Day 1: Site Visit

On our first full day in Japan we took a charter bus from Tsukuba to our study site Urawa Misono to meet our partners at the Urban Design Center of Misono (UDCMi). To kick off the meeting our partners Okamoto-san (UDCMi), Yamagata-san (NIES and GCP) and Akito-san (University of Tokyo) gave a brief presentation about the site and current projects and then we had two hours on our own to explore the city by foot. The studio split up into groups and explored different parts of the site taking photos, videos and notes about the things they saw. After two hours we met back at UDCMi for lunch and to ask questions based on what we’d seen. In the afternoon we drove through Saitama City to Kawagoe, a growing city with well-preserved traditional merchant houses and storefronts that were prominent in the time of the samurai.

site visit
Meeting with partners at UDCMi

Day 2: Smart City Symposium (Part I)

On Monday we took the train into Tokyo for Part I of the Smart City Symposium, organized by our partners at the University of Tokyo and the National Institute of Environmental Studies. Part I consisted of presentations from various professionals and academics–including Yoshiki Yamagata (NIES and GCP), Perry Yang (Georgia Tech), Ellen Do (Georgia Tech), Akito Murayama (University of Tokyo), Masahiro Matsuura (Meiji University), Yuki Okamoto (UDCMi), Kanae Matsui (Tokyo Denki University) and Michael Batty (University College of London). Students from our studio presented our midterm design and received useful feedback.

In front of a building designed by Le Corbusier, on our way to University of Tokyo

Day 3: Smart City Symposium (Part II)

Part II of the Symposium involved two workshops–Urban Design and IoT Technology Design–that included students from the University of Tokyo. In the Urban Design workshop GT students worked with students from the University of Tokyo to incorporate the feedback we had received from our meetings in Misono and from the symposium the day before into our design and performance modeling. In the IoT GT studio members were partnered with the students from the University of Keio to build sensors. Materials in the form of breadboard, audrino, and sensors were provided. By using theses as building blocks, we built sensors to perform different functions like measure temperature, humidity, distance etc. The workshop was a great opportunity to combine theoretical ideas with hardware.

Urban Design Workshop with University of Tokyo students

Day 4: Tokyo Urban Reconnaissance

On our fourth day the studio did urban reconnaissance in Central Tokyo. Urban Reconnaissance is an exercise of acute observation of social, cultural, behavioral, spatial and temporal patterns. Students selected a neighborhood or district as an urban laboratory and then wandered throughout the area in order to gain a sense of place and function that is hard to grasp when you’re rushing from one place to another.

urban recon2
Getting lost in the narrow alleyways of Tokyo

Day 5: Joint Workshop at NIES

On our fifth day in Japan we met the students who we’d been working with from the University of Tokyo at the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Tsukuba for a two-day long joint workshop. The workshop was aimed at implementing some of the ideas we had come up with during the Smart City Symposium workshops on Tuesday. The CD team created five block typologies for different densities and situational spaces and the Energy and Mobility PM teams modeled performance.

joint workshop

Day 6: Joint Workshop at NIES

The next day we returned to NIES to finish the performance analysis and put together the final presentation, which we would be delivering to a number of local stakeholders in Urawa Misono the following day.

Day 7: On-site Presentation to Stakeholders

On our final day we convened at the community center in Urawa Misono to present our ideas to various stakeholders including local government officials and business people. After we presented our designs and analyses we took questions and comments from the audience. We received a lot of constructive feedback and also had the chance to ask the stakeholders some questions in return. Follow this link to see our final presentation to stakeholders in Urawa Misono: Misono 3-25

tokyo final presentation
After our presentation to local stakeholders

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