Location: Kashiwa City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
Developer: Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.
Designer: ZGF Architects LLP
Site Size: 113.1 Acre
Mitsui Fudosan, one of Asia’s largest developers, engaged advisers and urban planners to improve Kashiwa-no-ha using smart city place-making techniques. Located 18 miles north of Tokyo, transit-oriented development Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City pioneers an urban planning approach for a resilient neighborhood with an active and vital community. Since 2004, it has been refined to include community aspirations, respond to disasters and support environmental and social initiatives. In 2016 Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City became the largest LEED® Neighborhood Development Plan Platinum certified smart city in the world.
Conceived as a 656,000 square-meter mixed-use employment district, the ZGF-led vision plan organized around new concepts for open space, with costs and benefits shared by businesses and residential communities, intending to attract new development supporting residents and workers in nearby hospital and biomedical research facilities.
Large-scale sustainable living is reinforced through a centralized energy management system; energy conservation, creation and storage; local production of food; and low-carbon urban transportation. Active and vital streets connect and energize the updated civic realm, as living and working in the same neighborhood supports efficient resource use, builds social cohesion and improves livability. This synergy is demonstrated by the transformation of an inaccessible storm water detention facility into a civic commons—a biophilic and sustainable community amenity.
Kashiwa-no-ha is environmentally and technologically innovative—an especially acute interest after 2011’s Tohoku earthquake and Fukushima Power Plant disaster when energy conservation was a critical national issue. Community behavior is a supporting strategy—for example, the Area Energy Management System monitors energy levels through an app informing people in high-use areas how to reduce consumption, while monitors broadcast building performance information. Today, the Smart City is a mix of building uses—hotel, hospital, laboratory and commercial—connected via a district energy and power distribution system to share heat loads and reduce peak electric usage, allowing occupants to live off the grid until regional power and water can be restored.
Through smart city place-making, from policy to urban design, Kashiwa-no-ha is an incredible example of a technologically integrated, advanced mixed-use development establishing neighborhood facilities supporting a variety of generations, lifestyles and uses for a resilient community.