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Sports City — Taipei's New Future (TAIPEI Quarterly 2024 Spring Vol.35)

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Post date:2024-03-11

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TAIPEI #35 (2024 Spring)

Sports City — Taipei's New Future


Author Joella Jian
Photographer Brown Chen, Mike Sung, Tzuying Sun, Hydraulic Engineering Office, Taipei City Government, Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government

fs-1▲The completion of the Taipei Dome provides Taipei with more opportunities to participate in international competitions and exchange activities, enhancing the city's global visibility. (Photo・Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government)

In any city, whether for local residents or visiting tourists, safety is a crucial indicator of the overall quality of life. Only in a country where personal safety is not a major concern can one fully enjoy the local customs and culture. 

According to the 2023 "Safest Cities In The World" ranking by RankingRoyals, Taipei secured 4th place among 424 cities worldwide. Additionally, the Numbeo database, which evaluates the "Current Safety Index/Crime Index by City" globally, placed Taipei 3rd out of 416 cities.

Efforts to Improve

To bring Taipei City in line with international health, safety, and sustainability standards, the Taipei City Government launched a series of campaigns and policy improvements in the past two years. In his first year in office, Mayor Chiang Wan-An (蔣萬安) declared this year to be Taipei City's "Traffic Safety Year," and shortened the "Taipei Traffic Safety Plan" from five to three years. The plan includes improvements to existing intersection designs, the promotion of sidewalk leveling projects, a review of pedestrian crosswalks, the installation of pedestrian refuge islands, and the addition of physical pedestrian walkways. All these efforts and more have been made in order to refute the tag of "pedestrian hell," a label once bestowed upon Taipei City by CNN. 

fs-2▲Mayor Chiang Wan-An announced this year as Taipei city's "Traffic Safety Year." (Photo・Mike Sung)

Moreover, Taipei has set concrete goals for carbon reduction, targeting a 40% reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2050. This involves implementing environmental policies such as "Smart and Zero-Carbon Buildings," "Low-carbon Green Transportation," and "Zero Waste, Full Recycling." 

Meanwhile, Mayor Chiang believes that sports and vitality are key to a city's competitiveness, transcending gender and ethnicity. He strives for all citizens to be able to share in the joy of sports, actively promoting the completion and utilization of the Taipei Dome (台北大巨蛋). Additionally, under his leadership, Taipei successfully hosted the 2023 Asian Baseball Championship, and would host two exhibition games of  the Yomiuri Giants in March 2024 at the Taipei Dome, demonstrating a commitment to encouraging participation across all generations in various sporting. The Taipei City Government is embarking on a new era, aiming to transform Taipei into a secure, athletic, and futuristic metropolis. The journey has already begun, and change is in progress.

The Past and Future of Taipei Dome

Located in the bustling Xinyi District, Taipei Dome is a multifunctional indoor baseball stadium and the largest indoor sports facility in Taiwan.

Taipei Dome boasts world-class amenities, including imported red soil from the US and turf from Mizuno in Japan. The stadium's design aligns with Major League Baseball (MLB) standards, aiming to familiarize Taiwanese players with international playing environments to enhance their performance in international-level games. The most distinctive feature is the dome's design. With a total height from ground to roof reaching 74.5 meters, it provides a more spacious and panoramic view compared to domes in the US and Japan.

fs-3▲Rivaling the stadium standards of MLB, the Taipei Dome is sure to become a significant landmark for Taipei, and even for Taiwan as a whole. (Photo・Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government)

On November 10th, 1991, during the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) championship series, an unfortunate downpour occurred, leaving over 13,000 spectators drenched. Despite being soaked, their spirit of excitement persevered. In unison, they shouted, "We want a Big Egg," directed at the then Prime Minister Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村), who was present. 

A few days later, Hau announced the initiation of a project to build a large dome-shaped stadium in Taipei, similar to the one in Japan, specifically Tokyo Dome, whose nickname was "Tokyo Big Egg." This marked the beginning of what would later become Taipei Dome.

However, the development and construction of Taipei Dome were far from smooth. It underwent a long and arduous journey, spanning nearly 32 years and enduring 6 mayorships. Finally, on October 20th, 2023, despite various challenges, Taipei Dome was completed and officially inaugurated on December 2nd, 2023.

fs-4▲Chiang Wan-An, Mayor of  Taipei, attended the closing ceremony of the Asian Baseball Championship. (Photo・Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government)

Taiwan's baseball prowess is widely recognized internationally, and baseball holds a prominent place as Taiwan's national sport. Taipei Dome, aside from being an international competition venue, will also play a role in nurturing grassroots baseball talent in Taiwan. For instance, it will offer incentives to nearby and grassroots baseball teams at the junior and senior high school levels. Additionally, charitable slots at Taipei Dome may be allocated to organize student baseball competitions, granting young players the opportunity to compete on an international standard field from an early age.

With the completion of Taipei Dome, Taipei will have more opportunities to host international events and exchange activities. In the future, efforts will be made to attract more international-level competitions, whether first or second tier, to be held in Taipei. Baseball legend Sadaharu Oh (王貞治) praised the Taipei Dome as a significant landmark for Asian baseball. This stadium will provide Taiwanese athletes with more chances to compete on familiar ground and enhance the international visibility of Taipei City, giving tourists yet another reason to visit Taipei!

fs-5▲The Taipei Dome connects to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall by an underpass, allowing audience to be easily cleared. (Photo・Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government) 

For baseball enthusiasts, the Taipei Dome's journey from conception to reality is a dream come true. When visiting Taipei, don't miss the opportunity to witness this historic structure, which has become a new landmark for the city.

Sports Culture in Taipei

In recent years, the sports culture in Taipei City has flourished. According to statistics, Taipei leads other municipalities in aspects such as the proportion of the population engaging in regular physical activities, points earned in national sports competitions, number of participants in national sports events, and the amount of sponsorship for professional sports teams. 

fs-6▲The number of health-conscious citizens is ever on the rise, and many accompany their furry friends for a walk to maintain their physical and mental health. (Photo・Tzuying Sun)

Besides Taipei Dome, Taipei City Government has also introduced three major pillars to its sports policy, namely, "Three Steps to Promote Exercise for All Citizens," "Three Steps to Improve Competitive Sports Talent Development," and "Promoting Sports Culture and Economic Development Through Major Events." These initiatives aim to transform the city into a large-scale sports hub, fostering regular physical activity among citizens and encouraging the pursuit of a fulfilling life.

fs-9▲Taipei's parks are popular destinations for family recreational activities, where children cultivate their passion for all kinds of sports from an early age. (Photo・Brown Chen)

This year, the Taipei City Government has also launched the "Sports Center 2.0 Project." By creating diverse and comprehensive sports facilities, the project aims to boost the city's sports development. This includes assessing sports venue resources in various administrative districts, evaluating public spaces, campuses, and available locations, planning for the establishment of multifunctional sports facilities, and taking account of factors such as smart sustainability, diverse communities, international competitive sports, and local characteristics. 

Building upon the foundation of one sports center per administrative district, the goal is to continually expand sports activity spaces, enhance sports equipment, and create a city focused on sports for all ages. This approach ensures that citizens can lead healthy, sustainable, and enjoyable lives. Simultaneously, efforts continue to establish distinctive sports venues and a further sports centers as inclusive facilities for the entire community. By providing top-quality infrastructure and hosting internationally acclaimed sporting events, the aim is to showcase Taipei to the world through sports, and develop its reputation as the "City of Sports."

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