With the increasing popularity of smart city projects, it has been a challenge for local governments and organizations to create a city that makes efficient use of resources. Panasonic has just inaugurated a town in the surroundings of Tokyo, that is experimenting with sustainable designs. The city is called Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town and features homes that make use of solar panels, batteries for energy storing, LED lighting, ride-sharing services, and a community center.

The City of Fujisawa

The City of Fujisawa, the sustainable smart town (SST) was a project that cost 60 billion yen ($740 million) and was led by developer Panasonic. With the development of this city, Panasonic wanted to build the first ¨smart town¨ from scratch in Japan.

All the houses built in the city of Fujisawa come with their own solar panels and optional hydrogen fuel cells. Another great advantage of this construction is that residents can even opt to sell excess power to utilities. Thecity opened in early 2014, with the sale of 220 houses. With time this project is expected to further expand and be complete in 2020. The city of Fujisawa builds on five pillars which together form the basis of SST. These pillars are a community, mobility, energy, security, and healthcare.

According to the city’s plan, it is expected that they will accommodate at least 3,000 residents when the whole construction is completed in 2020. Furthermore, it is expected that the city will have 600 semi-detached houses and 400 condominium units. Despite the fact, that the city is not completed yet it already accommodates over 1000 residents. Each of the semi-detached houses in the city of Fujisawa cost around $500,000.

This amazing project is being built by a consortium of 18 public and private sector companies led by Panasonic. This includes real-estate firms such as Panasonic’s housing-arm PanaHome and Mitsui Fudosan. Furthermore, this project is currently being built on land that formerly housed Panasonic the television and refrigerator factory that was decommissioned in 2007.

Panasonic built the city in such a way that residents don’t need to fear for a power outage in case of a natural disaster. The town has the capacity to cope with its resident’s needs for three days with its off-grid energy reserves.According to Mr. Tomohiko Miyahara, General Manager of Panasonic’s Business Solution Division:

¨At the time, the concept of ‘eco-city’ was common around the world but not ‘smart city’. We decided to expand on the concept to create a ‘smart city’ that can encompass aspects such as mobility, security, wellness, and community.¨

Goals Behind the Construction of the City of Fujisawa

With the construction of the city of Fujisawa SST, Panasonic aimed to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. The aim of this smart city project is to make it as sustainable as possible. Therefore, residents are also alerted to potential wastage in their power and water use. To help reduce the carbon footprint, the city also offers electric vehicles for rental. Furthermore, the street lights also have sensors that are activated by the approach of vehicles and pedestrians. All these measures, help the city to be sustainable.

However, with this project, Panasonic wanted to focus on more than just the sustainability of the project. One of the goals of the project is to build a sense of community. This is important for the town, especially since it prides itself on providing amenities such as a community center, playgrounds, gardens and a retail hub called Shonan T-Site. Furthermore, the city also has its own Wellness Square which offers eldercare and childcare. All these amenities prove the focus on the community sense in the city of Fujisawa.

Conclusion

The city of Fujisawa has been a great development in sustainability. Furthermore, this city is a great example of how to build successful private and public partnerships to build a sustainable community. Panasonic has invested in the development of this city and studied over 50 smart cities worldwide in order to create the perfect smart city.  The company created the SST model to be service-oriented and promote a sustainable lifestyle. Furthermore, this has also helped in boosting commercialization through business partnerships in the city.