Editor’s Note: This entry is the second in a series of interviews conducted by Cluster in collaboration with Living Labs Global (LLG) in occasion of the second edition of the Living Labs Global Award, an international technology award for digital services that add high value to users in cities around the world. Eight global cities partnered with LLG to search for solutions to their most pressing local problems in a global context. You can submit your own solutions here.
Cities across East Asia are getting ahead to make their cities greener with major developments and city programs that integrate digital intelligence into their urban systems. Examples of the new approach can be found in China and South Korea, and Taipei is no exception. Taipei strides towards a smarter future with an emerging model of urban development, which seeks to adapt and connect systems for higher levels of sustainability in households and communities by integrating broadband technologies, ICTs and smart technologies into the construction process. Leading the way is Taiwan’s real estate giant FarGlory, which through the Living Labs Global Award 2011 (LLG), launched a global call for smart solutions in the areas of mobility, energy and security, integrated with user-oriented design, for 10,000 households in eco-communities.
Cluster put some questions to Chao Teng-Hsiung, Chairman of the Farglory Group, about his vision to drive technological change in cities, hand in hand with the public sector, and why the interaction with the global LLG network plays an important role in the process on an international level.
Marcia Caines: Could you briefly explain what type of development Farglory is planning for Taipei? Please tell us a little about Farglory’s vision and how your involvement in the Living Labs Global Award aids the dynamic process of service innovation in Taipei.
Chao Teng-Hsiung: Farglory has more than 41 years of experience in the construction industry: 30 years in the USA, 20 years in France and 16 years in China. This international experience has given us valuable insight into adopting the best practices for improving the quality of life in cities, which we perceive as our foremost responsibility in place making.
When Farglory announced the concept of New Generation Residences (NGR), which include green living and digital wisdom, we acknowledged the importance of sharing this opportunity with practitioners, SMEs, researchers, national government and public agencies from around the world in order to import the best solution to Taipei, and build relationships with global cities in different countries. We believe the LLG Award is an ideal platform for creating this impact and achieving this reach.
Federico De Giuli: In your brief for the Living Labs Global Award you make a call for smart technologies in the areas of mobility, energy and security. Solutions in these areas are urgently required for the built environment as a whole. Is it your aim to make the Farglory model replicable, effectively catalyzing a shift in building practices which could be scaled-up globally?
CT-H: Over past 5 years Farglory has been investigating international markets such as Japan, Singapore, the US and some European cities, and has formed a strategic alliance with leading international companies like Panasonic, Hitachi, Microsoft, Siemens, Philips and Wedgwood as well as developing co-operations with Taiwanese firms, among them, iii, Chunghwa Telecom, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Advantech and Acer. These partnerships will focus on improving the NGR to meet residents’ needs. This joint effort and shared expertise is strategic in terms of rethinking the modern world as a whole, and the interaction between key individuals within the public, private and civil sectors is core to innovation in the construction industry, real estate and urban development throughout the world. City leaders and stakeholders need to share knowledge and talent to succeed globally.
FDG: I believe that the home – either rented or owned – is the main living facility, inasmuch as it breeds a sense of belonging to any particular place. Over the centuries through countless revolutionary technologies our housing needs have been expressed in various ways, and to a certain extent today the private home has lost its centrality. The sharing of tangible goods and resources from cars to public space, homes to services, defines a broader environment for contemporary living to which the built environment must adapt, in terms of both technological terms and services. In your opinion is the development of smart technologies core to this paradigm shift?
CT-H: Cities need to think of new ways of working and living, which means organizing space and time while meeting the needs of city dwellers. The home is central to understanding the cultural value of society and simultaneously citizens’ needs. The real goal of the FarGlory Group is to raise the expectations of the people of Taiwan when it comes to quality living. Indeed, the Taiwan Journal has credited Farglory for launching the urban regeneration model in the form of ‘digital homes’ on which the redevelopment of the Linkou and Sansia townships of Taipei County would be based.
The purpose of every business is to provide a service arising from an opportunity, derived from the needs of the people. If the service does not meet the needs of its customers, there is no business opportunity there.
The NGR project concerns residential communities because they need to adapt in response to environmental change and because they are regarded as a significant driving force in revitalizing the slow domestic real estate market and boosting the national economy of Taiwan.