How does Tokyo capitalize on the momentum of the 2020 Olympics to ensure its urban future?

Cities as established as Tokyo rarely see the opportunity to redefine themselves. In the next five years the investments in Tokyo offer an opportunity to capitalize on forthcoming innovations to create livable space for citizens, and redesign urban infrastructure to handle population changes.

In the run up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, Google Japan, in partnership with New Cities Foundation and Mitsubishi estate, convened a group of the hundred most influential urban leaders and thinkers on September 11, 2015. The day-long event focused on how Tokyo can best use the Olympics as a catalyst to become one of the world’s most innovative and livable cities.

Three main areas of change can ensure Tokyo’s future and the successful legacy of the Olympics:

INNOVATION

Olympic host cities must often be creative to handle the surge in people and excitement around a mega-event. What are some innovations that Tokyo can invest in now to help solve its future challenges? What can we learn from former host cities? How can we use data to understand patterns of people both during and beyond the mega-event? How can Tokyo best promote innovation using the Olympics as a catalyst?

Photo Credit © michel banabila
PUBLIC SPACE

Public space is key to the character of a city. Unfortunately, public space in today’s biggest cities is often made up of leftover space within the urban fabric. Given infrastructure investments ahead of the Olympics, Tokyo has the unique opportunity to plan its public space post-2020. What is Tokyo missing in terms of public space? What is the legacy plan for Tokyo’s Olympic Park? How will the post-2020 public space define Tokyo?

Photo Credit © Loïc Lagarde
DESIGN FOR HEALTHY LIVING

Tokyo faces a myriad of challenges in the coming decades. Most prominent among these are a rapidly aging society and high population density. How can Tokyo use the momentum of the Olympics as a way to foster inclusivity? What are the design changes necessary to help marginalized communities? What future changes in the population do city planners need to consider now?

Photo Credit © Guilhem Vellut

Tokyo Olympics Series

Photo Credit © Shibuya, Tokyo – Rob M Flickr