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Civic participation makes difference. On December, TAIPEI winter issue reviews continuous progression of Taipei in this year.

Here comes the end of the year, as well as TAIPEI Winter issue. According to Pei-chun Hsieh(謝佩君), Division Chief of Media Relations and Publications Division, Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government, Taipei is a city both classical and modern. This issue’s cover story, “City of Stories”, will bring you to the past and introduce Bangka’s past and present. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and his team has taken office for almost a year. To summarize the creative measures of Taipei City Government this year, along with “Open Government and Civic Participants”, this issue also introduces measures such as “budgets imaginization”, promoting Taipei’s tourism to Japanese students and Muslims and building a garden city. Let us review the progression of this city altogether. “Open and transparent government with civic participation” is the spirit of Ko’s team. This year, Taipei City Government transformed its budget data into images and formed public assembly hall, which was the first example of participatory budgeting. Moreover, Taipei City Government held outdoor town hall meetings regarding the Shezidao and East District Gateway development projects as well as the Revitalization of Zhongzheng and Wanhua Districts, and Datong Regeneration Projects. In order to continue creating a friendly tourism environment, Taipei City Government launched a series of activities targeting Muslim tourists. The second floor of the Discovery Center of Taipei in Taipei City Hall Building is equipped with a Muslim prayer room. In addition, Japanese author Katakura Yoshifumi and graphic design master tAkoRA were invited to produce the School Trip Handbook, which will attract more Japanese students to come to Taipei for school trips. Meanwhile, Taipei City Government held a serious of riverside activities and old city area tours, through which domestic and foreign travelers alike can experience the age-old charms of this water-loving city.
To transform Taipei into a garden city, Taipei City Government invited a group of volunteers with horticulture training background to teach senior citizens planting at a senior center. Some unused place and public space were even transformed into green spaces for farming. To create an electricity savings culture, Taipei City Government has been replacing streetlights to LED and creating energy-saving products collaborated with industries. Convenient transportation system is always a pride of Taipei’s residences; however, there is always room for improvement. This year, Taipei City Government continued to work on improving neighborhood lane and alley traffic chaos and provided more free parking spaces for taxis. Furthermore, Taipei City Government adjusted YouBike user fee system. The first 30-minute free use policy was replaced with an NTD 5 charge.
In this issue, we interviewed Doron Hemo, Director of Economic Affairs, Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, and his wife. We also interviewed Atsuomi Itou, a gentleman from Tokyo, Japan, who owns a café at Taipei and has been promoting Alishan coffee for years. These interviews show how foreigners see Taipei. Doron Hemo said, “People in Taipei are very hospitable and enthusiastic. If there is a foreigner in need of assistance, even if they cannot speak English, they will eagerly find someone to help.” In Taipei, the transportation is very efficient and the living environment is very safe. It is very easy to adapt to adapt to life in this international city. Atsuomi Itou, who has special feeling for coffee, loves to visit newly opened or popular coffee shops in Taipei. He also loves stir-fry and wontons. Itous said, “Taiwan has many great things that are worth introducing to Japan and the whole world.” According to Hsieh, TAIPEI winter issue will be available for free starting December 15 at 13 Visitor Information Centers in Taipei City, Museum of Contemporary Art, Mayor Salon, The Red House at Ximen, SPOT Taipei, all MRT stations in Taipei, and all Eslite Bookstores. Meanwhile, it is also available on Travel.Taipei website(www.travel.taipei)(Chinese) or dial 1999 (for callers outside Taipei please dial 02-27208889) extends 2029, 7564.