January 14, 2020
Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has revealed designs for a prototype ‘city’ of the future called Woven City for Japanese automotive company Toyota on a 71-ha (175-acre) site at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan.
Woven City will be a fully connected ecosystem powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Envisioned as a ‘living laboratory,’ the city will serve as a home to full-time residents and researchers who will be able to test and develop technologies such as autonomy, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes, and artificial intelligence (AI) in a real-world environment.
The master plan of the city includes the designations for street usage into three types: for faster vehicles only, for a mix of lower speed, personal mobility and pedestrians, and for a park-like promenade for pedestrians only. These three street types weave together to form an organic grid pattern to help accelerate the testing of autonomy.
The city is planned to be fully sustainable, with buildings made mostly of wood to minimize carbon footprint, using traditional Japanese wood joinery, combined with robotic production methods. The rooftops will be covered in photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate solar power in addition to power generated by hydrogen fuel cells. The plans also weave in the outdoors throughout the city, with native vegetation and hydroponics.
Residences will be equipped with the latest in human support technologies, such as in-home robotics to assist with daily living. The homes will use sensor-based AI to check occupants’ health, take care of basic needs, and enhance daily life, creating an opportunity to deploy connected technology.
To move residents through the city, only fully autonomous, zero-emission vehicles will be allowed on the main thoroughfares. In and throughout Woven City, autonomous Toyota e-Palettes will be used for transportation and deliveries, as well as for changeable mobile retail.
Both neighborhood parks and a large central park for recreation, as well as a central plaza for social gatherings, are designed to bring the community together.
Toyota plans to populate Woven City with its employees and their families, retired couples, retailers, visiting scientists, and industry partners. The plan is for 2000 people to start, adding more as the project evolves.
The groundbreaking for the site is planned for early next year.
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