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Taipei Youth for TURF Association and the role of youth in urban regeneration

Resilient smart cities are cities that have the ability to absorb, recover, and prepare for future economic, environmental, social, and institutional shocks.

One of the goals of Taiwan's 2050 net-zero emissions pathway is to promote resilient, smart cities through research and development in key areas such as urban development and regeneration. Taiwan’s goals are directly tied to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Importantly, one of the 17 SDGs is “Sustainable Cities and Communities”.

Taiwan's government wants to see buildings with improved exterior design and energy efficiency. By 2030, all new public buildings will need to be energy efficient class 1 (the highest level of efficiency) and/or near zero emissions. By 2040, 50% of existing buildings, whether commercial or residential, must be upgraded.

But by 2050, 100% of new buildings and more than 85% of existing buildings must be at or nearly at zero emission levels. All of this is required in just under 30 years.

This change must come with social support, as Taiwan will need to mediate conflicts that will naturally arise from the regeneration. It will require strong public-private partnerships, and the government must not forget its commitment to ‘leaving no one behind.'

Urban regeneration comes with a cost, whether it is the physical loss of pre-existing buildings or the psychological cost to the local community. It creates the need for citizen-led groups that must play an important educational role.

One such group is Taipei Youth for TURF Association (Taipei Urban Regeneration Future). TURF is not aligned with the government or property developers. TURF is an educational entity that seeks to educate the public about urban regeneration. TURF interviews government officials and updates the public on what the government is doing.

TURF also draws on UN Habitat’s international experience, which shows that urban regeneration projects are highly complex, and the key to their success lies in the need for all stakeholders, including local governments, communities, experts, and residents, to reach a consensus and clear vision before launching a target project. The vision and participating plans require inclusiveness of the disadvantaged and multi-level and cross-border communication and discussion to satisfy the considerations of all stakeholders.

TURF especially invites young residents in Taipei to join and actively participate, and adults from legal affairs, finance, urban architecture, landscaping, digital technology, and smart innovation.

TURF’s 2023 focus is directed at the development of smart cities. TURF understands that the development of a smart city is not the personal achievement of the government or the city itself. At present, in the absence of a unified standard definition of a smart city, TURF is turning to cloud computing, harnessing data, the internet, and communication technology as ways to achieve the sustainable development of smart cities.

TURF firmly believes that the process of creating resilient smart cities is not just one of cost. Urban regeneration comes with a very large price tag, as the initiatives are estimated to cost NT$21 billion by 2050. However, the process of creation also brings the potential of unlimited business opportunities, increased employment opportunities, and economic growth.

TURF also recognizes the dangers, such as energy shortage, environmental pollution, the urban-rural gap, and population aging. Taiwan must therefore prepare for a dynamic and unpredictable future to ensure not only the creation of resilient smart cities but a smart and resilient country.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Paul Shelton

Quelle/Source: Taiwan News, 22.05.2023

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