Keelung City borders New Taipei City on the south and the Pacific Ocean on the north. Once the 7th largest container port in the world, the city gradually lost its position due to the lack of land for expansion, rising foreign competition and the decline of the domestic coal industry, which peaked in 1968. But Keelung’s seafaring days were not behind it, thanks to the growth the passenger cruise industry. Today, 89% of inbound cruise ships dock at the Port of Keelung, bringing 690,000 passengers to Taiwan, who generate more than NTD 6 billion in revenue. The city’s future depends on how those passengers experience what locals call the Rainy Port.
Residents of Keelung City enjoy fixed broadband at 100 Mbps, reaching 90% of households. To support its tourist industry, it has established a gigabit free public Wi-Fi system in the Port of Keelung, offering users up and downloads at 30 Mbps through 1,100 hotspots. Riding on that network is the Seamless Travel Service, which provides a combined e-ticket to popular destinations, travel information and real-time schedules for the city’s extensive transit system as well as discounts at local stores and a mobile payment solution. A network of digital interactive billboards at tourist hotspots promote local attractions and let tourists search for more information. The result is what Keelong calls “the Smiling Port.”
Keelung also collaborates intensively with local businesses and universities to upgrade access to the cultural offerings of the city. It established a Creative Center, which offers an exhibition and conference center, hotel and restaurant.
More than a real estate project, the Center hosted its first design competition in 2016 to promote local cultural and creative products, and to introduce high school and university students to local companies. It holds frequent workshops with citizens and community groups to develop and test ideas for further revitalizing the city. One such project focuses on creating “small yet beautiful spaces” in neighborhoods that felt into disrepair during the previous period of economic decline. In 2014, thirteen renovation projects were proposed and completed.
Making Education Smarter
Keelung’s future as a tourist destination and creative city depend on a highly educated workforce. It has invested in a robust broadband infrastructure for its network of 60 schools, reaching 4 Gbps in 2015 on its way to 10 Gbps in the future. On this platform, it introduced a one-to-one tablet program for students and a “happy student card,” which generates data on learning outcomes and extracurricular activities not just within the school building but at local sports centers, public libraries and museums. The city and the National Taiwan University of Science established a 3D School for Makers, where students learn creative thinking and hands-on technical skills using the latest 3D printing and manufacturing technologies. The city’s goal is to establish a classroom for makers in every school.
Fighting Shipborne Pollution
Major ports around the world struggle to manage the air pollution produced by the massive diesel engines of cargo and passenger ships. The Port of Keelung established a coastal power system for docked ships that reduced polluting gases and particles by 96%. But sustainability is not just a business process in Keelung. The city has committed itself to low-carbon office operations and energy conservation across its facilities and transit system. That transit system itself drives sustainability by providing an attractive alternative to vehicles. Keelung City has the fifth lowest ownership of cars and motorcycles per capita in Taiwan.
Neighborhoods in the city compete for honors in carbon reduction and sustainability contests, and are honored for innovative sustainability projects. These range from the conversion of streetlights to LED and recycling programs to resident education and the renovation of abandoned telephone booths into rainwater installation art.
River Corridor Project
Keelung has much greater ambitions for the future. It signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Taichung, our 2013 Intelligent Community of the Year, to collaborate on smart city projects. Three regions in the city have been identified for development of an Array of Things to monitor environmental conditions. The city has established a smart healthcare platform for managing individual cases across multiple healthcare institutions. A major plan calls for redeveloping a stagnant warehouse district as the Keelung River Corridor, home to such emerging industries as marine biotechnology and residential neighborhoods. Under Mayor Lin Yu-chang, Keelung City is working hard to leverage its maritime past while creating vast new possibilities for the future.