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Experimental "Smart Town" To Be Built In Japan

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the a-bicycle-on-every-corner dept.

Japan 91

StormDriver writes "Basically, Fujisawa SST is envisioned as a bottom-up approach to energy efficiency — a green village built from scratch with modern green technologies rather than less-efficient older tech. Panasonic wants to use it as a template for other larger communities in Japan and elsewhere. If all goes as planned, Fujisawa SST will start receiving residents in March of 2014 and finish filling up its houses by 2018."

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91 comments

Don't tell Jaque Fresco (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316318)

He thinks he has the scientific method patented or something...

Re:Don't tell Jaque Fresco (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36316636)

Is there more information or do we have to guess what's going on?

Picture not so smart... (1)

isopropanol (1936936) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316332)

It seems to be all single family detatched houses... no multi-family, no multi-use, relatively low density, no jobs in town.

Re:Picture not so smart... (2)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316378)

Not having jobs in town is only an issue if there's no public transit in or out, and if it is ridiculously far from the rest of civilization. There are many places around the world like this (though not "green") that function well.

Re:Picture not so smart... (4, Interesting)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316536)

I walk to work, takes 10 minutes. And I do 50%+ of my shopping on the way home.

Public transit is wonderful, don't get me wrong. But it's no substitute for mixed zone, high-density neighborhoods.

Re:Picture not so smart... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36316848)

Not all humans want to live in high density neighborhoods. Is that really so difficult to understand?

Re:Picture not so smart... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36317880)

They'll have a zone for you, complete with a few old cars on concrete blocks in the front yard.

Re:Picture not so smart... (2)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#36317630)

Yeah, but unfortunately Walmart probably set ecology back 100 years by decimating the small, walking distance corner markets. Lower prices, higher emissions.

Re:Picture not so smart... (1)

An dochasac (591582) | more than 2 years ago | (#36317838)

Walmart is only a tiny part of the blame. Much of the blame should be assigned to government policies in most of the western world which:
  • Keep property prices high, wages low and oil cheap so serfs are forced to commute long distances
  • Create an inefficient self-serving ineffective multilayer government to discourage people and businesses from living in cities, further contributing to sprawl.
  • Use underwater mortgages (aka "ownership society") so that labor can't quickly follow jobs from one exburb to the next and eventually out of state and overseas.
  • Keep oil cheap so factory farms and remote cheap labor markets have advantage over anything grown or manufactured locally.
  • Narrow the entertainment market so that two cartels (RIAA/MPAA) can discourage any local arts from thriving.

One other not so smart thing about the picture is that the houses are rectangular. If you want buildings to be able to resist some earthquake, hydrodynamic and aerodynamic forces, there are much better shapes. And with 3D building fabricators [slashdot.org] now able to print a building out of concrete or gypsum, there is no reason why buildings need to be rectangular. Imagine buildings shaped like an aerodynamic wing with the broadside facing the sea or prevailing wind.

Re:Picture not so smart... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36318062)

Cheap oil? Have you checked the price of a gallon of gas lately?

Face it. Most people move out of the cities because they are generally crime-ridden shitholes, with crappy schools. In a safe part of the city, prices of homes are generally out of reach of the average person.

Re:Picture not so smart... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36318560)

have you compared it to prices outside of the us? gas in the usa is and has always been cheap.

Re:Picture not so smart... (1)

lazy genes (741633) | more than 2 years ago | (#36325590)

there is no better way out there to pump up our fake egos by burning up the next generations energy.

Re:Picture not so smart... (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#36352774)

I have solutions for you!

Force workers to live in company dorms (like China?) so there is no commute time. Company dorms will provide the minimum requirements for living, eliminating the need for wages, since all their rent, clothing and food is given to them.
Replace multilayer government with one layer - a dictator.
Skip underwater mortgages altogether...they live in your company dorm now.
Make oil expensive so that the dictator can dictate how each company, and its dorms, will operate.
Entertainment provided to company dorms in the form of milkcaps and playing cards. No chess, because ignorance is the key to a worker bee's bliss.
And to both conserve space and employ non-rectangular building shapes, each dorm room will be a tetrahedron.

Sound good?

Re:Picture not so smart... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36318386)

and yet you shop there anyway. because they have low prices.

Re:Picture not so smart... (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#36318490)

It depends what "work" is. If you're making or selling physical goods of any kind then it almost certainly makes sense to have them out of town so that you eliminate the issue of goods lorries coming into the town. If you're wholly a service industry then it's less of an issue so long as out of town employees can also make use of good inbound public transport, otherwise you still have the issue of their cars clogging the streets. Of course the ideal would be a lot more people telecommuting.

Re:Picture not so smart... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36318858)

Public transit is wonderful, don't get me wrong. But it's no substitute for mixed zone, high-density neighborhoods.

High-density is relative. When it gets too high you just get chaos. When I lived in Austin I could afford to live close to work and it was grand. I had to walk further to shop than to work (unless I wanted to spend a lot of money; I walked through the Arboretum on the way) but I only had to walk ten minutes to shop. When I lived in SF I couldn't find anything I could afford on my salary within easy walking distance of work. Today I'm a little more fit so I'd have just walked it anyway more often than not, it would only be an hour and a half or something. Or I could even bike it, there was a relatively low-traffic route right there. Problem is, no bus took it, so I had to take a bus, and the light rail, and another bus to get to work, or I could drive for fifteen minutes, maybe seventeen tops including parking on a bad day. At the time, you could still park relatively easily at the foot of Potrero Hill.

Or, short form, your mixed zone, high-density neighborhoods, once crammed together, are a terrible nightmare without a well thought-out public transportation system unlike the one they have in San Francisco.

Re:Picture not so smart... (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#36323422)

My friend's girlfriend was visiting SF from Japan, and she complained that the city felt "empty" to her. So your idea of density that's "too high" might be someone else's "uncomfortably low."

Re:Picture not so smart... (1)

isopropanol (1936936) | more than 2 years ago | (#36328196)

uhhh. could also be a reference to nobody ever walking anywhere in California. I recently visited Cupertino from a city of 80,000 in Canada where we have 1-2 acre lots in my neighbourhood, and the streets felt empty there compared to the number of people out walking on our dead-end street.

Re:Picture not so smart... (0)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316608)

The town will be ready just about when Microsoft should ship Windows 8 SP1. You certainly would not want Town 1.0 to rely on any x.0 Microsoft product...

Re:Picture not so smart... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36316466)

I know! It's like they've considered quality of life or something.

Re:Picture not so smart... (3, Interesting)

macshit (157376) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316912)

Yup... and as a result it will probably be less energy efficient than existing Japanese towns.

In reality this looks more like a way to sell Panasonic "green" products...

I bet.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36316336)

I bet it'll be nuclear-powered, in some way, shape, or form.

Well.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36316338)

They have lots of newly empty land where it could go...

(i know, i'm sorry. i'll have a seat over there.)

GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

niggay (2223222) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316340)

Sustainability is amazing! check out more Green Villages HERE [nimp.org]

Re:GNAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36316492)

Potentially Malicious Website!! Unless you are on Linux, don't click!!

Re:GNAA (1)

Sparx139 (1460489) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316816)

Don't click - if you ignore the attack site warning, it's Tubgirl. Now please excuse me, I need to go bleach my eyes.

Re:GNAA (1)

Domini Canes (797151) | more than 2 years ago | (#36320710)

No no no. You are doing it wrong. Bleach is for the brain! Eyes have nothing to do with it.
And besides, if you use bleach on your eyes, you'll get some serious irritation....

Some thoughts (3, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316478)

How about local water treatment of waste water. Recycle it through a small hydro plant and then water the lawns.

How about organic waste being used to feed a methane generator.

How about a local grid that can recharge electric vehicles with excess power.

There are a great number of small efficiencies that can be created at the community/neighborhood level which are not feasible either for individual homes or for full cities.

Re:Some thoughts (2, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316830)

All great ideas, but from the sparse information in the article, I see the main problem in that this project is just a continuation of the suburbia paradigm. And that paradigm is wrong in any conceivable way. It's industrialized feedlot farming of middle class workers. Where are the shops in walkable distance? Where are the schools, the community centers, the local neighborhood pubs and restaurants? Where are the workplaces close to home? All I see are homes, homes, homes. As long as it depends on heavy commuting for every single activity out of your house, it is not remotely green, not even with public transport. Worse, it is a sleeping ghetto for the middle class. And that is wrong on so many social aspects.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#36318614)

As a family man I tend to disagree in some respects. With kids there is no such thing as shops at a walkable distance (the number of supplies needed requires either a stroller too big for shopping or a vehicle). Restaurants assumes a babysitter or extended family next door and a workplace nearby implies either that a person is self employed, a low wage employee or that you are very near a commercial zone with lots of potential traffic and random influences (not everyone who works at a larger corporate office will want to live nearby or could even afford to).

Nearby shopping villages for singles would be fine but you still need residential only neighborhoods for families.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#36318976)

So your argument is that because you can't use certain facilities as a parent, like restaurants, no one should have them? Because you feel that you cannot shop by foot because you have kids, greengrocers in the neighbourhood are impossible? You know, the suburbia model is pretty much American only? I wonder who people in Europe manage. Also, you are projecting the way cities are laid out now in America on how they can be laid out. Why would a workplace in the neighbourhood mean proximity to a commercial zone? That's exactly not what I am talking about. I am talking about mixed zones that cover every aspect of life, being more than sleeping quarters for the corporate zombies. And what are "random influences"? The big bad news-projected wolf out to get your precious kids?

Re:Some thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36322602)

So your argument is that because you can't use certain facilities as a parent, like restaurants, no one should have them?

No, I think he's trying to say that many people would be unable to use those facilities in your ideal way, which means those destinations will still need largish parking lots, which means they won't meet your ideal green standard that was the entire point of your proposal :(.

Europe doesn't have US-style suburbs because they don't really have enough space. They didn't decide one day in the pre-automobile era that Americans would someday wastefully sprawl out and that therefore they'd bunch up tight. Heh.

Also, you are projecting...

And your use of 'feedlot' and 'corporate zombies' is in no way biased by what you imagine other countries are like? Your posts read like you got all this from television.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#36320438)

Thats a matter of style of living.

Where I live, it only lacks a few more pubs, otherwise it is just as your parent poster described.

Small business like doctors, lawyers, architects are around, bigger business is in 10 minutes walk distance, a little bit farer is even a small commercial park (some software companies etc.) A family easily can walk with a baby in a baby buggy and one at the hand to the next shop and buy what they need for day. Usually you buy fresh bread every morning from the nearby bakeries anyway. The next school for first to fourth grade is perhaps 15 mins per foot and 5 mins per bike away. The next college is perhaps 15 mins per bike (because of traffic lights, in fact it is pretty close). The next bottle store (shop for beer, mineral water, juices etc.) is in my road, I usually carry a cask of beer home and don't use a car for that. The next mini super market is in the next street. Restaurants are all over the place.

The picture you describe is not really existing in germany. Well, somewhere certainly but I luckily never saw such an area ;D

angel'o'sphere

P.S. and unlike in the 1970s kids and babies aree very welcome in Restaurants ...

Re:Some thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36321640)

I unfortunately live in an area where the zoning districts are quite large and don't allow the kind of neighborhood you describe. Without a debate as to whether this is a good thing I was wondering if you could show a map of an area similar to what you describe. I genuinely am interested to see how this kind of city is organized.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

werepants (1912634) | more than 2 years ago | (#36322184)

A little walking never hurt anybody. If you want to buy a lot of groceries, bring a wagon - a lot of families have them anyways for kids, and they make great all-around stuff haulers. Most babysitters I know of come to you - some local highschool girl can probably walk or bike or get a ride to watch your kids for an evening. And, with telecommuting, self employment, biking, and a bit of creativity, there's a good chance that a person can avoid a car entirely while keeping their choice of career. Plus, even if you still drive to work, avoiding the rest of it is still significant.

Seriously, all it takes is an ounce of effort to figure out how to get away from the car. I moved a little while ago from a new, shiny condo in a very suburban neighborhood to an older house close to downtown, and it has made a world of difference. Even if you don't give a shit about the environment, the improvement to your quality of life because of the increased activity will be immediately apparent.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#36317028)

Considering the number of e.coli breaks lately (and the one going on in Germany right now), I would want any water I'll potentially handle go through some natural processes first and not just technology that can break down and not be maintained well.

I remember that when fluorine treatment plants breakdown and add too much fluorine to the drinking water, and how that causes problems. And that's just adding one chemical to good water, not taking out a bunch of crap from bad water to make it good.

(And yes, my current place has it's own well, many yards of dirt filter anything I may drink.)

Re:Some thoughts (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#36320500)

Considering the number of e.coli breaks lately (and the one going on in Germany right now), I would want any water I'll potentially handle go through some natural processes first and not just technology that can break down and not be maintained well.

Luckily the e.coli in germany are not in the water. Or unluckily, because then you simply could close the water supply until it is clean again and provide emergency supplies.
The e.coli is on the outside of fruits and vegetables. Especially on those that you usually eat raw, like salad. I doubt we had any bacteria contamination during the last 60 years in drinking water (water from the tab) ... however at some rare places the hot water supply was several times found to contain "Legionella bacteria" wich is pretty nasty.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

Yuuki Dasu (1416345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36317378)

This is Japan. We don't have much in the way of lawns. And we get plenty of rain, so it's really not needed in the first place. Right idea, wrong country to try it in, I'm afraid.

The other ideas sound pretty good, though - I'm pretty sure the majority of organic waste gets summarily burned, which strikes me as a potential missed opportunity.

Re:Some thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36318050)

"How about local water treatment of waste water. Recycle it through a small hydro plant and then water the lawns."
I collect all the rain falling on my roof in underground tanks to do water the yard and the toilets and the washing machine.

"How about organic waste being used to feed a methane generator."
We have a special waste-bin that is collected exactly for that purpose.

"How about a local grid that can recharge electric vehicles with excess power."
During the night, almost all electricity is excess.

My point being, that outside the US there are already many 'green' towns.

Re:Some thoughts (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#36318670)

The problem with many neat sounding water recycling schemes is that they ignore a basic fact exploited by all large scale water works: water flows downhill. Furthermore, we build large centralized water treatment facilities because of economy of scale. If economy of scale didn't come into play, you'd make every individual dwelling treat its wastewater rather than letting it discharge contaminated water into a common sewer. That leaves these wonderful schemes stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place. The cost of hundreds of small treatment plants is bound to be greater than one giant plant. Keep in mind that when Boston built such a giant plant a couple decades ago, it cost just shy of four billion dollars.

It's not issues of physical feasibility that prevent many cool sounding public works projects from happening; it's economic feasibility. I don't mean in a "gee our water bill went up by $20 a month" way, I mean in a "gee we're spending 20% of our income on water" way. Closed loop is ultimately the way to go, and the water flows downhill thing means that it ought to be done on smaller scales like a city block or housing development. But we won't see such things happen until cities have grown to the point where they simply can't find any more water and people *do* spend almost as much on water as housing.

Well before the point where we start doing fancy things to combine and un-combine crap with drinking water, it'd make a lot more sense just to convert to composting toilets. These are nothing like an outhouse or porta-johnnie. My wife's architect uncle (who was a hippie before the word was invented) had one in his house, and it was *less* smelly than an ordinary toilet. You throw in pee, poop, table scraps and the occasional handful of sawdust (for body) in one end, and it emerges from the other end a few months later as rich, beautiful, not-at-all-disgusting compost. You can buy small capacity models (serving 1-2 adults) for as little as $2000 these days. It's not by any means an insane investment, but only if you care about externalities. The seven thousand gallons per year such a toilet saves cost the average American less than $15. That's why you're most likely to find a composting toilet in national parks where providing an disposing of several gallons of water per day per visitor is impractical.

In any case, I don't think sewage is as big a source of methane as you think it is. I've read about some sewage treatment plants that are partially powered by methane, which is a good thing, but compared to the energy use of all the people contributing to that methane, it's not a significant energy savings. More important is to capture the nitrogen in the wastewater as fertilizer, as some wastewater agencies do.

Moving target (1)

cforciea (1926392) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316586)

If all goes as planned, Fujisawa SST will start receiving residents in March of 2014 and finish filling up its houses by 2018.

At which point they'll have to redesign from scratch the next village they are templating because all of the technology they are installing now will be "less-efficient older tech."

Experimental "Smart Town" to be built... (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316590)

Experimental "Smart Town" to be built, as opposed to all the "Dumb Towns"?

I know this seems like a crazy far-out there idea, man... but -- hey, let's try to, you know, build a "Smart Town" this time -- it'll be an experiment. Like, what if we make the buildings out of geniuses? I know, right!? Dude, why didn't anyone think of this before?!

Seriously -- When did "smart" become synonymous with "green"? I thought a "smart" home was one where every light fixture, appliance, or wall socket was connected to an always-on energy consuming whole home computer system that can record everything you do and has voice activated commands for common tasks like, dimming the lights, or wiping your ass and flushing for you -- "Computer, Shit Happened."

I guess that "smart" home solution finally found the problem it was searching for after all by jumping on the green bandwagon. However, I'd be pissed off if my new green "smart" home was just as dumb as my current one (read: manual everything -- doesn't even have powered locks, windows or steering).

Re:Experimental "Smart Town" to be built... (1)

a_hanso (1891616) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316680)

Hybrid engines are technically "smart" -- as in they regulate energy output and utilization based on actual requirements and environmental conditions rather than running the system (the engine) at several preset ("dumb"?) levels. Regulating energy output to match actual usage in real time can save a LOT of energy around the world. Dumb machines will always use energy idling unless manually powered down.

Re:Experimental "Smart Town" to be built... (1)

Veggiesama (1203068) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316896)

Sometimes to become Green, the technology has to be Smart.

For instance, a business could leave a bathroom light on all day for customer convenience, or there could be some kind of sensor that detects when a customer enters or leaves. The mini-computer would then adjust the light accordingly.

Assuming it takes less energy to run the sensor all time that it takes to run the light at all times (given that's what will probably happen if impolite customers control the light switch), then it's possible that energy could be saved in the long run, eventually recouping the cost of the sensor system itself in the energy savings.

Just like smart CPU fans too. When temperature levels are low due to low CPU usage, then mechanical fan slows down. When usage rises, temperature rises, and sensors tell the fan to speed back up, thus saving the user some amount of energy and wear&tear on the moving parts.

even smarter (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316928)

I thought a "smart" home was one where every light fixture, appliance, or wall socket was connected to an always-on energy consuming whole home computer system that can record everything you do and ...

And posts it to Facebook. 1984 FTW

Re:Experimental "Smart Town" to be built... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36316996)

So you live out of your car? Hey wait a minute - you're the crazy old dude across the street stealing my wifi!

Re:Experimental "Smart Town" to be built... (3, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#36317264)

Seriously -- When did "smart" become synonymous with "green"?

Why wouldn't it? They are doing a "smart home" experiment here in the Netherlands, with homeowners, appliance manufacturers, energy companies, and the municipality. In this case smart does mean green. For example: instead of just switching on the washing machine, you tell it: "I want this clean by 5". The washing machine tells the home automation system: "I'll need about 2kW for 45 minutes, some time before 5". The home will then negotiate with the grid and tell the washing machine when it can start. It's a bit too early to be sure, but apparently considerable savings can be made this way, especially when the grid has a substantial solar/wind component. It's not about using less energy, but about using the cleanest/cheapest energy when it's available.

Re:Experimental "Smart Town" to be built... (1)

schlachter (862210) | more than 2 years ago | (#36321612)

good thing it's not about less energy....wouldn't that be terrible.

tips to reduce energy
- efficient lights w/ auto on/off
- more home insulation
- efficient electronics / deep sleep mode
- don't use the AC/Heat as much
- smaller fridges/freezers
- smaller ovens
- smaller homes
- more natural light

Re:Experimental "Smart Town" to be built... (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#36317450)

Don't worry, you get both.

I write software for buildings and environmental control is fairly standard now. When it gets too hot instead of turning on expensive AC you just automatically open some vents and allow cool air to circulate. We also do solar panels that are built into blinds that automatically close when the sun is low in the sky.

Lighting that only comes on when someone is in the room, doors that lock automatically after a few minutes (like modern cars do), even baths that you can control from your mobile phone so they are filled and ready when you get home... In Japan you have been able to get those things for a while as stand alone devices for a while but linking them all up is the key.

Re:Experimental "Smart Town" to be built... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 2 years ago | (#36317520)

Smart and green are not synonymous. Smart however is often used to save resources.

Re:Experimental "Smart Town" to be built... (1)

MadFarmAnimalz (460972) | more than 2 years ago | (#36317544)

It's a young field and one consequence is it's still lacking clear direction and an established body of knowledge. using the term "smart" does of course smell a bit, but there's a reason for it.

The main impetus behind being "green" at this level isn't so much save the planet as it is "we're heading for a time where energy and its distribution genuinely becomes a problem". So, the objective is energy efficiency for the sake of stability of supply.

One point most people agree on at this point is that a key is going to be employment of technology to reduce our exposure to energy supply fluctuation. In many cases, this is information technology (e.g. smarter algorithms for HVAC) and in other cases it's going to be changing the technology in the field (smarter energy meters in homes, that can report back and come with a web UI so the homeowner can assume greater responsibility for how they are using energy) and in some cases, it is fundamental rethinks of how energy is distributed (e.g. more decentralised energy grids, harmonisation of energy transfer protocols and technology across national buondaries, and accounting for the emerging option of individual contribution of surplus energy back into the grid).

So there's a lot of Lego blocks most of which are quite sensible and no one's quite sure how they all fit together just yet. So when we're talking about how all of that works together, we tend to use the term "smart city" to denote an overarching context. This context is necessary because it helps keep the big picture in mind. A practical example is, the energy meter manufacturers' association as they standardise what protocols a smart energy meter employs, they need to include the people working on smarter intelligent HVAC. The public transit people might be working on concepts for unattended light rail systems which the traffic planners need to be aware of.

I'm not saying that the expression "smart city" is not unnecessarily vague, but it's useful to the people working on reducing vulnerability to energy crises because it helps them remember that it's a larger complex canvas than the little square inches they're individually working on.

Re:Experimental "Smart Town" to be built... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#36317616)

When did "smart" become synonymous with "green"?

When they both started meaning "efficient".

Re:Experimental "Smart Town" to be built... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36318558)

A smart home is one as you specified. A smart town is Eureka.

Re:Experimental "Smart Town" to be built... (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#36318586)

My first thought when I read the headline was that they were building Eureka [wikipedia.org].

Re:Experimental "Smart Town" to be built... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36318764)

Seriously -- When did "smart" become synonymous with "green"?

Modern cars have all that electronic shit on them for emissions control. The smartest houses will also be the greenest because they will be the most efficient.

I guess that "smart" home solution finally found the problem it was searching for after all by jumping on the green bandwagon.

I don't really care why people get on that particular wagon as long as they do so.

However, I'd be pissed off if my new green "smart" home was just as dumb as my current one (read: manual everything -- doesn't even have powered locks, windows or steering).

I see what you did there, and I found it slightly smirkworthy.

The average person, however, doesn't know what a smart home is, so you can redefine it for them and they won't notice.

In the mean time, why not start smartening up your house?

No new technology, but... (1)

a_hanso (1891616) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316652)

An attempt to build-in the technologies in at design and construction time, which is easier than retrofitting existing infrastructure.

Skip over to the "vision and background" section on Panasonic's article [panasonic.co.jp]

E.g. Solar panels on each roof + surplus battery at every home

Sensor network controls public lighting + LED lighting

City blocks/roads planned to optimize transportation Etc.

Re:No new technology, but... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36319438)

You could do this with every town, though. The city planner is responsible for putting the roads in the right place. You can pass laws requiring a permit if you want to orient your house other than properly. You can even have building codes requiring a permit if you want to not have a passive solar design, if you like. You can save fairly obscene amounts of energy by using reflectors on street lights. Usually we don't even have the will to do any of this.

Great (1)

fortunela (2223312) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316682)

Japan always has a great idea for a smart life.. A lot of invention and discovery are created in Japan. That's why I love Japan! ^^

Re:Great (2)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316890)

There have been many projects over the years that aim to create a sustainable city [wikipedia.org]. I know when China announced its eco-city [worldchanging.com], it was just as much a showcase for technology that could be exported to other countries as it was an experiment in making towns better for the environment. This is going to be big business in the future once the politicians and those with a vested interest in fossil fuel stop fighting the change.

Re:Great (1)

mldi (1598123) | more than 2 years ago | (#36320012)

Didn't Greenville, Kansas in the USA do this recently? I thought I remembered something about their town being destroyed by a tornado, and they took the opportunity to rebuild "green". The name of the town just happened to fit.

Deja Vu all over again (3, Interesting)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316790)

Every time I read about one of these planned cities, I'm reminded of Walt Disney's original concept for the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow EPCOT [wikipedia.org] - not the theme park it became after he died. The original idea was damn visionary - take a look at the Wikipedia article, or here [the-original-epcot.com]. The idea was a community where people lived and worked - I don't know what the word is - synergistically? Certainly a decent first crack at a practical corporate utopia. It makes me really angry that it became a 'ride' instead.

Re:Deja Vu all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36317794)

I think of the planned community Henry Ford set up in Brazil. At least Disney managed to turn it's founder's screw-up into a profitable theme park.

-fearsomepirate

Re:Deja Vu all over again (1)

AlgUSF (238240) | more than 2 years ago | (#36321730)

You are talking about the EPCOT where nobody owns real property, and the corporation owns everything. You come home and there are new appliances there, because the corporation thinks you are ready for them. Where all of the residents work for the corporation in exchange for living in this Experimental Community. Yeah, sounds right where this country is headed... The wrong way.

Re:Deja Vu all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36328868)

Every time I read about one of these planned cities, I'm reminded of Walt Disney's original concept for the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow EPCOT [wikipedia.org] - not the theme park it became after he died. The original idea was damn visionary - take a look at the Wikipedia article, or here [the-original-epcot.com]. The idea was a community where people lived and worked - I don't know what the word is - synergistically? Certainly a decent first crack at a practical corporate utopia. It makes me really angry that it became a 'ride' instead.

I remember reading about this in the media in the early 1960's - this was going to be the way we were supposed to be going to live, a great idea - a great pity it got taken for a ride though.

Mm.. (1)

Ventriloquate (551798) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316800)

I think having unique houses gives neighborhoods character. Also, I wonder what they will do about security, seeing as if they make it the same in all of the houses, you only need to break the system once before getting full access to everyone. (assuming it's done centrally like everything else mentioned in the article.)

Good to see it moving forward. (1)

Rettet181 (1993760) | more than 2 years ago | (#36316804)

I work in R&D in Panasonic. We've been talking about Fujisawa internally for some time, nice to see it hit the press -- and be well received. Hopefully the project continues forward. I can't imagine anything much more rewarding than seeing this built and running code that I wrote.

Re:Good to see it moving forward. (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 2 years ago | (#36318592)

So what do you think about the criticisms expressed in the comments? Is this place really going to be the monotonous cookie-cutter suburban wasteland it looks like in the pic? Will there be mixed development (shops and businesses integrated amongst the homes)? Will there be higher-density housing? What is the plan for transportation (hopefully not cars, if you're looking for energy efficiency!)?

The extent to which Japan seems to be increasingly emulating some of the more idiotic trends of the U.S. is pretty depressing, and it would be a shame if the "green" label is being used to promulgate such harmful practices.

A bit of local knowledge (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#36317566)

Will this work? Yes. They've done it before. For anyone who has been to the TGS and walked to Makuhari Messe you'll see they are quite able to make a whole place. They called it Mihama-ku in Chiba
Fact 1. The Japanese cannot live without a constant flow of great places to eat in so local jobs and little shops to will be build before the houses I'm sure.
Fact 2.There will be a train station and 1 hour on a Japanese train takes you as far as *50 hours on an English train so commuting to a job will not be a problem. (also your company pays for your ticket)
Fact 3. They don't do terraced housing so it's all detached or a blocks of flat. Sound proofing stop murders.
Fact 4. These places are not tiny. They have a minimum room size by law. I've seen a lot of 3 bed houses in the UK and the 3rd bedroom was big enough for just a bed and that's all. In Japan you can't make rooms that small. Once they've filled it up with all their stuff it becomes small mind you.
Fact 5. Everyone is work work work work working class so it will not be some "ghetto for the middle class" as I read above.
Fact 6. Now that Japan has gone solar, this tech is about to take off. We'll have 50% efficient panels soon.

note: I didn't think Mihama-ku was very nice as a future goes. It reminded me of playing syndicate wars on the Amiga. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mihama-ku,_Chiba [wikipedia.org]
*I think their train hour is 2 hours for the UK. You'll be crushed to death so time doesn't matter.

Re:A bit of local knowledge (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36318800)

Now that Japan has gone solar, this tech is about to take off. We'll have 50% efficient panels soon.

Within ten years, right?

note: I didn't think Mihama-ku was very nice as a future goes. It reminded me of playing syndicate wars on the Amiga.

The best laid plans of men oft run in straight lines.

Re:A bit of local knowledge (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#36319472)

It will be half the time is was going to be, put it that way. More to the point, when a crazy hits the place, every house will be covered in panels soon. Considering how dependent they are on oil imported I'm surprised it has not happened sooner. - No I'm not, they had cheap energy from nuclear.

Shimla Tour Packages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36317922)

Shimla Tour Packages [shimlatourpackages.net] - Shimla tour packages: provides information on shimla package tours with Delhi, Agra, Kullu and Manali.We offers you a lot of romance, fun and adventure and promises to lend you some of the most memorable times of your life.

Street Smart Town (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36318098)

I hope that it's smart enough to know how to swim.

Needs to be faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36318166)

Doesn't Japan have several hundred thousand homeless people right now and some of the brightest minds on the planet? I would think they would be able to build these kinds of towns in days not years, and they need to, right now!

Not very original... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36321608)

This is just going to be Greensburg, Kansas, only in Japan... I wonder if it'll get its own TV show on The Discovery Channel as well.

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