Panasonic, Accenture and seven other companies announced last week that they will partner to develop a smart city in Fujisawa, Japan.
The project, officially called "Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town," or Fujisawa SST for short, intends to be a model for an environmentally-minded urban area. Fujisawa is located 37 miles from Tokyo and, at about 400,000 residents, is roughly the size of Omaha, Nebraska.
The smart town-within-a-city will be built on the vacant lot of a former Panasonic factory, and will gain its intelligence via infrastructure and services -- from IT to energy -- from the nine companies. It will support 1,000 households and is set to open in March 2014.
(It will actually be completed in 2018, the year of Panasonic's 100th anniversary.)
But Panasonic is the biggest star here, using its property donation as cause to show off its portfolio of building, home and cities services. Through these, it wants to demonstrate energy efficiency using measures such as solar power generation and battery storage systems -- then replicate success elsewhere in Japan, as well as overseas.
Meanwhile, Accenture will use its prior experience with city and power grid projects handle the creation, design and promotion of services within the town.
The other companies:
The reason for the 60 billion (approx. $742 million) project? The threat of Asia's booming population growth. Panasonic says demand for the development of new cities will occur swiftly and at great scale, believing that rolling out a full-scale smart city is a better business move than biding time with pilot projects or technical demonstrations.
(And it certainly doesn't hurt that this year's earthquake decimated large parts of Japan's energy infrastructure.)
Here's a list of "green" elements under consideration:
The companies are measuring success by a targeted 70 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions (compared to 1990 levels, unfortunately), but the real yardstick is whether citizens will bite, despite all the technological wizardry.
In this case, the most successful city might be the most boring one; brains beneath beauty.
In a video, a look at the project:
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com