often industrial structures which they can re-use and recycle and where history is etched into its physical fabric. Equally popular are the alleys and lane ways that still mark out Taipei as special and is part of what attracts the outside world. Unfortunately many of these are under threat. The places are often flexible, rented out on shorter term leases and part of co-working offices. Here social and work life can blur and third spaces, neither being at home or in an office, become more important.


Taipei really recycles everything to the last bit.

Their ethos is a world away from traditional corporate offices and its lifestyle or the kind of science parks so popular in the 1990’s. For them a lively, multi-layered city is key. Largely driven by a new generation of younger people where lifestyle can be more important than a traditional job. As digital natives they are networked in completely different ways from digital immigrants (the older generation). Representatives from the micro-sector are clearly not the only creative people in Taipei, suffice it mention those who created the Taiwanese high tech revolution as one instance. However, they remain underacknowledged and they need to connect better with the mainstream Taipei economy and the mainstream Taipei economy in turn needs to understand their potential for the city.


Every city and country is struggling to transform itself from a focus on mass industrial production to the knowledge and digitally based economy where unique content and an international market orientation is key especially given Taiwan’s small domestic market. Taiwan’s special opportunity is its unique background, for instance, in ‘refined living’, lifestyle products, a greater eco-consciousness and in delivering content for the next wave of high tech products. Here we must too be aware of the potential of using Taiwan’s past industrial capacity and capabilities for its present prospects. Taiwan’s precision and technically skilled crafts people and engineers were and still are the back bone of its economy. They can make a tremendous contribution to leading Taipei and Taiwan to the next stage especially if they connect with the new forces associated with the new creative economy activities, such as design led and digital content driven production. They have been uniquely important in developing creative solutions in factories and would be a good source for tapping into creative collaborations with younger creative talents and entrepreneurs. A central task is to bring these two groupings together to share knowledge, resources and solutions to complex problems. Here the example of creating Miniwiz and its eco-house of plastic bottles is crucially important where such a collaboration was vital to its success. Taipei and the national government have clearly addressed some of these issues, such as its policies to encourage start-ups or in assessing the creative industry sectors, but perhaps less in an integrated manner. For instance, the importance of software applications and content creation are key to Taipei’s prospects. Unfortunately many of the larger Taiwanese companies buy these in from the outside or foreign companies simply use Taiwanese skills as sub-contractors. This means that Taiwan and Taipei gain far less profits from the value added created or are less involved in the strategic activities such as research. Grafting the established high There are tech sectors and newer sectors together is a major opportunity. still precision

skills in this c o r n er s h o p.

To assess what is happening in Taipei in the world of SMEs, micro businesses and new economy companies we developed a creative eco-system map of activities and organizations as well as a spatial map to show areas of spatial concentrations. This is explored in detail below and reveals a rich landscape and an analysis of this map has shaped our recommendations. 15

Taipei: Towards a City 3.0

Tai pei : Tow ard s a Cit y 3.0

There is a very simple and useful way to characterize the different phases of urban development in the post-war period. Every shift in the means of economic wealth creation creates a new social order, a new type of city, new ways of learning and things to learn and new settings in which learning takes places. It requires different cultural capabilities.

A great vista of hard engineering w i t h

l i t t l e

visual delight.

We can call the historic city we have inherited from the past ‘The City 0.0’ there then follows a sequence of ‘The City 1.0’, ‘The City 2.0’ and ‘The City 3.0’. This is a conceptual framework to aid understanding. It is important for both politicians and public officials together as well as the other sectors to consider where Taipei stands and what to do to make the shift. Taipei needs to move decisively from a 1.0 city to a 3.0 city. Below is a thumbnail sketch of some of their features.

The City 1.0 We can portray ‘The City 1.0’ in a stereotypical way as follows: The main symbol of this urban type is the large factory and mass production; the mental model is the city as a machine; the management and organizational style is hierarchical and top down; structures are siloed, vertical with strong departments and there is little if any partnership; the method of acquiring knowledge is by rote learning and repetition; there is a low tolerance of failure; functions, such as working, living and leisure, are separated; there is little understanding of aesthetics. There is a parallel planning version of 1.0 which focuses largely on land-uses; comprehensive development is the preferred modus operandi; and participation is low and not encouraged. Transport 1.0 is largely focused on making the city suitable for the car and pedestrians seem less important. This results in ugly road infrastructures. Culture 1.0 concentrates mainly on traditional forms; cultural institutions dominate; it is reliant on patronage


A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

Many now realize we must rethink the way we operate.

either by wealthy individuals or by the public sector; audiences are quite narrow with elites being the main participants, although folk events are widely popular; culture is seen as detached from commerce. Overall this is the rational, ordered, technically focused and segregated city. It is the hardware focused ‘urban engineering paradigm’ for city making. It reflects a mental attitude and approach to life. It had its highpoints from the 1960’s to 1980’s. Unfortunately residues of this approach still exist both in terms of how people go about their business and in terms of the institutions and physical fabric that is still built today. The latter is essentially soulless, rather ugly and lacking any inspiration. These approaches may have been very productive, efficient and relevant to their time, but not anymore. In relation to Taipei there are unfortunately still some construction companies that fall into the City 1.0 category. They seem to care little about aesthetic considerations or the wider context in which they are building and the result is ugly and emotionally unsatisfactory. Competitive cities globally have usually instituted mechanisms to lift building standards and quality criteria through initiatives such as ‘design review boards’. Equally cities regarded as models such as Vancouver, Seattle, Copenhagen or Amsterdam strenuously seek to ensure that they are leading the way by focusing on the wider public interest by highlighting urban design, walkability or quality of life issues

The City 2.0 ‘The City 2.0’ by contrast 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; learning systems open out. There is greater awareness of the need to integrate disciplines. The mental model sees issues as more connected and this urban form 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. 18

There is also an attempt to make the city more spectacular by using new bizarre architectural forms produced by a roving band of nomadic starchitects. Gleaming glass towers proliferate, bold shapes break out of traditional patterns of the square box; skyscrapers explode onto the landscape, some with good public spaces. Vast retailing, entertainment or cultural centres try to bewitch, enchant and seduce you; citizens become more like customers and consumers. Yet there is also a move to reflect human need and human scale. How people interact rises up the agenda. The city becomes a canvas and stage for activities. Planning 2.0 is more consultative. It sees the city in a more rounded way by linking the physical, the social and economic and the notion of transport 2.0 becomes more about mobility and connectivity. The city is less car dominated, walkability and pedestrian friendly street design with buildings close to the street become a priority; as do tree-lined streets or boulevards; or street parking and hidden parking lots. This 2.0 city seeks to reinsert mixeduse and diversity of shops, offices, apartments, and homes. It encourages too a diversity of people - of ages, income levels, cultures, and races.

Bright lights around the 101 area.

These dumplings have become a new tradition.

Respect for ecology and the value of natural systems rise as do the use of eco-friendly technologies and energy efficiency. More local production is in evidence. There is more emphasis on distinctiveness, aesthetics, human comfort, and creating a sense of place. Culture 2.0 shifts focus. There is a greater awareness of the power of creative economy sectors and the link between the arts and their role in the broader economy; culture becomes a competitive tool, it is used to encourage urban regeneration and revitalization; this increases the popularity of museums and galleries in the quest to change the city’s image; activating street life and promoting festivals becomes part of the cultural repertoire. At the same time community driven arts projects proliferate as part of a growing movement of engagement and inclusion. 21

A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

Considering Taipei one feels the city government is currently somewhere between the City 1.0 and 2.0 with some notable exceptions. A number of key players understand how the world of cities is evolving towards a 3.0 environment, but are constrained in their capacity to act. This requires some self-reflection so that the situation can change. Similar conclusions apply to the private sector.

The City 3.0 ‘The City 3.0’ goes one step further, it takes on the virtues of City 2.0, and is based on harnessing the collective imagination and intelligence of citizens in making, shaping and co-creating their city. It can be called ‘soft urbanism’ as it takes into account the full sensory experience of the city. In making the city it considers the emotional impact of how people experience the built fabric and thus 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. It is an adaptive city that through its flexibility in operating itself has more chances to become resilient and to future-proof itself. Organizationally it is more flexible; horizontal and cross-sector working become the norm. There is a recognition that in order to succeed we must sometimes fail. Thus there is a greater tolerance of risk. Learning and self-development are crucial to the City 3.0. In the City 1.0 knowledge institutions remained factories to drill in knowledge rather than communities of enquiry; they taught specific things rather than acquiring higher order skills such as learning how to learn, to create, to discover, innovate, problem solve and self-assess. These are all attributes that artists are good at. This is more likely to trigger and activate wider ranges of intelligences. This fosters the adaptability to allow the transfer of knowledge between different contexts and how to understand the essence of arguments rather than recall out of context facts. Only then can talent be sufficiently unleashed, explored and harnessed.

Multiple stimulations on the subway platform.


A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

The City 3.0 too recognizes that encouraging entrepreneurship is key to making the city of the future work. Thus in Economy 3.0 creativity and innovation capacity rise in importance and the system fosters a startup culture. Open innovation systems often drive development processes and there is collaborative competition. Micro-businesses and SMEs have far greater importance and the key players are very tech-savvy. These companies have greater impact when they can connect with mainstream industry to mutual advantage. This urban form is concerned with creating cultural and physical environments which provide the conditions for people to be creative. Thus its industrial emblem is the creative zone or creative quarter.

The alternative scene sends out its message.

‘Third places’ become important, which are places neither at home or an office where it is possible to work on the move. This is part of the ‘here and there’ and ‘anywhere and anytime’ phenomena, which is a characteristic of our age. A creative place can be a room, a building, a street, a neighbourhood, yet a creative quarter implies more than one structure. Typically they are anchored around one the several hundred old warehouses, breweries; train or bus stations or textile factories that have been rejuvenated the world over. They resonate since they exude memory and physically their spaces are large, adaptable and flexible. This is key since part of this world is a pop-up culture where activities appear overnight and then disappear. Things are less solid and permanent. Planning 3.0 moves away from a strict land-use focus and is more integrative as it brings together economic, cultural, physical and social concerns. Mixed use is crucial to its planning ethos. It works in partnership and finds interesting methods of participation. It recognizes that planning is increasingly concerned with mediating differences between complex issues such as fostering urban growth whilst containing the downsides of gentrification. Citizen participation in decision making is encouraged and it takes a holistic approach to identifying opportunities and to solving problems. This ranges from rethinking how policy is made to developing an appropriate regulations and incentives regime that helps fulfil aims like becoming a green city or ‘cradle to cradle’ thinking. Indeed being eco-conscious is part of a new common sense. Equally the idea of being intercultural is vital. This city 3.0 recognizes that talent attraction is as important as talent retention. Thus immigration laws are adapted to attract the best from the world.


Old windows are now hot collectibles.

3D printers can make you anything you can imagine.


This 3.0 city uses the available technologies to create smart applications. These are interoperable, immersive self-regulating and interactive devices that tell us how our city is going in real time. These help visualize and track the city in motion. The aim is to use the technical capacities to create a smart economy, smart mobility, a smart living environment. Making this happen requires smart grids and sensors, open participatory and open data platforms and apps for city services. These help monitor aims like being sustainable. It seeks to have a complete and integrated view of city systems such as energy, transport, health and employment by analysing, gathering citizen feedback and leveraging information across all city agencies and departments to make better decisions. The aim is to anticipate problems, such as traffic bottlenecks or excess energy use, in order to minimise the impact of disruptions to city services and operations. Transport 3.0 moves from a sole mobility focus to thinking about seamless connectivity. This is only possible with smart and rethought governance, where it is necessary to coordinate cross-departmental and cross-agency resources to respond to issues rapidly and in an integrated way. Sensitivity to small details is crucial.

VVG got it right in its mix and mash of tastes and retrostyle.

Culture 3.0 increasingly sees people make their own culture. They are less passive consumers and challenge themselves to enhance their own expressive capacities; they often remix existing work and playfully recreate. They even delve into the source code which in turn enhances their curiosity. Culture is performed in more unusual settings – the street, a local cafÊ or a pop-up venue. These overall trends within the City 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 clearly overlap. Many still display a 1.0 mindset in a world that increasingly operates at 3.0. Planning still has older features as do some working in transport or related disciplines. The cultural institutions of 1.0 co-exist with those people who live a 3.0 cultural lifestyle and thus they need to adapt. A number of cities are worthy of tracking for Taipei as they have already made some of the important shifts across the board to the City 3.0. Examples include: Barcelona, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Melbourne and Singapore.


Misalignment & disconnection

Mis alig nm ent & dis con nec tion

The major faultline for Taipei is the misalignment between an evolving 3.0 world and its economy, culture and social dynamics and its existing operating system that still has several 1.0 features. This creates tensions and misunderstanding and this disconnection needs to be overcome. There is a large grouping in Taipei, not merely defined by age, that can operate globally, is widely connected and networked, that understands the new business models driven by the internet where ideas sharing is more prominent, which thrives in an open innovation environment and often has a portfolio career. To operate well they require a responsive regulations and incentives regime. For instance, they need flexible office leasing or rental arrangements geared to project focused work rather than being locked into longer term contracts. Or they need sympathetic banks or subsidy schemes who appreciate the nature of emerging companies and their ways of working. They require an urban aesthetic that appeals far more strongly to the senses and where citizens are not merely passive consumers. It also needs to combine places of calm and tranquillity as well as stimulation. The watchword is local buzz and ‘global pipelines’. The operating criteria of mainstream companies in construction, retailing, hospitality and related fields as well as the public administration need to be far more sophisticated in understanding peoples’ future wants and desires. A classic Taipei view - somehow it destroys the urban fabric.

The criteria adopted for success and failure or the priorities and weighting given to aspects of urban development differ substantially in the city 1.0 contrasted to the city 3.0. In the first the need to get basic infrastructures in place was crucial. Taipei has achieved this. It now operates 29

A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

within a global context where standards and expectations are far higher. New concepts and resources are coming into play such as an ‘intercultural city’, which seeks to bring people from varying backgrounds together across cultural differences since talent resources can come from anywhere and Taipei needs to treat the world as its talent pool and not only Taiwan. Or: To prioritize ‘healthy urban planning’ - a form of planning that helps makes you healthy, by its focus on walkability and good urban design, by just navigating the city in day to day ways rather than needing to go to a gym. Or: Fostering an invigorated democracy and governance regime as good governance is increasingly seen as a vital competitive tool in city making. An orchestration device is needed to maximize the possibilities of those who understand the needs of the evolving economy and the priorities of city 3.0. This also needs to harness the disparate grouping of largely smaller creative entities and to connect them to mainstream industry to mutual benefit. This will help them network and link with older mentors. This process will highlight how important they are to Taipei’s future; and to lobby for a variety of legislative changes that can help them grow. We call this the Creativity Platform . A platform is a central communications nodal point, a gathering place, or a portal. Its central feature is that it creates networking effects that escalate potential and grows benefits to those involved. It is an infrastructure from which opportunities can emerge. In parallel to this Platform we propose a Creative Quarter’s strategy. The aim is to cluster activities in varying parts of the city in order to encourage the development of hotspots where creative forces and those that will in part drive the future Taipei economy can gather and create synergies.

Yo u n g p e o p l e enjoying their moment in a micro-corner of



c i t y.

The Creativity Platform The Cre ativ ity Pla tfo


There is a degree of urgency about setting up a’ creativity platform’ as it needs to play a leadership role in bringing together important creative forces in Taipei and to help shift Taipei towards being a City 3.0. The aim of the platform is to establish and nurture an integrated and composed set of actions in Taipei. These should show how creative thinking and imaginative problem solving can generate new opportunities and strengthen the conditions for prosperity. Its goal is to foster openness about creative approaches to city visioning, to managing the city itself by a greater focus on partnership and in developing Taipei’s physical infrastructure and attractiveness. The objective is to harness and exploit Taipei’s various talents and to help provide economic opportunities and an entrepreneurial start-up culture as well as to project Taipei as a versatile, ambitious and imaginative Asian hub. Crucially the Platform should help make this a reality. The ‘Creativity Platform’ is a public interest entity. Driven by the private sector it should be a public, private and third sector growth partnership, with a third of members from each sector – industry, pubic officials and other interesting individuals. It should seek to operate beyond the political fray. Seen as a task force it should be cross disciplinary with experienced business people from high tech, the creative industry sectors, finance and investment and property development as well as representatives from the foreign community who are committed to Taipei’s well-being. In addition young energetic start-ups or innovative cultural projects should be centrally part of the organization. The public sector representatives should encompass the planning, cultural and economic fields as well as appropriate representatives from the university world. Its membership, which is in essence an alliance, should contain a wider board and an executive committee supervising the day to day work of staff that should be led by someone of stature and reputation. Additionally interesting other people can be drawn in to help out in various task specific sub-groups. Can Taipei develop a platform?

33 29

A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

The Creativity Platform is more a promoter, advocate and lobbyist rather than an implementer of projects and programmes. The aims of the Creativity Platform are to: Foster mindset change within Taipei’s about the importance of creativity in becoming a more adaptive and resilient city from the economic, administrative and cultural perspective; Help people understand how creativity increasingly determines Taipei’s prospects to survive well in the new economy and to generate the necessary innovations; Open a channel to better understand Taipei’s creative eco-system as described in this publication and to identify and fill gaps and to highlight its importance to the diversity of stakeholders; Develop a better understanding of the role the SMEs and micro sector can play in Taipei’s evolving economy and so to adapt the regulations and incentives regime and to further assess the tax system so that it fosters greater entrepreneurship;

A diverse gathering

in a huddle to discuss

possible sites for talented start ups.

Encourage the growth and development of the venture capital sector and to increase the number of business angels; Help re-assess education and training methods as well as the curriculum to ensure that they are geared to unleashing creative potential as well as to encourage mentoring programmes; Ensure that Taipei provides a coherent ladder of opportunity for people coming out of education and into the market as successful companies; Create understanding of the kind of city Taipei needs to be and become to retain and attract its best expertise and talents; Promote and advocate especially within city government and the development and investment community a better understanding of the global dynamics of cities;


Support any initiatives to create a series of distinctive creative hubs and hotspots within the city that strongly reflect a Taiwanese identity and style whilst being globally oriented; Work in partnership to identify and promote catalytic initiatives, either physical or activity based that help develop a creative environment in Taipei and reflect well on its reputation at home and abroad; Help develop links between Taipei’s high level skills base in precision engineering and the new creative economy sectors. By bringing together the mainstream and emerging, often alternative, sectors mutual benefits will emerge; Assist when appropriate any activities related to Taipei as a World Design Capital.


She can change the neighbourhood instantaneously.

In sum the Creativity platform will create a voice, clarify needs, bring different creative forces together and highlight strategic opportunities. The proposed activities help encourage the mayor’s policy of making Taipei ‘a city for start-ups’. The goal of the creativity agenda is to develop an open-minded, flexible, tolerant mindset that matures into a creative community because it fosters new ideas. Creative thinking that helps develop economic and social innovations drives this process. As much of the initiative is to do with mindset change and is process oriented it will be important to identify projects that exemplify its goals. The Platform needs a paced and purposeful timetabled project plan for the first three years to drive its process. Key ideas need to be chosen that can be catalytic, that communicate well and can be iconic in impact. Its programme should have a mix of easy, short-term low-cost projects and more difficult and expensive long-term ones. This makes it easier to create achievable staging posts along the way and to establish early winners that build confidence and momentum as well as generate the energy to do more difficult tasks. To start the project and to give it drive and focus requires a Creativity Platform Coordinator responsible for driving the agenda forward, coordinating the research and instigating creativity programmes and organizing communications and networking. Additional support staff and sub-contracted work will be needed to continue to build up understanding of the creativity platform, undertake research and to stay in touch with good practice, to learn from elsewhere and to evaluate how the region is doing. The Platform’s strategy of influence aims to give confidence, to raise aspirations and expectations and to unleash potential in the population specially the young. Some of its activities will be high profile like a creativity summit, whereas the large majority will be lower key. Identifying catalytic projects is vital to help generate critical mass and visibility. Here the role of organizations such as URO can be important.


A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

Developing a series of creative hotspots as part of a creative quarter strategy can change perceptions of Taipei and the mood of the city and help provide a focal point. Many of those mentioned in the eco-system map could support this project. There are a number of opportunities on the horizon that will help the creative quarter strategy described below.

The Taipei creative eco-system map This publication seeks to lay the ground work for the Creativity Platform. We have developed a creative eco-system map of activity and organizations as well as a spatial map to show areas of spatial clustering. Assessing this map and the gaps and opportunities is one of the first tasks of the Platform. This will help Taipei understand this world, with a special focus on the micro sector, and its importance better. More of the larger innovative organizations need to be placed into the map in the future and the interactions between smaller and larger entities tracked. It is currently not dynamic and does not show how the various external forces and the entities themselves interact with and upon each other. So far it is a description of a landscape and does not evaluate the merits of each of the initiatives. We hope the map is seen as an active tool to be elaborated, amended and commented upon. Further analysis is required, for instance, where gaps are and what the effectiveness is of various organizations. This is work in progress and in time it will change and it has been created so readers can interrogate the map. In some areas it is just tapping the surface. Crucially it verifies that there is a strong current of activity bubbling up and in some areas there is clustering and synergy both spatially and in terms of joint activity. It validates a sense in Taipei that there is substantial potential although we have not assessed the scale impact. What is clear is that Taipei is following a world trend of micro-startups often vision and mission based rather than with a sure fire business rationale. The eco-system map is useful because it gives a sense of the breadth and depth of activities currently happening in Taipei. It provides an overview at a glance and few people will be aware of the scope of activities. Importantly the question arises whether the different people, initiatives 38

and organizations know about each other and more significantly whether they collaborate. The map also asks us to consider whether there is duplication of activities. The summary chart provides an overview of organizations, schemes and activities. For easy reference they are categorized across a range of areas including: catalyst individuals; model examples; event and exchange platform, such as those which encourage networking, develop start-up events, or help provide new ideas; space providers, including exhibition venues, multi-functional spaces and co-working spaces. Within the broader educational category formal and informal education are listed, as well as incubators and accelerators and advisory services. Finally the funding area is divided into two: government funding and private investors. Catalyst individuals are crucial and have made an important contribution to the emerging vitality of Taipei as well as its special ‘slow lifestyle’ qualities. Without catalyst individuals who show courage, foresight and leadership it is impossible to start creative processes in cities. Inspiring model examples show in tangible terms what can be practically done. In Taipei they come in many forms including some mainstream companies in a diversity of fields from convenience stores, bookshops, creative apps and design, engineering firms, arts companies, to farmers’ portal, discussion forums, etc.. The ‘event, exchange platform category’ helps create a ladder of opportunity for individuals and organizations to showcase their ideas, products and services. The provisional list is a snapshot. This category also contains some important organizations that help promote and showcase Taiwanese creativity as well as connecting to and exploring global trends. Their concern is to make Taipei better known as a creative hub by helping to inspire the city. This grouping represents well the sprinklings of action and the ‘bubbling up phenomenon’ that is evident in Taipei and are part of an evolving tapestry. Many will not survive and that is to be expected. Yet they contribute to the vitality and quality of life of the city and collectively they make it interesting, for different groups of people and it shows that the city is receptive and open.


A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

The provision of space is vital and Taipei already has many well-known facilities such as Hwashan 1914 Creative Park and Songshan Cultural & Creative Park as well as the activities of the Urban Regeneration Stations (URS) and others. However, there remains an increasing demand for space. Co-working spaces are a good exchange and learning environment. In parallel with global trends there is an increased recognition in Taipei of the need to provide office space that is flexible in terms of layout and tenancy arrangements with a particular focus on providing the opportunity to work on time dated projects. Important for this sector is the ability to network with likeminded people in a conducive environment that stimulates cross-fertilization and ideas sharing. Mostly these places have an interesting physical presence. The underpinning of a creative milieu is a rich learning landscape from formal and informal education. Clearly universities play a significant role but not an exclusive one as learning can happen on the job and especially in the new more interactive arenas for self-improvement such as creative hubs or third spaces. Nevertheless the university system has an increasing focus on understanding the dynamics of the creative industries and related entrepreneurship issues and this is to be welcomed and in addition industry education is blossoming.

The new economy has a different operating logic.

Many of the co-working spaces also act as incubators and accelerators with dedicated staff to help with advice or training or to find mentoring links. In addition the spatial map gives a sense of the clustering that is occurring in the city. For instance, we can see that the various organizations listed in our ecosystem map are scattered throughout the centre of the city. When further additions are made it is likely that we can see a trend happening along the main belt of the East West corridor, parallel to the Ban-nan Line. In order to create this map we consulted various groupings including the departments of cultural affairs, urban development, economic development, and the urban regeneration office. The annual design show - naked white fashion design is a bold statement.


A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

Taipei Creative Entrepreneurship Model Examples

Event & Exchange Plateforms

eco-system map

Space Providers


Catalytic Individuals

Established Entreprises

Micro Startups / Social Entreprises

Event & Exchange Plateforms













Aveda Canmeng Institute

Incubation Center of National Taiwan Normal University

National Association of Samll and Medium Enterprises

Small and Medium Enterprise Credit Guarantee Fund of Taiwan

China Development Financial for Creative Industry

& Media




Shih-Chien Univeristy Colleage of Design / Management Creative Industry Phd Entrepreuneurship Program



Stanley Shih

Eslite Bookstore




Hwashan 1914 Creative Park

Stanley Yen



Social Enterprise Insights

Lovely Taiwan Foundation

Songshan Cultural & Creative Park


URS 155-Cooking Together

Center for Creativity and Innovation Studies, National Cheng-chi University

Taiwan Design Center

KdArts of Taipei National University of the Arts

Ministry of Culture, Cultural & Creative Industry Office

Start-up & Incubation of SME Administration, Ministry of Economic Affairs

China Trust Group Venture Capital for Creative Industry

Hung-Tze Jan


Art Yard

CAMPO Creative Market

PChome Online

MOCA Studios

Department of Cultural Affairs Art Space Program

International Entrepreuneurship Hub (IEH) @ Naitonal Cheng-chi University

National Taipei University of Technology, Teaching and Learning Excellence Program

XueXue Institute

Nankang Software Park

Performance Arts Alliance

Micro loan for start-up, SME Administration, Ministry of Economic Affairs

Alumni Fellow Fund of NTU, NTHU & NCTU

Wu Chin-yo

Simple Life

In Bloom

Garage Party


Ming-luen Creativity Campus


Custard Cream

National Taiwan University, Creativity & Entrepreneurship Program

Samll & Medium Enterprise Online Learning Platform

Business Incubation Center of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology

Association of theVisual Arts in Taiwan

Dream come true program (micro loan), Ministry of Culture


Lin Hwai-min

NOVA Design

Fab CafĂŠ

Young Designers' Exhibition


FreeS Art Space

Fablab Taipei

Taipei National University of the Arts International Master of the Arts Program in Cultural and Creative Industry

Youth Career Development Association Entrepreuneurship School

Innovation & Incubation Center of Natioanl Taipei University of Technology

Loan for Young Startup, Ministry of Culture


Wang Ron-wen

DA-Ai Coexist with the earth

The Wall

Street Voice


Taipei Contemporary Art Center

Jin-Shen No. 9

National Taiwan University of Arts

FOTOSOFT Institute of Photography, Taipei.

Innovation Incubation Center of Chengchi University

Landy Chang

Sophie Hong

Riverside (musical events)

Taiwan Designers' Week

Forgemind ArchiMedia

Open Contemporary Art Center

Taipei Co-Space by Economic Development Department

Innovative Center for Cultural and Creative Industries, Tamkang University

Taiwan Film Arts Institute

Lilin Hsu


Very Mainstream Studio

Huashan Living Art Festival

Business Next

Guling Street Avant-Garde Theatre

Hun Co-working Space

Art and Cultural Creation Program of Fu Jen Catholic University

Lucille Han

Living Water Social Ventures

Taipei Fringe Festival

Nanhai Gallery


National Taipei University of Education of The Department of Cultural Creative Industries and Management

Chan Wei-hsiang


Artist Fair

The Cube

LianYun Underground

Chu Ping

Big Issue

Maker Faire

The Cube

Treasure Hill Artist Village

NTU Comic World in Taiwan


e-Commerce Multi-functional

Funding Incubators &

Shopping Design

Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training, Social Economy Development office Innovation & Startups Platform of National Science Council

Start-up Loan from Hi-Tech Promotion Center, Department of Economic Development

Taipei Culture Foundation Creative Development Department



Model Examples


Event & Exchange Plateforms

Space Providers


Incubators & Accelerators

Advisory Services


A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

Foreign examples Many cities have platforms. These come in different forms. In essence their aim is to create synergies, grow potential, create a focus on a particular topic and they usually target a specific area. Developing a cluster in an industrial sector is a platform and this is very common. It has emerged as a central idea in competitiveness, economic development and innovation and its benefits are well known. More recently thinking has gone beyond industry clusters to look at attributes or cross-cutting themes such as ‘knowledge’, ‘design’ or ‘innovation’. Three examples are given: Brainport in the Eindhoven region to represent ‘knowledge’. Helsinki and it broad concept of ‘design’ and the new European Capital of Innovation award scheme concerned with ‘innovative eco-systems’. The latter is similar in thinking to the proposed notion of a ‘creativity platform’. A first example is Brainport Eindhoven Region regarded as the world’s smartest region. A top technology breeding ground for innovation it brings together knowledge businesses, research institutes and design who together try to create and manufacture technologies of the future. Its economic success is a result of unique cooperation among the partners generating a conducive climate for both internationally renowned companies and crucially innovative small and medium-sized enterprises. These companies cooperate with each other and with knowledge institutes by sharing and multiplying knowledge in an open innovation environment. Brainport Development is a new style development agency with a wide ranging group of representatives. Its task is to drive the region forward and to ‘future proof’ it. Helsinki’s design strategy seeks to embed design thinking into everything the city does. There is an interconnected set of initiatives such as a physical Design Quarter, which is more a promotional device for a particular area, but the city recognizes that design is present all over the city and can be relevant to every kind of activity. As part of the Word Design Capital Helsinki Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund set up Design Lab in parallel with the World Design Capital. The initiative sought to advance strategic design. It was concerned with re-examining, re-thinking,


Inside Fondia in Helsinki voted one of the most innovative legal firms.

and re-designing the systems Helsinki had inherited from the past. It ran from 2009 to 2013. The legacy of WDC Helsinki 2012 lives on in Design Driven City, initially a two-year project to promote the use of design in the cities of the larger Helsinki area. They believe that design can help cities to find new and often radical ways to operate and to visualise their future. Thus the project has hired professional designers to work in city organisations especially to develop public services and to strengthen user-oriented approaches in city services. The Design Driven City relies on broad-based cooperation with wideranging participation from neighbouring cities as well as the ministries of employment and the economy. The larger Design Driven City network also includes a wide range of design actors, professional design organisations, and a number of universities. The total budget for 2014-2015 is €1.5 million.


A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

A third example showing the increasing awareness of thinking about platforms and themes is the recently announced European Capital of Innovation award initiated by the European Commission. This focuses on how a concern with Place, People, the Public and Private can be shown and how an innovative eco-system in a city can have an effect on all these dimensions. 58 large, medium and smaller European cities participated. The criteria wanted places seen as: Innovative – shown in both processes and the impact Inclusive – illustrating citizen involvement and engagement Inspiring – by attracting talent, funding, investment and partners Interactive – encouraging open communication between key players Integrated – maximising a holistic viewpoint involving people and place.

A number of themes emerged: Several highlighted evidence of their quadruple helix approach – the link between universities, the public and private sectors and citizens’ involvement, which was a pre-condition to win the prize. Many proposal highlighted open data applications, but initiatives focusing on these alone were not deemed to be systemic even though several involved cities throwing out calls for proposals which were taken up by start-ups, SMEs or enthusiasts to develop apps. Open data is now regarded as becoming mainstream. There were various examples of participative crowd-sourcing schemes to generate ideas to find solutions to urban problems ranging from crime prevention, to energy saving to dealing with traffic problems. For instance applications to find available car parking spaces since a large proportion of congestion is people looking for parking spaces. 48

Criteria for being European Capital of Innovation.

The applicants highlighted how they were trying to create physical environments that would encourage imaginative projects; how citizens could be actively involved in helping to develop innovations and how public and private forces have come together in interesting ways. Many proposals were technology focused but this alone was not seen sufficient in warranting the award. Cities had to show concrete results of projects started since 2010 as well as a track record of innovation and most importantly an interconnected innovation eco-system approach.


Helsinki’s new housing area built around the old gasworks now a big cultural complex.

The energy transition was a strong theme with a number of cities using incentives and regulations in imaginative ways and with determined goals to do better than mandated reduction targets. Some reconceptualised complete systems in the city such as structural reform in health, which empowers citizens to manage and maintain their own health and wellbeing with the help of ICT, tools. The solutions seek to deliver an advanced, personalized, connected health service based on open systems and open collaboration where the ownership, development and management is distributed, without any one stakeholder holding a monopoly position. Model urban development schemes were put forward mostly to act as inspiration for overall city development so becoming ‘living labs’. These typically combined incentives to develop the creative economy, eco-city thinking, new forms of mobility and co-creation. Cities often threw out problem solving challenges to established private companies and the world of SMEs allowing them to use the city as a test bed for innovations. This has helped many companies to prototype inventions and to use the city brand as a marketing tool.

Helsinki has a design district.


A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

The finalists in alphabetical order were:

Groningen was voted a runner up for using new concepts, tools and processes to develop a user-centred smart energy ecosystem. Called the ‘smart energy citizen’ the aim is to shift the power in energy markets from large energy providers to groups of citizens. Helped by global crowd engineering with Groningen as the trialling ground and energy competitions to find solutions it seeks to become a benchmark city. Imaginative communications is used to foster behaviour change such as heat maps for the whole city to show where and how much energy is used.

Barcelona was voted the winner for introducing the use of ‘new technologies to bring the city closer to citizens’ emphasizing ‘technology for people’.This scheme took the ‘smart city’ notion much further with significant applications in public health and social services. Most applications were co-created with citizen groups and business. It also highlighted its plans to become ‘mobile world capital’ by 2018, its global networking and focus on sharing its results with other cities.

Gronningen Inspiring temporary workplaces in container city. Barcelona 2012 World congress of

Malaga was proposed for its new urban regeneration model combining an open lab, new forms of mobility (electric cars) in the development of Soho Malaga where artists and creative industries people redesign an area of the city. It highlights a mixed generation approach and especially a scheme for children to act as mediators in solving difficult urban problems such as segregation.

Smart Cities.

Espoo part of the Helsinki city region was chosen for creating a strategic partnership uniting science, business and artistic creativity. The location of both Nokia and the new major game companies Rovio (Angry Birds) and Supercell (The Clash of Clans) brings these elements together naturally as does Aalto University, a unique merger of an art and design university with one focusing on science and technology and a business school.

Malaga - innnovati ve way of creating shading.

Paris became a finalist by opening up municipallyowned property (streets, gardens, buildings, basements, schools) to experimental innovative solutions, driven by all types of business where innovations were often encouraged by thematic calls for proposals. They start from the premise that the sum of collective intelligence outside an organisation is always greater than the knowledge within and that by opening out and exchanging information this collective intelligence can be channelled.

Espoo – Helsinki region.

Grenoble was a runner up for investing in scientific and technological breakthroughs through synergies between public and private research, education initiatives and industrial collaboration. Close to the Alps its innovation eco-system was built up starting from hydro-electrics and then migrating over the years towards a global role in micro-electronics. Its main current project is to develop a carbon neutral ‘universal city’ around a 2,5 million square metre site that should act as a model of combining SMEs, research and new forms of living.

Paris, where thematic calls are encouraged for innovative solutions.

Grenoble Eco-city.


Two interesting issues emerged from all finalists. First they stated that the biggest obstacle to change was their own municipal institutions and the need to overcome the silo mentality. Second, they stressed the difficulties in achieving real collaboration, connectivity between the various players in order to benefit from networking. 53

Creative Quarter strategy Cre ativ e Qu art er stra

teg y

To maximize the potential of the various forces that make up Taipei’s creative and innovation focused eco-system requires a physical setting that is stimulating and inspiring. Briefly we describe the broad characteristics of creative quarters, how the URO has sought to encourage their establishment and how best to grow them. To be imaginative and to create an environment that fosters the process of innovation requires an urban context and spaces and places that allow people to express themselves. There is a spectrum of such places from refurbished old industrial structures, to re-used heritage buildings to 1960’s buildings that are given a second life, to revitalized small lanes to new build options. Developed well all these tend to encourage an active street life and the development of third spaces where people exchange and interact. There needs to be a range of price points so all groups, from established companies to startups, have the possibility to work in the city. The current danger is that Taipei is being renewed at such a fast pace, often creating soulless environments and buildings of questionable quality that do not encourage a lively street scene or a creative milieu that fosters people to give of their best.

The city has a metabolism.

Creative centres or hotspots like Nanhai Gallery in Guling Street and Art Yard in Dihua Street both lie at the heart of creative zones or quarters as they activate the areas within which they are located. The big creative industry centres such as the new Songshan Cultural and Creative Park and the now matured Huashan 1914 Creative Park, have had an impact on the wider geographical area and make them more interesting, because of their ambience, retailing and hospitality sector. These places


A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

are mostly energetic, diverse and vibrant. They arouse you, yet they have places to be calm and thoughtful. To be productive you need both. Usually they are a community of people who in broad terms share values such as openness, curiosity or mutual respect. They have a scene and there are networks. They are socially and culturally mixed. So they become a hub, a communications nodal point, a destination and a place where people can and want to show their skills and talents. The internal organization of the companies operating in these quarters tends to reflect the area’s ethos: less hierarchical, more task oriented, empowering employees. Greater attention is paid to their work environment. Aesthetics and beauty play a role in generating an experience that encourages creativity. Thus the companies are design aware, with a strong focus on new trends, emerging technologies and fledgling sectors such as developing the green economy or creative industries. Cross fertilization across the most diverse sectors occurs as a matter of course. They are places that are not too self-consciously orchestrated and planned allowing unpretentious authenticity to come through. The quarter ideally encourages the presence of the full value chain from ideas generation, to learning, through production to consuming in a good balance. This includes the commercial and non-commercial including research centres, cultural centres and low cost subsidized spaces. There is a lively mainstream and alternative scene. Its human scale encourages interaction, mixing and a diversity of accessible third spaces for talking, working, eating and relaxing. Well-known brands and chains are less in evidence, instead there is a quirky distinctiveness. The quarter tries to curtail too many tourists who can destroy this milieu. Local participation and engagement in activities and events are seen as key. Often these quarters when they are in areas of renewal have a development agency to drive their momentum. The best of these are worried about gentrifying as they wish to keep the local ecology accessible in terms of cost and cultures. Overall there is the right balance between the local and the global. Great traditions in Dihua street lie behind this restoration site.


These creative zones, centres or hubs within them are important to:

the businesses within them as they provide a stimulating environment; the overall economic dynamic of an area given their energy and entrepreneurial spirit; mostly these places are emblematic reflecting in their physical presence, style, outlook, management ethos, focus and overall appeal how the new 3.0 economy and world operates; as a consequence they are crucial to urban regeneration – socially, culturally, economically and physically; in addition as these zones mostly have mentoring, professional development and training programmes they contribute to the life-long learning agenda and often create a new educational environment – some of this is formal, some informal; for those based in these hubs or zones they introduce, guide and help their residents develop skills for the new evolving world and to keep in touch with cutting edge developments; Most Asian cities need a solution fast for affordable housing.

these places foster the sharing of resources and ideas – some of these are explicit and traded and others are untraded and implicit. Simply being in this creative milieu more based on co-operation and co-creation rather staying isolated creates a different atmosphere;


A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

The eco-system requires a physical setting that is stimulating and inspiring.

the types of companies based in these centres range across the spectrum from innovative micro start-ups to more established SMEs. As they are clustered they are attractive both to the businesses located in them as well as for bigger mainstream companies surrounding them. Synergies are thus easier to develop; they are convenient, visible and accessible places and can be seen rather like a one-stop shop. They can act as a gateway, it is the number of small companies placed together that is important; simply by being co-located they encourage crossovers and crossfertilization and inter-disciplinary working. They are transaction and exchange points; overall this increases their economic potential and provides a development boost especially for start-ups since this milieu means they can benefit from the help of more mature companies. This makes them a kind of escalator;

In summary these creative zones and their centres act as: accelerators of opportunities,

pulling the threads together these centres or areas can give an identity, a brand and credibility to both the companies present and the place itself as a working community; an important spin-off is their effect on retailing and the hospitality industry. Typically interesting shops and eating places are created as well as places to stay;

places where the diversity breeds creativity, where openness creates potential and many have already become centres of excellence, a seeding ground to develop talent and garden for start-ups,

as such they foster alliance building and partnerships to achieve mutual objectives that an individual organization is less likely to achieve on their own.


so adding value to the area and the city itself economically, culturally, socially.


The start up movement is a world-wide phenomenon.

Can underused spaces in the city be opportunities for creaitve entrepreneurs?

Creative places and quarters have existed throughout history. There is nothing new about the idea and URO has been at the forefront in Taiwan in stimulating their development especially through its URS programme and its focus on Dihua Street and the wider Datong district. These have acted as a prototype and express URO’s important idea of creating ‘soft urbanism’. This is an approach to city making that highlights the issues addressed in the description of City 2.0 and City 3.0. In particular it stresses the need to consider urban software, how people connect, interact and how you establish a good atmosphere as well as the hardware, the physical infrastructure. These hardware developments though need to feel emotionally satisfactory. URO has over the years undertaken a number of experiments and learnt many lessons about the opportunities, difficulties and obstacles in designing such places. It has recognized that on its own, as a public entity, it is inevitably constrained. For instance, it cannot act entrepreneurially or be as flexible and agile as it needs to be. It cannot charge rent or earn income from its URS sites that could be ploughed back into further developments.


It understands that it must work with different partners from the private and community sectors to maximize potential. It therefore needs to work through a mechanism where the best of the public interest perspective, private energy and community concerns come together.

Creative Quarters development agency URO should set up a Creative Quarters Development Agency as an arm’s length entity, which is a publicly owned but privately run company. This is a common model in many parts of the world as this combines public accountability with the capacity to be entrepreneurial. It would operate like a task force with time dated aims in each geographic area of activity. It would have public interest objectives, namely to promote and comprehensibly develop an area both physically and economically. A special, but not exclusive, target group in its initial stages would be those working in the new economy sectors. It would build alliances with organizations sharing their interests.


Three floors of a longhouse where

in the

past it accomodated sales manufacuring and bringing up a family.

A particular focus would be its concern to find suitable spaces for smaller companies as well as to help address their wider economic well-being. The agency would work with economic agents in the city, and the communities of interest, including cultural actors, to identify the resources, potential and needs of an area. It would act as a gathering point for information and support and would be seen as a one-stop shop for the area. Its style of operating is always to encourage those best at a task to do it rather than build up its own large organization. It would be lean and agile. It may organize events, but is more likely to encourage and support others to do so. It would sub-contract many tasks such as identifying space needs and helping to negotiate suitable deals. These may, for instance, be shorter term arrangements where an owner will allow space to be occupied for a time dated period for development. The hope is that by creating a vision for an area, residents, retailers, property owners and others, perhaps from outside, would be inspired to become involved. This may be university interests who might wish to relocate some aspect of their work or a larger company who likes the type of atmosphere being promoted. What these potentials might be cannot be predicted. A strategic question for the agency to assess is the extent to which it publicly promotes an area as this can push gentrification forward as property owners get on the bandwagon and raise prices. There is always a danger of over-promoting. For this reason the Agency, on behalf of the city, needs to be astute in securing as many spaces as possible provided it can operate these commercially. Separately it can decide what extra support it might give tenants. The Agency would be a publicly funded, yet may get some sponsorship for some of its activities. The governing board should include people with knowledge of physical and economic regeneration, entrepreneurial experience as well as finance, planning and cultural development.


A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

The first priority of the Agency would be to explore the wider Dadaocheng area. Here its focus would be less on Dihua Street as this has already taken off, indeed it in danger of becoming too popular. It would for instance, look at the lanes and alleys besides the main streets. It would explore the extent to which the fashion industry might have potential to be developed in this area, especially given the presence of Yongle Market. It may be that there is already a hidden supply chain operating nearby that could grow to the benefit of Taipei as a whole. A second priority would be the potential development of the spaces in the various brown field sites along the old rail corridor and the recently decommissioned Air Force Base. Here the focus may be different from Dadaocheng. It is recommended that the local and national planning authorities invite representatives of the Creativity Platform to discuss potential uses for these sites. In summary the Creativity Platform and Creative Quarter Development Agency both form part of a set of strategies to make Taipei economically stronger, more attractive and vibrant so that talented people of all ages wish to stay and also for foreigners to come to Taipei to contribute to the well-being of the city. They are separate organizations with different goals and operating criteria. However, both will be interested in the work of the other and supportive of it. On occasion they may be able to undertake joint projects.

T h e Ve r t i c a l V i l l a g e project at IBA, Germany.


A Creativity Platform : Harnessing the collective imagination of Taipei

Epilogue: We are on the way

Ep ilo gue Invasive advertising in the new high tech city.

Taipei is a small and compact metropolis where people enjoy a wide range of exciting urban lifestyles and safe, convenient services. Taipei is a rich and diverse city—with an unusual geography - mountains, river and sea are nearby and with biological habitats covering tropical, subtropical, temperate, and colder climates. Taipei is home to the R&D headquarters of several multinationals and at the same time its streets and alleys are filled with all kinds of independent micro start-ups. Taipei has shown the world its capacity to curate and mobilize large scale events like the 2009 Summer Deaf Olympics and the 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition. Coming up in 2016 is the World Design Capital and in 2017 the Universiade. These will test whether Taipei, in addition to organizing international mega events, can also use these to facilitate positive urban transformation and evolution. Global cities increasingly compete for talent and industrial development. Taipei is, therefore, facing a great challenge to reinvent itself to be attractive to these mobile creative forces as well as to generate a new wave of imaginative economic development. The last century emphasized an urban system that was efficient and followed a linear, hardware based approach. This model is now outdated as the younger generations grow up in an age that values innovation, creativity and cyber connectivity. This creates new forms of business as well as opportunities. The development model of the evolving world involves sharing resources, collaboration, open frameworks and platforms, and decentralized networks. It is increasingly taking shape. We need new thinking and frameworks to make the most of this era. Focusing on ‘Soft Urbanism’ is the start of our proposed actions.


This focuses on both the hardware and software of the city. As a start we have mapped the creative ecology of Taipei to inspire and connect Taipei’s creative networks. The proposed creative platform, a mixed partnership, will become a major pillar to support the already vibrant and enthusiastic creative energy in Taipei’s private sector. Charles Landry, the strategic consultant helping Taipei become a creative city, has reminded Taipei of the need to connect, harness, and encourage the different kinds of creative energies in the city to come together. In order for Taipei to live up to its yet-to-be-fully-realized potential it needs to pursue an innovative economic development path. We are assisting this process by supporting a wide variety of interesting urban movements and facilitating the connection of private networks large and small. Taipei has gradually turned away from last century’s model of a modern city, and is now embarking on a journey of urban development focused on encouraging widespread creativity in the economy. A long journey is still ahead of us and we need the combined efforts from all our diverse society; but the doors of reform are already open. We are on the way.

Lin Chung-Chieh Director of Urban Regeneration Office, Taipei City 63 69


This second publication is the follow up to the publication 2012 "Talented Taipei & the Creative Imperative" where we highlighted the city's main asset is in its creative talent pool. These two 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 for 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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