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City Happiness

City Happiness
Taitung County Magistrate Justin Huang

Using Tourism to Save the Economy

Since taking office five years ago, he has helped transform Taitung County from a remote southern coastal city with 40 percent low-income families and a serious population drain into a major tourism hotspot. How has County Magistrate Justin Huang presided over such a turnaround?

City Happiness
Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan

Forging a New Leadership Model

Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan was a surprise winner of his city’s mayoral election in 2014, and he has continued to surprise in office, showing diligence and savvy in building a positive image among city residents and delivering results.

City Happiness
Hsinchu City Mayor Lin Chih-chien

Lifting Up the ‘Sandwich Generation’

Taiwan’s youngest city mayor heads up a city that will mark its tricentennial next year. On the strength of a series of popular initiatives, Hsinchu City Mayor Lin Chih-chien is helping reshape Taiwan’s own “Windy City” to face the challenges of the new century.

City Happiness
Nantou County Magistrate Lin Ming-chen

A Mobile County Government at Home with Constituents

CommonWealth Magazine journeyed to the remote county of Nantou to get to the bottom of dark horse Lin Ming-chen’s popularity.

City Happiness
2017 Local Leader Approval Survey

Major Reshuffling of Top Stars

CommonWealth Magazine's latest local leader approval survey results are out. As the bipartisan divide between the blue and green political camps wanes, many veteran mayors and magistrates are seeing their stars fall, while rookies are rising to new highs.

City Happiness
2016 City Happiness Survey

Taiwan’s ‘Well-Being’ Revolution

CommonWealth Magazine’s latest City Happiness Survey has found that residents’ trust in their local leader may go a lot further in promoting a sense of “well-being” than a community’s resources and infrastructure or tangible initiatives.

City Happiness
2016 Local Leader Approval Survey

Political Shifts Point to New Leadership Trends

As the leaders of Taiwan’s 22 cities and counties near the second half of their four-year terms, their approval ratings have taken some unexpected turns. Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te lost his crown, while the chief executives of two offshore counties grabbed ranks 1 and 2, and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je came in second to last.

City Happiness
2015 City Happiness Survey

Restructuring Triggers Fight for People, Resources

Taiwan’s “Big Six” special municipalities have now taken shape, soaking up resources and people, and extending the gap between cities and towns. Not only improving its ranking across five categories to claim first place, Taipei displaced Taichung City as the top destination for “domestic migration.”

City Happiness
Political Stars Take Small Step Back

2015 Local Leader Approval Survey

In CommonWealth Magazine’s survey of people in Taiwan’s 22 cities and counties, many local leaders, including those considered stars, saw their satisfaction ratings fall below expectations, but some newcomers made big jumps.

City Happiness
2014 City Happiness Survey

Prosperity Not Translating into Happiness

The cities of Taipei and Hsinchu are the most competitive in Taiwan but that competitiveness did not translate into a sense of well-being, according to CommonWealth Magazine's 2014 City Happiness Survey.

City Happiness
2014 City Happiness Survey

Is Your City Safe?

According to City Safety Index established by CommonWealth, as many as 14 of the 22 municipalities in Taiwan emerged as "high risk" places. What can their residents do to protect themselves?

City Happiness
2014 Local Leader Approval Survey

DPP Retains Top 3, Near Half See Ratings Fall

As the year-end elections loom large in Taiwan, the chief executives of the island’s 22 cities and counties are battling to retain office, yet 40 percent have suffered a drop in their popularity. CommonWealth holds their scorecards up for readers to judge.

City Happiness
2013 City Happiness Survey

Which Taiwanese City Would You Call Home?

Taichung has emerged as the place where most Taiwanese would like to live, pushing aside Taipei. While the capital is still seen as the island's most representative city, its glitter generates less happiness than its country cousins.

City Happiness
2013 City Happiness Survey

Ramping Up Reading

With the bold ambition of becoming a "city of reading," Kaohsiung is pooling the resources of its 61 public libraries, making millions of books available to its schools. Throughout Taiwan, cities are raising competiveness by elevating culture, and the answer lies in books.

City Happiness
2013 City Happiness Survey

Taipei, Jinmen Rise to the Top

The competitiveness rankings of Taiwan’s five big "special municipalities" produced few surprises, but at the "city and county" level, small island counties showed unexpected strength.

City Happiness
2013 Local Leader Approval Survey

DPP Stands Firm, KMT Shuffles Deck

Personal scandals and unpopular strong-hand measures have caused public support to plummet for some local leaders, while innovation and effective public relations have won residents' hearts.

City Happiness
Taiwan's Young Voters

Who They Favor as the Next President

Taiwan's top five mayors stand the greatest chance of rising to political supremacy. But first they must win the enigmatic hearts of the younger generation. A new CommonWealth survey shows how they're stacking up.

City Happiness
Jhanghua County Commissioner Cho Po-yuan

Getting a Grip on Public Perceptions

Cho Po-yuan enjoys one of the highest voter support rates of any KMT mayor or county executive. As one of the new generation of KMT leaders, how is Cho getting his constituents to sense his passion for public administration?

City Happiness
Yilan County Commissioner Lin Tsung-hsien

Cultivating the Good Life

What does well-being taste like? The residents of Yilan seem to know. More than 90 percent of people living there say they are happy. What has their chief executive done to make them feel so satisfied?

City Happiness
2012 Local Leader Approval Survey

The Rise of a New Generation

Taiwan's highest public approval ratings belong to newcomers. But will they be able to meet expectations? And what do the rankings reveal about the state of Taiwan's democracy and the island's political landscape?

City Happiness
2012 City Happiness Survey

Does Competitive Equal Happy?

What places in Taiwan are mostly likely to foster the greatest sense of well-being? CommonWealth Magazine's latest survey of happiness throughout Taiwan's cities and counties reveals that living the good life has little to do with material standards.

City Happiness
2011 CommonWealth Happiness Survey

Making Wellness Prevail

Some cities with the conditions most conducive to well-being give their mayors mediocre ratings, while those in less favorable areas are the most content. What do local leaders need to do to achieve a hike in happiness?

City Happiness
2011 Local Leader Approval Survey

Big Names See Their Stars Fall

Just having a recognizable name no longer guarantees political popularity. As this year's Local Leader Approval Survey reveals, the secret to success is balancing the public's aspirations with sustainable local development.

City Happiness
Taiwan Wants More than a Pretty GDP

2010 Happiness Survey

What makes a city’s residents happy? The issues people care about are not luxury housing or impressive statistics, but a sustainable environment, a fulfilling job and a good place to live.

City Happiness
Elections for Taiwan's ‘Five Municipalities'

Who Can Deliver Happiness?

In a series of exclusive interviews, the candidates for mayor of Taipei City, Xinbei City and Kaohsiung City present their plans for governance after the reshuffling of Taiwan's administrative districts.

City Happiness
2010 Local Leader Approval Survey

A Sea Change in Voter Sentiment

This year Taiwanese citizens are ready for change. Approval of local chief executives from the opposition party has risen, while ruling party approval is on the skids. Why is Taiwan’s "blue camp" singing the blues across the island?

City Happiness
Taiwan's Municipal Upgrades

Winners and Losers

Some are greeting Taiwan's new districting system with joy, others with pessimism. How can Taiwan's five new top-tier cities truly leap onto the international stage? And how can Taiwan narrow the gap between city and countryside?

City Happiness
Kaohsiung City

From Soot and Smoke to the Sweet Life

How does a city of heavy industry seize the nation’s top environmental ranking? Kaohsiung's revolution in urban aesthetic began 'on the river.'

City Happiness
Penghu County

An Ambitious Gamble

Penghu Island, long a popular destination for local travelers, has set its sights on loftier goals – attracting well-healed international tourists with five-star resort hotels and casinos. But can Penghu realize its grand designs?

City Happiness
2009 Happiness Survey

The Ascent of the City

In 2009, city and county chiefs face pressure to perform, and urban areas claim a higher quality of life than their country counterparts. In this year’s Happiness Survey, which localities have risen, and which are on the slide?

Penghu Rolls the Dice on Its Own Future

Will the construction of a gambling casino on Penghu really vault these beautiful islands into the international arena? Hard-up Penghu islanders may pass a referendum on gaming, but regulation will be the key to whether it takes off.

City Happiness
Tainan Mayor Hsu Tain-Tsair

From Ramshackle City to Healthy Metropolis

Once saddled with the nation's highest unemployment rate and a back-of-the-pack environmental rating, how has Tainan City mayor Hsu Tain-tsair breathed new life into his city in just six short years?

City Happiness
2008 Happiness Survey

Sustainable Management Trumps Blind Development

Taiwan's cities and counties have entered a new era of competition based on balanced development. CommonWealth Magazine's latest survey of happiness reveals which localities are succeeding.

City Happiness
Taoyuan County Commissioner Chu Li-lun

A Niche County Surges Forward with Brand Power

Sandwiched between the economic powerhouses of metropolitan Taipei and Hsinchu and initially regarded as having few prospects, once listless Taoyuan has become a place where more and more people live and work in contentment.

City Happiness
2007 Happiness Survey

Where Is Taiwan's Haven of Happiness?

The crucial role of chief executives, the felicitous influence of science parks, Jiayi City's precipitous rise in the rankings... This year's 'Happiness Survey' reveals the state of well-being in areas across Taiwan.

City Happiness
2007 Happiness Survey

On a Roll at the Local Level

Where in Taiwan are the residents proudest and happiest? Building a brand and finding unique identity can give small localities new life. How are Taiwanese cities and counties managing to stand out from the pack?

City Happiness
Enabler of Happiness: Kaohsiung County's Chiu-hsing Yang

The Flamingo Lily Miracle

Southern Taiwan's Kaohsiung County is harnessing sophisticated farming techniques and tourism marketing to optimize its agricultural and fishing resources.

City Happiness
Enabler of Happiness: Taoyuan County?s Eric Chu

First Class Service, Top Flight Productivity

Within six short years Taoyuan County has emerged as Taiwan's most productive area. The next challenge for its magistrate will be to give Taoyuan a more international outlook.

City Happiness
Enabler of Happiness: Tainan's Tain-Tsair Hsu

Restoring Luster to a Faded Beauty

As Taiwan?s venerable first city, Tainan boasts countless cultural treasures. Mayor Tain-Tsair Hsu is working to profit from the city?s historical assets and restore its former splendor.

City Happiness
Enabler of Happiness: Taichung City's Jason Hu

Turning Taichung into the Vienna of the East

Taichung City may not be able to compete with the economic might of Taipei or Kaohsiung. But it has a much better chance of overtaking Taiwan's two biggest cities when it comes to style and culture.