Toyota Builds Their Own Smart City

Post by Joshua Herrig, UNI : jlh2208

Article: Toyota just started building a 175-acre smart city at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. Photos offer a glimpse of what the ‘Woven City’ will look like. by Katie Warren

Sustainability Problem(s): As we have seen in class, implementing new technologies into existing cities can prove difficult due to a host of problems, from cultural to financial to bureaucratic. The city itself will also tackle sustainable problems of energy, construction, and transportation amongst others.

Solution: By building their own smart city from the ground up, Toyota will be able to use the city as a lab and test bed for new technologies and will be able to bypass common hurdles of implementation.

The energy for Woven City city will come from a combination of hydrogen fuel cells and solar paneled roofs.

Transportation will have three types of roads that will be separated from each other: one for pedestrians, one for bicycles and one for cars. There will be testing of various sizes and types of electric, self driving vehicles. Drones will deliver goods to businesses.

Construction will be done with sustainably forested wood.

It is being built over what was once a Toyota car factory. Construction has begun and 350 people will move into the 175-acre site including families, inventors and senior citizens.

A concise video on the city can be seen here.

Some hurdles of a new city city run by one corporation: though I love the idea of building a new city from scratch, I also know that history is littered with failed utopias, as explored by the first season of the NICE TRY! podcast. There will be many issues with privacy and laws. Will everyone be tracked 24/7? What happens if a crime is committed in this city? There could be problems of monopoly and competition. What if another company comes up with a better new technology that competes with a Toyota product? Will they ban it from this city? I also think about project’s like Norman Foster’s design of Masdar City in the UAE, which looks really great and is intended to be a sustainable city of the future, but doesn’t seem to have many people actually living in it and has been called a “gimmick.” Maybe I’m preemptively judging it though.

Organizational Stakeholders include Toyota, of course, Toyota’s employees, and the citizens of the new city. Though they are never mentioned, I’m assuming the Federal government of Japan must approve the site. Another stakeholder is the architecture firm Bjark Ingels, who are the major designers of the city.

Steps for Deployment: 1. Design the city 2. Build the city 3. Run the city and 4. Have functioning citizens living and working in the city.

One thought on “Toyota Builds Their Own Smart City

  1. Thanks Josh for finding this! This is extremely interesting and I’d love to see how Toyota is able to construct this in Japan. One additional information I found interesting is that eventually, the Woven City will be able to support ~ 2,000 Toyota employees and their families, retired couples, retailers, visiting scientists, and industry partners. I look forward to seeing how this project develops.

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