CES 2020: Toyota and BIG To Build A Prototype Future City In Japan - Forbes
Toyota Woven City is an urban prototype for the near future. The work of the Japanese car giant and Danish architecture firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, this exciting project proposes a fully connected ecosystem, powered by hydrogen fuel cells. It is a living laboratory for testing and advancing mobility ideas – autonomy, connectivity, alternative-powered infrastructures. Announced at CES 2020, this is much more than a conceptual idea. Starting next year, Toyota Woven City will be constructed on a 708,200 m2 site on the foothills of Mount Fuji in Japan.
There will be full-time residents here, as well as researchers testing and developing their ideas. The project is concerned with community-building – using technology positively to promote and assist social engagement while grounding this in history and nature. Toyota sees this as an opportunity to work with commercial and academic partners, scientists and researchers from around the world who will be invited here and encouraged to collaborate and create. The Woven City will be a place where people “live, work, play and participate in a living laboratory,” says Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda.
As you can imagine, this is going to be a fully sustainable city with the aim of creating a new dynamic for vehicles, people and nature and (once tested) connected, clean and shared mobility to live happily together. The city will utilize solar energy, geothermal energy and hydrogen fuel cell technology to strive towards a carbon neutral society.
“As a replicable framework, it can serve both as a prototype for future cities and as a retrofit to current cities,” explains BIG’s founder, Bjarke Ingels. “By simply ‘reprogramming’ existing streets, we can begin to reset the balance between people, mobility and nature in cities as diverse as Tokyo or New York, Copenhagen or Barcelona.”
Central to the Woven City masterplan is the harmonious movement of vehicles – regular and driverless – and humans as a way of testing autonomous transport in a safe environment. To achieve this, BIG has designed a flexible network of streets, each dedicated to various transport speeds. So, a typical road will be split into three with one used as a primary road that s optimized for faster autonomous vehicles with logistical traffic underneath. Here the clean, driverless Toyota e-Palette will be primarily used for shared transportation and delivery services, as well as for mobile retail, food, medical clinics and so on.