Walking Taipei (part 1)
Struggling to stay human in a landscape of massive infrastructure, mopeds, and materialism.
(I have a lot more to say about Taipei, but want to give my first impressions after a week of walking it.)
Taipei isn’t big, not in footprint. You can walk from one end to another, assuming you don’t mind crossing bridges with speeding mopeds inches from you, in a few hours. Constrained by marshy inlets and jagged hills it’s channeled its growth by not wasting any space, and by building taller.
And what growth it’s had and what wonders it’s accomplished. Not long ago Taipei was languishing near the bottom rung of the development ladder with places like Hanoi, Lima, and Amman, now it’s near the top, hobnobbing around with the likes of Tokyo1.
Taipei has accomplished all of this because it’s effectively the home office of an island sized factory which takes in raw materials and spits out manufactured goods, like computer chips, plastic this and that, medical equipment, games, anything and everything that the rest of the world requires to live a good life.2