Technology – “Imagine a smart city that would allow researchers, engineers and scientists the opportunity to freely test technology such as autonomy, mobility as a service, personal mobility, robotics, smart home connected technology, AI and more, in a real-world environment.” Said Mr. Akio Toyoda, CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation, who presented with BIG Founder Bjarke Ingels the visionary Toyota Woven City at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
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Toyota Woven City aims to bring people and communities together in a future enabled by technology yet grounded in history and nature. An animation by Squint Opera unveiled the smart development located at a 70-hectare former factory site in the city of Susono in Shizuoka.
The city will utilize solar energy, geothermal energy, and hydrogen fuel cell technology to strive towards a carbon neutral society, with plans to break ground in phases beginning in 2021. The Woven City is conceived as a flexible network of streets dedicated to various speeds of mobility for safer, pedestrian-friendly connections.
“In an age when technology – social media and online retail – is replacing and eliminating our traditional physical meeting places, we are increasingly more isolated than ever. The Woven City is designed to allow technology to strengthen the public realm as a meeting place and to use connectivity to power human connectivity.” Said Bjarke Ingels, Founder & Creative Director, BIG.
“We peeled apart and then weave back together the three components of a typical road into a new urban fabric: a street optimized for automated vehicles, a promenade for micro-mobility, and a linear park for pedestrians.” Added Ingels.
The typical road is split into three, beginning with the primary street optimized for faster autonomous vehicles with logistical traffic underneath. The Toyota e-Palette – a driverless, clean, multi-purpose vehicle – will be used for shared transportation and delivery services, as well as for mobile retail, food, medical clinics, hotels and workspaces.
The recreational promenade is occupied by micro-mobility types such as bicycles, scooters and other modes of personal transport, including Toyota’s i-Walk. The shared street allows residents to freely meander at a reduced speed with increasing amounts of nature and space.
The third type of street is the linear park, a path dedicated to pedestrians, flora and fauna. An intimate trail provides a safe and pleasant environment for leisurely strolls and nature breaks through the ecological corridor connecting Mount Fuji to the Susono Valley.
The urban fabric of the woven grid expands and contracts to accommodate a variety of scales, programs and outdoor areas. In one instance, a courtyard balloons to the scale of a large plaza, and in another, to become a central park providing a city-wide amenity. Hidden from view in an underground network lies the infrastructure of the city, including hydrogen power, stormwater filtration and a goods delivery network dubbed the ‘matternet’.
The buildings at the Woven City will advance mass timber construction. By combining the legacy of Japanese craftmanship and the tatami module with robotic fabrication technology, Japan’s construction heritage lives on while building sustainably and efficiently into the future.
A mix of housing, retail and business – to be built primarily of carbon-sequestering wood with photovoltaic panels installed on the roofs – characterize each city block, ensuring vibrant and active neighborhoods at all times of the day. Toyota’s R&D spaces house robotic construction, 3D printing and mobility labs, while typical offices flexibly accommodate workstations, lounges and indoor gardens.
Residences in the Woven City will test new technology such as in-home robotics to assist with daily living. These smart homes take advantage of full connectivity using sensor-based AI technology to perform functions including automatic grocery deliveries, laundry pick-ups or trash disposal, all while enjoying spectacular views of Mt. Fuji.
All images: courtesy of BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group.