Taichung City Mayor Shiow-yen Lu led a city hall delegation in early September to the UK and Netherlands learn from the administration experience of these countries. During the visit, she not only signed an MOU in international collaboration with Utrecht and Almere in the Netherlands but also started a new chapter in Taichung's city diplomacy. In 8 days, the delegates completed 27 itineraries, acquiring outstanding international experiences for important policies in Taichung City including air pollution control, the reinvigoration of the old town, market revitalization, and the Taichung Arena's design.
After assuming office, Mayor Lu placed significant emphasis on improving air quality by promoting multiple measures such as pushing the Taichung Power Plant to decrease coal consumption to 11.04 million tons, the phasing out of coal-fired industrial boilers by 2022, and multiplying the number of electric buses. The British government unveiled the latest Clean Air Strategy early this year, therefore the delegation especially paid a visit to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to discuss air pollution, carbon reduction, green energy, and waste disposal-related issues. It is hoped to borrow the UK's experience in an effort to improve Taichung's air quality.
Mayor Lu also met with Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen and Almere Mayor Franc Weerwind in the Netherlands to sign an MOU on international collaboration, hoping to strengthen cooperation in fields such as economy, trade, culture, education, innovation, and smart transportation.
In order to upgrade Taichung's existing public markets, Mayor Lu visited Markthal in Amsterdam, Netherlands, which is lauded as the most fashionable market in the world so as to borrow its experience that can be used as a reference for market modernization and tourism development. Taichung's North District Meat Market was established over 4 decades ago, therefore its outdated facilities and high population density in the region have affected the environmental quality of the surrounding area. As a result, the market is currently in the process of relocation, and the experience of Westfort meat market including equipment automation, technology, and management system will be taken into consideration in an effort to improve the quality of Taichung's meat market.
Taichung Arena will be constructed in the 14th Redevelopment Zone, and the construction budget has already been allocated. In light of this, Mayor Lu visited the Wembley Stadium in London, the UK to exchange and share experiences in stadium facilities, business model, types of activities, shuttle and transport. Furthermore, she also traveled to the Amsterdam Innovation Arena and Ziggo Dome in the Netherlands to exchange ideas on green energy and obtain valuable experiences in the construction and management of large international sports stadiums.
Mayor Lu perceives tremendous importance in old town transformation and renewal, hence she traveled to King's Cross in London in order to borrow experience from the greatest urban regeneration project in the UK. In promoting the concept of placemaking in Taichung, she especially visited Almere Oosterwold – a joint project by distinguished Dutch architect firm MVRDV and the city of Almere – to observe the experimental community made possible through free design and construction. The aim is to encourage the citizens to get involved in creating the living environment together and facilitate Taichung's splendid future outlook.
In addition, Mayor Lu also traveled to Park 20|20, a circular economy park, Amsterdam Science Park startup village, Giant Europe B.V./Giant Benelux B.V. in Lelystad, Amsterdam canals, Amsterdam Central Station project, RDM Campus Rotterdam, and historic building Het schielandshuis in the Netherlands, as well as Borough Market, Mayor's Thames Festival, and Hyde Park in London, UK to exchange opinions and acquire experiences in diverse fields such sustainability policy, city interaction, the European bicycle market, repurposing of old buildings, and urban waterfront spatial design, etc. This invaluable information will be an important foundation on which future policy promotions in Taichung will be based.