Taipei Mayor Says The City Lacks Urban Aesthetics

Taipei Mayor Says The City Lacks Urban Aesthetics
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What you need to know

After a visit to the cultural and creative industry in Chiyoda-ku and Tokyo Station in Japan, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je has realized Taipei lacks urban aesthetics.

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Translated by Yuan-ling Liang

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je has led a delegation to Japan, visiting the cultural and creative industry in Chiyoda-ku and Tokyo Station. Ko noted that signs in Tokyo Station are very clear and humanized, and there are many outsourcing businesses. On the operation side, the station provides greater imagination that helped him see the urban aesthetics Taipei lacks.

3331 Arts Chiyoda is a space refurbished from an old school for emerging artists to station in. Ko says he saw how the Japanese make use of an abandoned school by bringing in galleries and startups. The galleries are designed to include a store in the front and a factory in the back. Artists and the community work together; the entire community completes the work of one artist.

Ko also posted on his Facebook page saying, “Art should not be carried out behind closed doors, but should be established on platforms for people with relevant talents to express freely. It should also be open for everyone to participate and enjoy, bringing art into the communities. Taipei also has a lot of unused spaces. By observing how Japanese operates theirs, Taipei can refer to their experiences. Taipei not only belongs to Taiwan, but also to the Asia and the whole world."

Ko Wen-je notes that Japanese architects designed both Tokyo Station and Hsinchu Station. Though the structure of Tokyo Station is very complicated, it has several characteristics such as clear signs and user-friendly designs. As for the architecture itself, Ko says Japan pays attention to integrating the old and new, and emphasizes on the balance between preserving historical sites and modernization. While the outside of Tokyo Station still retains its old appearance, it holds modern facilities inside the building. In addition, the underground commercial street of the station is booming, unlike the quiet one in Taipei Train Station. Ko says this is an operational quality issue, and discovering urban aesthetics is also what Taipei lacks.

Edited by Olivia Yang