A sustainable future is the plan for all of humankind, and at the current rate of the climate crisis it is vital that genuine plans are put together by the brightest brains in the business, melding science, design, and architecture perfectly to ensure that the cities of the future are built to last, without having the massive negative impact that previous generations of urban development. There is a new plan from Danish architecture studio BIG, to design a ‘prototype city of the future’ in Japan. The idea is to have the build consist of wooden buildings, autonomous vehicles from Toyota, and a prime location at the foot of Mount Fuji.
The initial plans for the project dubbed ‘Woven City’ include the use of a former car-factory site, and will become the home to 2,000 people tasked with testing smart homes, robotics, and autonomous vehicles in a ‘real-world environment’. It is an exciting experiment that was announced at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas.
President of Toyota Motor Corporation, Akio Toyoda, is excited about the challenge, saying:
“Building a complete city from the ground up, even on a small scale like this, is a unique opportunity to develop future technologies, including a digital operating system for the infrastructure, with people, buildings and vehicles all connected and communicating with each other through data and sensors, we will be able to test connected AI technology, in both the virtual and physical realms, maximising its potential.”
The city of Susono is host to the development, which will be built over a 70-hectare plot and it is hoped that work will commence in 2021. One of the biggest areas of concern for BIG in the design aspect is how to move away from what we have come to see as the norm for transportation options in towns and cities. In the Woven City, there will be a network of streets that are designed to offer three different speeds of transportation. This includes the autonomous vehicles on the main streets, the smaller streets use solely for bicycles and other types of personal transport, and a third type of street that is fully pedestrianised.
All buildings on the development will be built using sustainable timber, and solar panels placed on every roof. Central courtyards in every block helps to create community and to efficiently connect the different types of streets and transportation.
It will be interesting to see whether the Bjarke Ingels Group can achieve its aims with this city of the future in Japan, which is certainly the right country to try something as innovative as this. There is a pressing need to think about urban development in a completely different way than we have in generations past. Using sustainable materials and processes is the only way to ensure that we can live well in the future without damaging the environment further. Woven City could become the blueprint for all future cities across the world if it is successful.