The Taiwanese city was chosen after a year-long evaluation that includes quantitative analysis of extensive data as well as a site visit.
Taiwanese city Taoyuan has been named 2019 Intelligent Community of the Year by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) think-tank at its global summit in New York City.
The city is regarded as something of a veteran of the Intelligent Community Awards programme, having been previously named a 10-time Smart21 Community and a four-time Top7 community since first entering the programme in 2009.
“Taoyuan has been one of the highest overall achievers among smart and Intelligent Communities for the past decade,” said Louis Zacharilla, co-founder, ICF.
“They have stayed with it and while most people may not recognise the name Taoyuan City, it is at the same level as Stockholm, Toronto and Melbourne. It is a place where quality of life, job creation and the digital environment’s ability to unleash innovation meet in perfect unison.”
Taoyuan was selected as 2019’s intelligent community after a year-long evaluation that included a quantitative analysis of extensive data, site inspections by an ICF co-founder and votes from an international jury made up of experts from around the world.
Communities in the awards programme are evaluated based on the six intelligent community indictors that make up the ICF method and in the context of ICF’s annual theme, When Tech Giants Come to Town.
Taoyuan succeeds Espoo, Finland as the think-tank’s Intelligent Community of the Year. Taoyuan is the first Taiwanese city honoured with the award since Taichung City in 2013.
"While most people may not recognise the name Taoyuan City, it is at the same level as Stockholm, Toronto and Melbourne"
On Christmas Day of 2014, Taiwan lost a county and gained a city, when the county of Taoyuan changed to municipal status. Its proximity to the Taipei Metropolitan Area has led to major investments in such public utilities as Taiwan’s largest international airport and the 2017 Taoyuan MRT Airport Line, which speeds connections between the city’s high-speed rail station and the airport.
These, in turn, have driven rapid development in Taoyuan City, which has attracted a significant number of new residents from other cities and countries.
Among the initiatives it was recognised for are:
Broadband services for all: Taoyuan initiated the i-Taoyuan free wi-fi 2.0 project in 2016 to optimise the city’s existing wireless network services and expand the city’s free network environment of hotspots. As of August 2017, the project has established 921 free wireless hotspots throughout the city with plans in place to expand four high-traffic areas into hot zones with wider coverage.
In addition to setting up hotspots, Taoyuan has worked with local providers to ensure that broadband service is available across the entire city.
Creating an innovation hub: With its location between Taipei and Hsinchu, Taoyuan is perfectly placed to be an innovation and business hub in Taiwan. The city is home to the largest cluster of logistics companies in Taiwan. Taoyuan has developed the Taoyuan Aerotropolis and has established the only airport free trade zone in Taiwan. The city has also created an innovation and R&D centre to provide further resources and services to new and established companies.
Connecting all of these developments to the rest of Taiwan is essential for the innovation hub. The Taoyuan city government has established a comprehensive network of buses in the city with a total of 261 routes, many of which now sport dynamic information systems that provide useful data to travellers.
"Taoyuan is a place where quality of life, job creation and the digital environment’s ability to unleash innovation meet in perfect unison”
In addition to the bus system, Taoyuan is connected to Taipei and Hsinchu via high speed rail, MRT, highways and the Taoyuan International Airport MRT. The city has outfitted all of these routs with 4G wireless coverage to allow travellers to work, research or relax while in transit.
Alternative energy: To build a sustainable future, Taoyuan City has been heavily investing in solar energy. The city leases roof space of public houses to establish solar generation systems, with 132 government-owned buildings outfitted as of 2017, generating a total of 12 million kwh of electricity annually.
With the assistance of the Tatung Company, Taoyuan will be building 200 public housing developments with solar generation capacity, aiming to produce 20 million kwh of electricity per year.
In addition to solar energy, Taoyuan is also focusing on wind power generation. Since 2011, 57 wind power plants have been installed in Guanyin and Luzhu. The city is also planning a number of offshore wind plants in the coming years.
Providing knowledge and access to services through citizen identity card: Taoyan launched a citizen identity card called the Taoyuan City Card in 2015 as a means of connecting its residents with a wide variety of public services and information. The card is integrated with many of the city’s transportation systems, serving as a ticket for busses, MRT, the Taiwan Railway, and even as a means to rent a bicycle. It may also be used to pay parking and most other government fees, as a municipal library card and even as a meeting attendance card for citizens to better keep track of their schedules.
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