How smart is Tokyo, the host of the Olympic Games 2020?
Wednesday, 11 September 2013
The Olympic Games 2020 will be hosted by a great and cutting-edge city: Tokyo. But, how ‘smart’ is it really? It depends on the point of view. If we talk about technology, Tokyo is for sure among the top cities in the world, but it also has some handicaps to be a reference in the smart cities rankings.
Let’s start talking about Tokyo’s strengths. According to an interesting list by Fast Coexist, Tokyo is the 6th smartest city in the world. The web considers its innovation and digital features to be very important. Moreover, one of the most important world smart city projects is in the Tokyo area: Kashiwanoha Campus City in Kashiwa, 30 kilometers of Tokyo.
Kashiwanoha is building up to be a smart city in cooperation with the University of Tokyo and Chiba University. It will be equipped with the latest technology to be sustainable. For instance, it will reduce carbon emissions by 60% monitoring the demand rates and and using renewable energies.
Furthermore, the city’s parking problems produced ingenious and smart ideas, such as a solution for the shortage of commuter bicycle parking by building high-tech robotic garages. However, this lack of land shows the other side of the coin: Tokyo is a huge city with traffic problems, high emission levels and scarcity of green areas.
These are some of the reasons why Tokyo is not on the Forbes top 10 smart cities list. Some criteria to consider a city as smart is not only the technology deployed there, but its respect towards the environment or the quality of life of their citizens. “Today’s “smart” cities tend to be smaller, compact and more efficient”, assures Forbes.
Nevertheless, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) has been promoting energy saving and expanding the use of renewable energy through pioneering climate change policy. A lower emissions’ rate and a less collapsed city is one of the aims of the organizers when the Olympic Games in 2020.