Strengthen the means of implementation
and revitalize the global partnership for
The creation of the Smart City Offices enables policy coordination in departmental units, accelerate administrative progress and resource integration. Industry innovation and smart solutions are promoted through joint efforts of the public and private sector. Opportunities for cooperation and exchanges between cities are created through intensified links with international cities and formation of the “GO SMART” smart city alliances. Abandoning the traditional top-down budgeting approaches, Taipei City Public Participation Committee was created with an aim to improve budget transparency, raise public awareness and increase citizen participation in public policies and affairs through the adoption of participatory budgeting, which provide citizens with a direct role in the government budget decision-making process, instead of the traditional top-down policy approaches.
City’s Current UN Sustainable Development Targets
Taipei Smart City PMO Founded
Definitions of a smart city by international organizations all emphasize that a sustainable and livable city is only attainable by integration. Beginning 2003, Taipei City has formulated the “digital city” and “Mobile Taipei” policies and installed broadband infrastructure and wireless application services across the city. In 2007, with vision to build a “Smart City & Quality Life”, Taipei City Government upgraded the broadband infrastructure and made its services even more user-friendly. With the current development as foundation and the continuous implementation of the “Smart City” policy, Taipei City Government established the Taipei Smart City PMO（TPMO）to encourage the citizens to provide their creativity. The office functions as a platform and aims at strengthening crossdisciplinary, cross-departmental, integration, policy coordination in departmental units, which accelerates the implementation of policies and forms the top-down and bottom-up mechanisms. An additional use of the PoC (proof of concept) provides the environments and opportunities to help industries implement their innovative smart solutions and offer smart services. Public-private partnership and the PoC mechanism have resulted in more than 170 pilot projects, which can promote citizens’ welfare with their smart services. Development of long-term and quality service models are the keys to a smart city’s sustainability. Therefore, smart services should, during the planning, take into account their future business model, which should assure their sustainability and sound finances. They should also adjust their services in line with technological advancements. Therefore, Department of Information Technology of Taipei City Government has partnered with TPMO and referred the relevant agencies to businesses applying for subsidy/assistance from the central government. The two agencies also encourage these businesses to develop a sustainable business practice to prevent history from repeating itself. Businesses that participated in the smart city projects under local and central government collaboration in the past may solely rely on the subsidy and would shut down operation if the subsidies were ended with no more budgets allocated from the central government. This is why Taipei City Government is doing things differently to ensure that future public services can be sustainable and continue to innovate.
In addition, the Smart City project aims to transform Taipei City into a livable and sustainable city by facilitating public-private collaborations and solving the city’s problems with smart technologies. In view of climate change, “change” and “transformation” of lifestyles are the two issues every city has to face. The concept of a “resilient city”, which has great disaster tolerance and recovery, has started to gain recognition. Taipei City Government has combined the promotion of smart city and the resilient city concept. Taipei City is set to become a leading city in embracing smart technology applications, and making it livable, sustainable and smart in response to the changes in the urban environment,. Successful or not, the city will learn precious lessons from the implementation of these policies, which will only make the city better.
Taipei Smart City Industrial
Field Pilot Program
The nature of government makes it difficult to stay up-to-date with the industrial technology and information, which resulted in ineffective policy-making to the fullest in terms of information technology planning In the interim, a lack of platform that enables effective communication between the private and public sector, complicating the process of making innovative proposals for the private sector. In addition, regulatory and procedural restrictions hinder innovative services of private sector from accessing the public sector. In light of the global trend of smart city, Department of Information Technology has established Taipei Smart City PMO （TPMO）to encourage businesses with ICT expertise to provide consultation and advice for the smart city related projects of Taipei City Government. TPMO implements the bottom-up model and coordinates with agencies to open their fields and establish an innovative technology matching platform, allowing businesses to experiment with their innovative solutions in Taipei.
When it comes to businesses proposing to implement their smart city applications in Taipei, proof of concept can help them use their proven results as the foundation for the development of future business model and share their experience. Through proposals, business matching and proof of concept, public and private resources can be integrated to propel city construction and other services, allowing Taipei City to be the first city in Taiwan to provide smart services.
GO SMART (Global Organization of Smart Cities)
For years, Taipei City has been working hard to facilitate PoC projects, including the AI electronic fence project, which led local startup teams to go global by conducting empirical testing in Amsterdam. The Air Box project, after gathering empirical evidence in Taipei, was duplicated to other cities in the nation and even exported to South Korea, Malaysia, India and other markets. A French company used its innovative technology that was used to monitor nuclear power plants and the Eiffel Tower to obtain
EU subsidy and came to Taiwan to work with a local company and install bridge structure monitoring system at the Shezi Bridge. These successful cases are true testament to the benefits of inter-city PoC. Therefore, Taipei City proposed “GO SMART” in 2018 as an international platform for exchanges and collaborations for smart cities. This platform connects local governments, industries, the academia, institutes and corporate bodies both domestic and abroad. With local governments providing the fields, policies and even subsidies, the industry, academia, institutes and corporate bodies can provide their innovative technologies, services, and empirical budgets. Intercity PoC projects under public private partnership can promote the development of a smart city, allowing more innovative applications solve the city’s problems and improve citizens’ quality of life.
Taipei City, as the founder of the Global Organization of Smart Cities, has invested many resources in this organization. The city, based on the resolution of the GO SMART Preparation and Advisory Commission, became the first chairman of GO SMART（two-year term）. GO SMART Secretariat convened the inaugural meeting（180 in attendance）, the first general assembly and Strategy Committee meeting on March 27, 2019. The Secretariat, during the meeting, signed a MOU with Local Government Association of Queensland（LGAQ）Membership application started officially for GO SMART on December 28, 2018. As of June 19, 2019, there are 151 members, with 91 city members from the six major cities in Taiwan, Australia, England, France, the Netherlands, Japan, Brazil and other countries; 54 industry members from Taiwan, France, Hong Kong and Singapore; 5 academic and corporate body members from Amsterdam, Okinawa and other countries. Charles Reed Anderson, current IoT consultant for McKinney & Company and former vice president Asia for International Data Corporation, was invited to be the organization’s honorary member. The platform certainly is carrying a lot of global expectations and energy.
As a matching platform for smart cities, GO SMART will continue to play close attention to the latest development trends and enhance public-private partnership to fully utilize the resources, maximize collaborative synergy and connect global partners to build sustainable and mutually-beneficial partnerships.
Participatory budgeting can be traced back to late November in 2014 when Mayor Ko, right after elected, proposed the political ideal of “open government and citizen participation. To a certain extent, this shows how passionate young people in Taipei are about public affairs. The applications of information networks have also been proven effective and powerful in this area.
In order to fully realize the political ideal of “open government and citizen participation”, Taipei Citizen Participation Committee was founded on February 24, 2015. The committee has 3 groups: citizen participation, open data and data mining and Participatory Budgeting. The 3 groups work hard to formulate and execute relevant plans projects, from proposal briefing, resident assembly, proposal review and i-Voting, all done by the government instead of being outsourced to contractors.
This allows public servants more opportunities to interact with the citizens and ensures a smooth transition between budget allocating and progress updates after a proposal is approved, which has become a main feature of participatory budgeting of Taipei City Government.
Citizen participation has become a main component of the democratic politics in the 21st century. Participatory budgeting, which combines “citizen participation” and “deliberative democracy”, has become popular worldwide. With participatory budgeting, the conventional top-down policy decision-making no longer applies. In addition, it allows government departments, who have the
resources, look at things from an angle they otherwise will not with their regular administration processes, which is another step forward for democracy. Participatory budgeting has been promoted for over 20 years. Since 2010, more than 1,500 have been promoting participatory budgeting. The promoters hope that, with citizens participating in certain budget decision-makings of the
government, government budget allocation can be more transparent, making the government accountable to the citizens.
Participatory budgeting is a brand new adventure for Taiwan. Taipei City, as a model city, has introduced and been promoting it to further democracy in its operation and realize the ideal of “open government and citizen participation”. Moreover, it also helps the city government make policy decisions that better meet citizens’ expectations. Participatory budgeting can also facilitate face-to face communications between the city government and the citizens, helping the former formulate policies from citizens’ perspective and the latter understand how an administrative organization operates, a win-win for both sides.
By promoting participatory budgeting, Taipei City wants to awake civil consciousness, encourage citizens to generate opinions toward public policies and affairs and thus voluntarily propose better ideas regarding their own environment and public systems, which can help quality of life in Taipei City to move closer to citizens’ expectations. Taipei City’s participatory budgeting is based on “enhancing citizen empowerment”, “procedure modularization” and “combined budgeting”. The “Citizen Proposal & Participatory Budgeting Information Platform”（https://pb.taipei/Default.aspx）was established, which includes participatory budgeting introduction, government-academia alliance, event registration, proposal online and scopes of all the proposals by year. The website helps citizens better know about the city’s participatory budgeting. Its key operations and efforts are as follows：
Participatory budgeting was implemented in 2016 and each year, the city government reviewed its measures in promoting citizen participation to ensure that its policies could meet citizens’ needs. For instance, resident assembly was convened for multiple times in each district in 2017, where the process of petition filing for review workshops were simplified to make it easier for citizens to participate. It also made petitions represent their own districts and increased the opportunities for citizens to participate in public decision-making. I-Voting was introduced in 2017 and a total of 93 district-level petitions were submitted via i-Voting and entered the voting process. Statistics show that a total of 57,486 people voted for 71 petitions. In order to make petitions work, the “enforced execution” mechanism was introduced in 2018. With this mechanism, the responsible agency of the city government can start processing a petition without going through the participatory budgeting procedure, thus reducing the burden on the petitioner.
The city government hopes that, by promoting the participatory budgeting system, it will give citizens in Taipei a way to participate in public decision-making and create a wonderful opportunity for effective communications between citizens and the city government. Therefore, other than helping the city government formulate policies that better meet citizens’ expectations through public participation in policy-making, Taipei City Government also hopes to build a citizen participation platform that is fair, just and open. Hopefully this platform enables seamless interaction between government and citizens and makes government to understand citizens’ needs directly, which is the core spirit of democratic politics.
In 2005, Taipei City signed the Urban Environmental Accords（UEA）with San Francisco, the United States. The Accords aims to promote the sustainability of an urban environment by proposing 21 actions on 7 issues, including energy, waste reduction, urban design, urban nature, transportation, environmental health and water. Since 2011, a summit is held every two years to allow members discuss their progresses and results in implementing the accord.
Taipei City attended UEA Summit in Iloilo in the Philippines（2015）and Melaka in Malaysia（2017） with “Green City, Livable City” and “Green City, Sustainable City” as the respective themes. Furthermore, UEA presented the winners for its first City Award during its Summit in 2017. City Award is given to cities that promote best practices in green and sustainable measures. Among 13 topics, Taipei City was able to share its experience on recycling, source reduction, landfill restoration and converting waste into energy as well as the success story with “Taipei Energy Hill”, all of which were well received by the participants and recognized by all judges. As a result, Taipei City was awarded with the “Best Practice Award” of the first ever UEA City Award.