Transforming the city in a joyous hundredth anniversary Linking innovation to the “last mile”

Next year (2011) marks the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China. What changes have taken place in Taiwan over the past century? Viewing this question in microcosm, we take the Minsheng Residential Community in Taipei City’s Sungshan District and the Nangang Business Park as our starting point for examining citizen’s sense of happiness, and the opportunities for the next hundred years.

Our editorial team interview opinion leaders in the Minsheng Residential Community and in the Nangang Business Park, to find out what the current situation is in these two areas, their forecasts for the future and what their ideal of an “ideal community” would be. Analysis of the interview data showed that local residents were particularly concerned about three aspects of the future: they wanted to be able to enjoy a sense of security, to have living space in which they can relax, and to have a living environment conducive to the cultivation of modern citizens able to think deeply about important issues.

The survey results showed widespread concern among opinion leaders that the younger generation is developing warped values; they are worried that this could lead to a situation in which society possesses marvelous technology and facilities, but with no cultural depth to underpin it. Opinion leaders feel that mutual assistance and the maintenance of emotional ties within the community should not depend solely on cold, soulless machinery and monitoring equipment. While “remote medicine” is becoming increasingly popular, patients still want to be able to have personal contact with medical personnel; this emotional “exchange” is difficult to replace.

These are all problems that local residents will have to tackle in the future; they cannot rely on information technology’s computing and virtualization capabilities to solve these problems for them. These needs are closely linked to the three main needs outlined above: being able to enjoy a sense of security, to have living space in which they can relax, and to have a living environment conducive to the cultivation of modern citizens able to think deeply about important issues. While the elements that make up the “smart city” will of course require support and services provided by information technology, meeting these three key needs is also a prerequisite for successful implementation.
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