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Mayor Lays out Public Housing Blueprint

Mayor Ko Wen-je set forth his vision for the city’s public housing policies during a talk organized by the Department of Urban Development on December 20. He laid out four major goals in pursuit of a “liveable city”—to bring about living justice, urban aesthetics, smart city lab, and a new living model.
According to the mayor, Taipei’s house-price-to-income ratio is 15, meaning that on average one has to save without spending for 15 years to afford a house. In light of this, the city government has the responsibility to provide residents with rental housing to uphold the right to housing. Citing examples of the US, Japan, South Korea, and the Netherlands, Ko noted that Taipei must increase the percentage of public housing from the current 0.6% to at least 6% for its population of 2.7 million.
In addition to the supply of affordable apartments, the capital of Taiwan also has much room for improvement in terms of cityscape. He reckoned that more effort will be invested in the design of public housing, as well as public art, to enhance urban aesthetics.
The third goal of public housing, Ko remarked, is to serve as a driving force of industry development by introducing intelligent power meter, water meter, and U-card system into newly constructed public residential properties. Such approach, in line with the concept of energy conservation, will provide a platform for industry players to experiment with smart technologies.
Ko added that the fourth goal is to create a new living model inspired by a trip to Osaka last year. He pointed out that public apartments in the Japanese city are mostly located within close proximity to train stations, hospitals, shopping malls, and elementary schools. As Taipei’s senior population—people aged 65 and older--is set to reach 20 percent in six years, he believes that future public housing should incorporate senior activity centers, nursery and baby care facilities, clinics, convenience stores, among other public spaces.
The mayor announced that Deputy Mayor Lin will be visiting Hong Kong and Singapore in 2016 to draw lessons in this field. A public housing policy exchange platform comprising South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan will also be established, hoping that Taipei can reach on par with its Asian neighbors in the development of public housing policies.