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Kaohsiung mayor in Paris to get ideas on urban development

2015/10/11 17:52:01

Photo courtesy of Kaohsiung City Government

Paris, Oct. 11 (CNA) Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said she was impressed by the layout of La Défense during a tour of the Parisian district Saturday and expected her port city to learn from it in carrying out a new bay area development project.

Kaohsiung's Asia New Bay Area should have integrated paths allowing pedestrians and cars to travel separately as is the case in La Défense to create a premium city brand, Chen said.

Paris was the second of two French cities Chen intends to visit on a 10-day trip to France that began on Oct. 6 aimed at learning about urban construction and development. She has already visited Marseille, the second largest city in France.

During her stay in La Défense, Chen also said she will ask the central government to designate the planned Asia New Bay Area as a "national construction" project so that publicly and privately owned land within the 590-hectare area can be efficiently integrated.

The government can also help attract private investment to accelerate implementation of the project, Chen said.

The NT$30 billion (US$929 million) Asia New Bay Area project is planned as an integrated port-city district adjacent to downtown Kaohsiung.

It will feature five major elements: a ringlike light-rail transport system, a conference/exhibition center, a marine culture and pop music center, a public library and a port and cruise services center.

Launched in 2013, the project is about to enter its second phase of construction, which will focus on land integration and redevelopment, Chen said.

Like La Défense, Kaohsiung's waterfront went through tough times, with abandoned factories and commercial facilities scattered around the area.

After private investment was drawn into the area as part of an urban renewal program, businesses have flocked to the area, which now attracts nearly 9 million tourists each year, Chen said.

La Défense, a major business district in the Île-de-France region, is located at the westernmost extremity of the 10-kilometer-long Historical Axis of Paris, which starts at the Louvre in Central Paris. It contains many of the Paris urban area's tallest high-rises.

Covering 564 hectares of land, La Défense was originally home to factories, slums and farming fields before being developed in the late 1950s.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Elizabeth Hsu)