Taipei: Tops the Livable City Survey?

Newsweek, 12 March:

Once one of the most chaotic cities in Asia, Taipei is now ranked at the top of regional livability surveys.

Doesn’t surprise me at all. Considering what a shithole this place was when I first arrived in 1988, the city’s transformation is pretty miraculous. I am actually proud of it. Businesses are flourishing, the people are more civil than they used to be, the traffic is better, the air is cleaner, and I think that aesthetics in city planning are finally being taken seriously. I realize that this city has more than its share of detractors, but from where I stand, the changes are phenomenal. Now, if they can only do something about all this damn rain!

“Just an Occident Waiting to Happen”

The author of that article, Mahlon Meyer, left Taiwan to live in Hong Kong in 1997, if memory serves. He used to work for the then-China News. I wonder about someone telling me from Hong Kong, or as a parachute journalist, what it is like here.

What was the survey that they refer to?

Obviously aesthetics wasn’t one of the criteria it was assessed on.

The article doesn’t name its source. AsiaWeek publishes a livability survey each year. I’ve put a chart of the rankings for the past three years at Taipei is within the top five but not at the top.

Asiaweek gives its criteria at

Perhaps of greater surprise to people here is that Kaohsiung/Gaoxiong came in twelfth. I think Gaoxiong’s gotten a bum rap in general, but twelfth?!

As for Taipei, I’m with Maoman. It’s been getting better and better – except for the street signs…

This topic has been transferred to this forum: Living in Taiwan.

A bit of background on Mahlon Meyer: He went from the China News to take the post at Newsweek in Hong Kong because the offer was originally made for Anthony Lawrence, who had just left the China News to go over to the as-yet-unpublished Taipei Times, and Anthony recommended Mahlon in his place. A couple of years ago Mahlon tried to come back to Taiwan.
While I am happy that Taipei is getting some praise, I wonder if this guy has really done his homework.