Mayor Chen's Insightful Visit to Spain／打造高雄環狀輕軌 取經西班牙
Mayor Chen's Insightful Visit to Spain
◎English translation: Lin Fu-ju ◎Photos by Hsieh Kuan-yi
In 2015, Kaohsiung will open Taiwan's first circular light rail system in order to improve its transportation infrastructure and become one of Asia's prominent harbor cities. This project will be carried out with a partnership with the Spanish public company CAF (Construcciones Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles), The Spanish have a great deal of experience in light rail development and Kaohsiung City Government believes the city will truly benefit from the international partnership.
In mid-April Mayor Chen Chu headed up a delegation to Spain in order to gain more knowledge about their experiences in light rail and urban development. The delegation visited the Spanish cities of Bessain, Bilbao, Zaragoza and Seville in order to see first-hand how the cities had undergone similar development to Kaohsiung. The delegation kicked off their trip with the contractors in Bessain and visited their plant in Zaragoza. Here they learned about light rail internal operations, vehicle and body manufacturing, local design, assembly and testing. This knowledge will be imperative for the development of Kaohsiung's Light Rail System. The delegation believes the contractors will deliver quality work in a timely manner. The next stop was the city of Bilbao which has a similar geographical environment to Kaohsiung. Both cities were once big industrial, trading ports. Like Kaohsiung, through urban development, Bilbao has successfully transformed itself from industrial city into an ecological and cultural city. Like Kaohsiung, they had refurbished their rivers and developed their tourism with projects like the opening of the Guggenheim Museum. Mayor Chen Chu gained perspective on how another city had accomplished similar goals to Kaohsiung.
The next stop was the city of Seville, which is Spain's southern center for art, culture and finance. Like Kaohsiung, Seville also embraces year round sunshine and has made great strides in developing its solar energy sector. In Seville, the delegation visited Europe's largest solar plant, Abengoa Solucar. This inspired the Mayor to head up more projects that will make Kaohsiung City a greener city.
Mayor Chen Chu feels Kaohsiung has also been successful in transitioning from a city of heavy industry into a green mega city. She noted Kaohsiung's success in hosting the 2009 World Games and its anticipation of the impending 2013 Asia Pacific Cities Summit. Kaohsiung will further its international relationships by receiving delegations from neighboring countries such as Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. The city has a lot to look forward to as it embarks on new partnerships and friendships with countries from all over the world.