‘City of the Future’ to be Built in Japan

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The “city of the future” may be here soon, as several experts are creating innovative blueprints for it.

Toyota Motor Corp. recently announced that it will be constructing a prototype smart city at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan, CNBC reported. It will sit on a 175-acre property, serving as a testing ground for emerging technologies, such as self-driving cars, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes, and artificial intelligence.

Called the Woven City, the community will be a fully interlinked ecosystem housing approximately 2,000 people, including employees, retailers, researchers, engineers, and scientists.

The master plan features three different types of streets designed for a certain type of user. One, for instance, will be for fast vehicles. Another will have a mix of lower-speed personal mobility vehicles and pedestrians. The third one will be solely for pedestrians, designed to be a park-like promenade.

Planned to be fully sustainable, all the features of the city are eco-friendly. The buildings will be made mostly of wood, which means less carbon footprint. The vehicles will be autonomous, producing zero emission. The power source will use solar technologies and hydrogen fuel cells.

Meanwhile, residential communities will feature state-of-the-art machines. Each house will have human support machines, like robotics, helping dwellers with everyday life.

The project will break ground in 2021, but Toyota did not disclose the completion date nor the cost of the initiative.

The Most Powerful Passport

It’s expected that the Woven City will not just improve knowledge on smart infrastructures, but also boost tourism in Japan in the future. The Philippines already has local areas emerging as smart cities, but Filipinos curious about Japan’s city of the future can take direct flights from Manila to Shizouka, where Mt. Fuji is located.

Interestingly, the Land of the Rising Sun is leading the world not just in terms of groundbreaking research. According to a new index report, Japan holds the most powerful passport in the world, accessing a number of destinations without a visa, as reported in Independent. It has maintained its position for the third year now. The next most powerful passports belong to Singapore, Germany, South Korea, Finland, Italy, Denmark, Luxembourg, and Spain.

Smart Cities in the Philippines

The Philippines also has its own smart cities, modern municipalities that make information and communication technologies (ICT) available for its citizens’ everyday affairs. Makati, for one, was recognized in last year’s World Smart Cities Award held in Barcelona, Spain. According to Rappler, the city emerged to be a finalist in the Innovative Idea category for its efficient disaster risk reduction and management efforts.

At the time, the financial capital of the country had 141 disaster response vehicles. The local government also equipped public schools and the city hall with 307 CCTV cameras and 136 automatic external defibrillators (portable equipment used to revive someone who suffered sudden cardiac arrest). The Makati Command Control and Communications Center would monitor all these gears, and would be improved further to be an Internet-of-Things platform.

A modern complex merging the city’s central fire station, police headquarters, rescue team, and public safety department is part of an infrastructure development plan the local government will execute in the future.

Meanwhile, Iloilo City also emerges as a smart city, with its high connectivity facilitated by free Wifi in public areas. The municipality’s city hall, public parks, cultural heritage tourism zones, and roads, like Esplanade and La Paz Plaza, are equipped with Wifi technology. The local government partnered with Google Station’s partner Smart Telecommunications in offering such public service.

Perhaps the most-awaited smart city in the country is the New Clark City. Known as “the vision of modern Philippines,” the community has all the makings of a sustainable, tech-oriented urban sprawl.

The Business Mirror reported that the buildings are made of concrete mixed with lahar or volcanic debris, which helps reduce emission of particulate matters into the atmosphere during construction. The development also causes minimal disruption to natural elements, preserving ecological features and allowing people to enjoy green spaces.

In terms of energy use, the city will be tapping into solar power, liquefied natural gas, and waste-to-energy facilities, according to CNN Philippines. Homes and buildings would use as little energy as possible to reduce carbon footprint.

Beyond Makati, Iloilo, and Clark, the government identified 20 more municipalities as “next-wave” and “emerging” cities, which show excellent ICT infrastructure, making them smart cities in their own right. 

Sources:  CNBC, Independent, Rappler, Business Mirror, CNN Philippines

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