Does the current rail economy really help us form a better developed urban city? ( Part Two )
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Problem 3: Taiwan is unable to make full use of the night-time economic value of the land.
台灣人口聚集密度高、交通便捷，具有夜間經濟發展的潛力。根據聯合報（消失夜經濟／上，2020/11/20 蔡容喬、張曼蘋，註6）指出「夜間經濟」指由晚上6時至隔天早上6時的各類型經濟文化活動，包括餐飲、旅遊、學習、休閒及娛樂等。英國夜間産業協會（Night Time Industries Association，註7）統計，夜間經濟收入每年達660億元英鎊；美國紐約夜間經濟年產值351億美元，就業人口為29.9萬人，全年總薪資達131億元美金，比起勞動、製造業，平均多了3%到4%薪資（註8）。大陸也積極發展夜間經濟，其夜間經濟規模在2019年達到人民幣26萬4312.5億元（註9）。然而發展夜間經濟的其中主要因素即是人流，人流則仰賴交通便利性，但因台灣大眾交通運輸工具存在營運班次時間上的限制，使得夜間消費族群仰賴大眾運輸者時間一到就只能匆匆忙忙上車回家。這造成了台灣夜間經濟的發展受限，大部分營業活動都只能在白天創造價值。但反過來想，如果我們能夠排除這些限制，是不是就可以讓土地發揮更大的經濟價值？
Taiwan has a high density of population with convenient transportation, which can help explore the development potential for night time economy. According to the United Daily News (Disappearing Night Economy/One, 2020/11/20 Cai Rongqiao, Zhang Manping) , "night time economy" refers to various types of economic and cultural activities from 6 pm to 6 am the next morning, including catering, tourism, learning, leisure, and entertainment. According to the Night Time Industries Association (Night Time Industries Association) in UK, the annual income of the night time economy is 66 billion pounds; in New York it is 35.1 billion U.S. dollars, the employed population is 299,000, and the total annual salary reaches 13.1 billion U.S. dollars, exceeding that of labor and manufacturing by 3% to 4%. The mainland China is also actively developing the night time economy, and its scale reached RMB 26,431.25 billion in 2019. However, one of the main critical elements for the development of the night time economy is the flow of people, which depends on the accessibility of transportation. Due to the limitation of the operating hours of public transportation in Taiwan, consumers at night time has to return home before the railway station is closed. This has restrained the development of Taiwan’s economy at night time, and thus most business activities can only create value during the day time. However, if we can loosen those restrictions, we may exert greater economic value for the land.
Solution: Explore the feasibility of developing night time economy.
Taiwan officials can consider extending the operating hours of public transportation, which may help to increase the accessibility of night time activities in the surrounding areas. Moreover, the increase in employment opportunities of night time economy can help industries to gradually form an industry ecosystem. Since the launch of the round-the-clock subway in London on Friday and Saturday, the entire city has stayed active for consecutive 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays. This is a perfect example of the rail economy and the night time economy being intertwined with each other and that the city can generate economic value through commercial activities both day and night. Back to Taiwan, if the Taipei MRT can extend its operating hours for a few more hours , with its extensive network, it will be able to largely expand its service accessibility to the majority of commercial activities at night time.
Furthermore, governments can designate specific areas allowing private operators running its facilities at night time. Take Linkou as an example, the district has been designated as the multi media center area. Currently, Mistui outlet mall is already set up in the area with more new developments to come, including a multi-media entertainment building, an exhibition center, and a media theme park. If the extension of public transportation operating hours can be implemented while all the developments are complete, then it will be able to attract considerable crowds and generate economic benefits to Linkou district at the night time.
So what are current alternatives to night time activities other than shopping malls, restaurants, bars, night markets, Karaoke and night clubs? Taiwan can leverage its rich historical and cultural attractions to give visitors a unique experience at night time. Large-scale public cultural venues such as grand theaters and concert halls can also hold night time shows in the venues. Take the Broadway in New York as an example, the night time venues can involve live restaurants and bars, music performance center, opera house, art gallery, museums, to name just a few, nearby the rail or MRT stations. Events take place in those venues with easy access to public transportation can allow people to enjoy night time entertainment experience, which benefits the local economy.
In fact, in southern Taiwan, Kaohsiung City is already on the track of learning how to realize rail economy to help create urban night time economy. According to the United Daily News (Disappearing Night Economy/On, 2020/11/20 Tsai Rongqiao, Zhang Manping) Kaohsiung City Councilor Kuo Jianmeng gave advice on the development of Kaohsiung’s night time economy, and was also given permission from the Mayor. The Mayor considered to establish a Special Desk to promote the night time economy, by harnessing the industry ecosystem from night time activities to its best use, and increasing the willingness of events operators to hold large-scale events in Kaohsiung, thus creating more output value and job opportunities. Through the current urban infrastructure investment (up to 25 billion NTD) of Weiwuying National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, Kaohsiung Exhibition Hall, Pop Music Center and Cruise Passenger Transport Building, we can cultivate a culture and entertainment ecosystem such as conventions and exhibitions, art and cultural performances, cruise tourism, and film, television and music by connecting the Port 2 and other port area with the light rail and MRT, thereby driving the transformation of Kaohsiung to an urban city with high value added economy.
Problem 4: Taiwan’s pedestrian routes around rail stations are fragmented, breaking up the links between the surrounding new developments.
Most pedestrian routes around the Taiwan Railway and High-speed Railway stations are connected within the station site itself, but there is no connection between the station and other buildings surrounding it. Passengers have to spend more time commuting and experience the inconvenience caused during the rainy day, reducing the ease of accessibility. Such feeling of inconvenience may lead to less consumer flow to less accessible places, indirectly having negative impact on the robustness of the commercial district around the station. As a rule of thumb, more people attracted to the area indicate there will be higher chance of earning consumer’s pocket money. Hence, if the route planning around rail station is not user friendly, then it is likely that it will inhibit the potential value of the business district from being fully utilized.
Solution: Schedule pedestrian routes that well connect surrounding areas.
Japan is a good model in traffic design & planning around rail station. The pedestrian route within and nearby rail stations are three-dimensional and cross-connected horizontally, so passengers can easily reach the surrounding locations from the station. For example, Shibuya Station plans the entire station area as a three-dimensional traffic zone, with flyovers and underground walkways connecting the surrounding buildings. In addition, the station is planned to separate pedestrians and vehicles, so that pedestrians and vehicles do not interfere with each other, which helps smooth traffic. Shinjuku Station has a well-planned pedestrian bridge system, and pedestrian can walk to the surrounding area through the pedestrian bridge after exiting the station. Passengers can also choose to take a bus from the exit of the underpass, which is quite convenient. Governments or local developers should change their way of thinking from the development of “single site” to the design of “entire zone or area” when arranging the pedestrian routes, so that the passengers’ consumption journey can be unimpeded, and the benefits of maximizing the value of the land can be generated.
Problem 5: Taiwan needs to reduce building construction’s carbon emissions around the development of rail station area.
在軌道經濟的帶動下，台灣的都市規劃以車站為中心做整體區域的開發，因此車站周遭建築採納綠建築或環境永續規劃措施可以達到標竿典範效果，引導整體區域建築綠建築及環境永續化。根據「2021年氣候變遷績效指標，註10」（Climate Change Performance Index，CCPI 2021）排名，台灣在61個國家中排名第57名，其中在Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG Emissions)中的得分是非常低。 足可見台灣在節能減碳措施上還有很大的進步空間。事實上，在台灣有許多天然災害問題都與排碳、能源消耗有關，例如在高樓林立的都會區當中常見的熱島效應，其中一個形成原因是都市綠地不足，水泥建築不斷吸熱而造成溫度上升，也會因為更多綠地消失而產生更多的二氧化碳。那麼，在綠色環保時代趨勢下，該如何做才能在建築過程達到節能減碳，以緩和這些氣候災害，並為不動產帶來更高的環境永續價值？
Driven by the rail economy, the overall urban planning in Taiwan mostly centers on the railway station. Therefore, the adoption of green buildings or eco-friendly planning for the development surrounding the station can set a good example and guide for the overall building construction in Taiwan. According to the “2021 Climate Change Performance Index” (CCPI 2021) ranking, Taiwan ranks 57th out of 61 countries, and its score in the Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG Emissions) item is very poor. This shows that there is still much room for improvement in energy-saving and carbon-reduction measures in Taiwan. In fact, many natural disasters in Taiwan are related to carbon emission and energy consumption. For example, the urban heat island effect is common in metropolitan areas with tall buildings. One of its cause is the lack of urban green space and the continuous heat absorption of cement buildings, which raises the temperature of the surrounding area. Under the goal of achieving global environmental sustainability, what should be done to achieve energy saving and carbon reduction in the construction process, so as to alleviate these climatic disasters and bring higher environmental sustainability value to real estate?
Solution: Make green ecology become an architectural feature.
The urban planning around Mayfield Station in the United Kingdom attaches great importance to sustainability. For example, the buildings in this area use a new type of low-energy building material "graphene concrete", which can reduce material use by nearly 30% compared with ordinary concrete buildings, greatly reducing the carbon emissions during the construction process, and alleviating the urban heat island effect in the city. In addition, in order to save water, the Mayfield Station community has set up rainwater recycling systems, and the rainwater collected can be used to flush toilets or irrigate plants in the park. The Toshima Forest in Tokyo, Japan is also a good example of ecological architecture. The entire building is covered by components such as solar panels, greening panels, and heat dissipation panels. The configuration of the components will vary according to the height and orientation of the building. For example, green panels are installed in places that are easily affected by wind, rain, noise, etc.; solar panels are installed in places with sufficient sunshine. In addition, the building is also equipped with eco-friendly designs, which can take advantage of natural resources such as natural light and wind to save energy. We can tell that the planning as well as design of Mayfield Station and Toshima Forest pay a lot of attention to environmental protection and ecological concepts, which can be used as a reference for the future design of buildings at or nearby rail stations in Taiwan.
建築設計結合綠色生態不僅能夠順應綠色生態的趨勢，也能透過完善的整體建築設計，形成地區的觀光地標。例如舊金山中央車站將整個車站的頂層蓋一空中公園「Salesforce Park」，其主要特色為站區整片園林360度被高樓商廈所包圍，因此形成名符其實的城市綠洲景觀。同樣位於美國的知名景點The High Line即是由廢棄的紐約舊鐵道改建而成的城市公園，其特色為依照鐵道沿線風景設計步道景觀，以植栽的質地、顏色呈現沿路不斷變化的生態，與景觀融合，成功吸引旅客並帶動周邊景點發展。另外，建築結合綠色生態也能夠減緩熱島效應。植物在進行蒸散作用時會消耗能量，使周邊空氣降溫冷卻；而綠色生態也能夠達到遮蔽建築物的效果，以阻絕熱輻射，讓居民能夠享受更優質的都市生活。
Combining architectural design with green ecology not only conforms to the trend of green ecology, but also forms a tourist landmark in the region. For example, San Francisco Central Station covers the top floor of the station with a sky park called "Salesforce Park." Its main feature is that the entire garden of the station area is 360-degree surrounded by high-rise commercial buildings, thus forming a veritable urban oasis landscape. The High Line, a well-known attraction also located in the New York, is an urban park converted from an old railway track. The landscape integration has successfully attracted tourists and promoted the development of surrounding scenic spots. In addition, the combination of building and green ecology can also slow down the urban heat island effect. When plants undergo evapotranspiration, they consume energy to cool the surrounding air; the green ecology can also block thermal radiation from buildings, allowing residents to enjoy a better urban life.
Overall, from our above discussion, the rail economy has indeed improved the efficiency of land use around the station. However, it raises the problem of high homogeneity products in urban planning. It can be learnt from the above that there is still room for improvement concerning urban development around rail station. The limited increase in land value also implies that the land has a lot of development potential to be explored. If we can take the overall planning strategy into account to solve the above problems and differentiate product planning for different places, we can give full play to the maximum value of the rail economy and enjoy a richer and more diverse urban life: by giving real estate unique functional positioning, the development of the business districts between old and new can be balanced ; by planning cultural and artistic facilities, people can be provided with more leisure and entertainment choices; by loosening the legal restrictions on railway institutions, government can comprehensively consider the development more from the overall land planning perspective, and make a more distinctive business district without expensing the old business district; by relaxing the operation hours of public transportation, cities can develop a more flexible night time economy and fully explore the land value potential; by improving the pedestrian route planning, cities can revitalize the business district around the station without causing more inaccessible blocks; by promoting environmentally sustainable buildings, people can enjoy a higher-quality sustainable environment, and help Taiwan become a role model of global energy saving and carbon reduction in the future. We hope that in the future, the development around rail stations in Taiwan can one day be referenced as successful real estate planning cases abroad, and take a path of its own to bring better urban environment in its people.
# 軌道經濟 # 都市規劃 # 不動產開發
# 不動產產品定位 # 資產價值最大化