2017 Urban Design Studio (Urawa Misono)
Veriah, Revathi Roopini
Pang, Gabriel Jian
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Urawa Misono is a sub-center of Saitama City, the most populous city in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. While Saitama City boasts a population of 1.26 million, Urawa Misono has remained largely rural. Only 45 minutes from Tokyo by rail, it is the final stop on the Saitama Rapid Railway Line. Every two weeks, thousands of soccer fans swarm the station and walk or drive to the Saitama Stadium, constructed in 2002 to host the FIFA World Cup. Saitama Stadium is an important site for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, prompting local and regional officials to consider how they will accommodate the massive influx of event spectators and maximize the impact of this influx for broader development goals. Even without the Olympics, Urawa Misono’s current population is projected to triple in size to over 32,000 by 2030. The challenge of planning in an international context was further compounded by the “smart city” directive. The term “smart city” has become common parlance in urban planning in recent years. While there is no universally agreed upon definition, descriptions of smart cities typically refer to integrated and inter-operable networks of digital infrastructure and information and communication technologies (ICT) that collect and share data and improve the quality of urban life (Allwinkle and Cruickshank 2011; Batty et al. 2012). However, unlike related concepts such as the digital city, the intelligent city and the ubiquitous city, the smart city is not limited to the diffusion of ICT, but also commonly includes people (Albino, Beradi, and Dangelico 2015). Due to the scope and complexity of the project, the Studio came up with the three guiding objectives outlined below through an internal charrette process: Sustainability, Adaptability, and Equity.