From Taipei to Karlsruhe and back again
Chih-Chien Hsu studied regional science at KIT 25 years ago. As deputy mayor of Taipei he came back to Karlsruhe to revive old ties and build up new once.
How do you feel coming back to Karlsruhe after such a long time?
Arriving here I still recognized some buildings, but a lot of things changed. When I studied here there were many possibilities to have a cup of coffee on Kaiserstraße – now there’s hardly anything but construction sites. Yesterday I tried to find my institute – but also on campus there are a lot of changes and I couldn’t find it anymore. But coming from Taipei, I’m quite used to fast changing cities.
Have you been in touch with the university for all the years?
Unfortunately no, but I’ve always been in touch with Chen-Ko Sung. He studied electrical engineering when I was in Karlsruhe and we got to know us back then. In the last years we met a few times in Taipei and discussed ideas for cooperation between Germany and Taipei.
This time you meet Chen-Ko Sung in Karlsruhe. For which reason did you come to Karlsruhe?
On March 25th we opened an exhibition at the Regierungspräsidium Karlsruhe about the art of porcelain in the Republic of China and in Baden-Württemberg. I visit Karlsruhe to bring our exhibits from the New Taipei City Yingge Ceramics Museum and to meet with some people to discuss further cooperation. As the deputy mayor of the New Taipei City Government I’m very interested in cooperation not only with a cultural scope, but also concerning other issues like mobility structures of cities or affordable housing. As Taipei also has a lot of manufacturing companies, cooperation between companies might be interesting as well.
New Taipei City has almost 4 million residents and is not only the biggest city, but has also rural departments. What are the biggest issues in the development of Taipei?
I see three main challenges to deal with in my job. First of all the price for housing did increase a lot. For young Taiwanese it’s quite difficult to afford a flat in Taipei. We would like to get more information on the German social housing construction. Second, when building houses we have to keep in mind environmental issues. Taipei is quite close to the mountains and we often face heavy rain. On the one hand this is important for our drinking water supply, on the other hand there’s a high risk for floods and landslides.
Furthermore mobility is a big challenge. In town we do have a very good MRT system. But we would like to build some street cars to reach the suburbs. I think especially Karlsruhe, with its street cars and trains running on the same rails, is a very good example for organizing mobility.
It seems you still benefit from some of the things you’ve learned when studying regional science.
Yes, some of the things I learned are quite useful. I really appreciate the education I got here in Karlsruhe. My professor had a strong systemic approach and getting to know this way of thinking helps me a lot in solving problems today. I even bought some more books from Germany to focus on my main subject: urban design and urban development.