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As many of you know, the smarter city concept is gaining traction around the globe.  Below is news of a recent announcement from Panasonic who are redeveloping lands where a former factory once stood in Yokohama, Japan.  What makes this news exciting is the thinking going into this redevelopment to make it sustainable and to create a livable mixed use land setting that brings forth the best smarter city concepts without polluting and harming the environment.


The Kitakyushu Smart Community project is also hydrogen-based smarter city that draws fuel from the nearby Nippon Steel blast furnace

The exciting part is the use of extensive use of hydrogen as an energy source.  Japan is leading the world in this regard and we would all be wise to watch their progress closely.  The images below are from an unrelated project at Kitakyushu that I snapped when I visited their smart city site in Japan.

Hydrogen generation

An example hydrogen generator being installed in Kitakyushu

Here is the news from the new Panasonic announcement.

Panasonic Corporation and Nomura Real Estate Development have revealed a concept plan that guides the development of a new smart town they plan to build in Tsunashima in the city of Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo.

The Tsunashima Sustainable Smart Town (SST) concept plan sets forth the town’s environmental targets, safety and security goals, and rules for the landscapes and operations — seeking to create a town where the participants from different industries collaborate in harmony to achieve the goals.

The Tsunashima SST will sit at the site of a former Panasonic factory, and consist of residential and non-residential facilities. Under the concept of “Innovating the Future Together,” private enterprises and the local government aim for an urban smart city, fostering innovations by exploiting synergies among progressive knowledge, technology and services. They also envision a town that brings together people who want a better future and makes their interactions part of a global network.

The Town Development Concept has set targets for this urban smart city, including numerical goals, such as a 40 percent reduction of CO2 emissions (based on the levels in the fiscal year ended on March 31, 2006) and usage rates of 30 percent or higher for new energies.

The forward-looking city will have a town energy center, a hydrogen refueling station, a smart condominium and more.

With a view to realizing a smart energy network, the town energy center is located in the center of the city to provide the entire town with low-carbon, disaster-resistant energy systems. The center utilizes a high-efficiency gas cogeneration system using clean city gas as its fuel. This cogeneration system efficiently utilizes heat produced during power generation for cooling, heating, and hot water supply. Gas supply utilizes highly earthquake-resistant medium-pressure gas pipelines to help ensure lifelines to stay open even during disasters. The center intends to be a rational model for area-wide interchange of energy between compact complex town blocks.

Generator Home

An example hydrogen generation solution for a smart home

A hydrogen refueling station provides not only hydrogen but also information about hydrogen as a communications hub to the community to lead a future hydrogen-based society. The station supplies hydrogen safely to fuel cell vehicles by adopting a hydrogen safety control system that integrates earthquake-resistant design and various technologies including many types of sensors. The Tsunashima SST is also considering supplying hydrogen to the fuel cell systems for commercial use to generate electricity.

A smart condominium will be a sustainable, next-generation housing suitable for an urban type smart town, combining energy creation and storing features (solar panels and storage batteries) installed in the common area, allowing for efficient use of renewable energy. When linked with the elevators, this system enables them to work during a power outage. Each dwelling unit in the housing will have home-use fuel-cells and a smart home energy management system.

HVAC Hydrogen

An example hydrogen HVAC solution for a smart home

The town will also feature an environmentally friendly next-generation shopping center, which aspires to become a new flagship model of a food and health center for the smart town and the surrounding area. Advanced environmentally-friendly measures will be put in place, including solar power generation and air conditioning systems that run on waste heat from the town energy center. There will also be Town Lockers where people can pick up products ordered from online supermarkets. Introduction of some of the latest systems is on the table. They include a multi-signage system that offers diverse information not only about the store but also information on the weather, disaster prevention and traffic, or evacuation guidance in times of emergency; multifunction monitoring cameras that can provide customer security and also can be used for marketing; and multilingual translation systems for the increasing number of tourists. The objective is to realize smart lives for customers while maintaining a sustainable society and the store, by, for example, providing fresh and safe vegetables grown with advanced environmental control technology.

The town is tentatively scheduled to open in 2018.


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About the Author:

Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless and digital communications technologies. He is a Senior Executive Consultant with IBM Canada’s GTS Network Services Group. Over the past 11 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He was previously a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN:TSX). Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO:TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX:TSX.V).  He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and on the Board of Advisers of four different Colleges in Ontario as well as for 16 years on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section.  He holds three Masters level degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has diplomas and certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology.



Business Wire. (2016). Panasonic and Nomura Real Estate Unveil Concept Plan for New Smart Town in Yokohama. Retrieved on March 29, 2016 from,