Toyota Working on the Smartest City Yet, Built From Scratch

Checking in with Toyota's plans for an interconnected smart "city of the future" means considering how their approach might differ from other attempts at similar projects.

2 minute read

November 8, 2020, 11:00 AM PST

By Lee Flannery @leecflannery

Toyota Future City

Toyota / Woven City

Corporate interest in smart city technology has brought numerous concepts and potential projects into the public spotlight in recent years with a notable lack of success in implementing new technologies in a robust way. Where others (most notably, Sidewalk Labs) have failed, Toyota has big plans to create a new, interconnected smart city, a "city of the future" to stand as a proof of concept for such innovations as autonomous vehicles and smart houses. 

"The 175-acre Woven City project, to sit at the base of Mt. Fuji, would house some 2,000 residents and will be outfitted with connected infrastructure, clean buildings and artificial intelligence (AI)," writes Jason Plautz on the ambitious scope of the project. Some onlookers think that Toyota could have more success than other corporations who have spearheaded smart city development, in part due to the lessened regulatory requirement involved in building a city from scratch. 

Public concern has put a damper on smart city development projects in the past. Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs planned a development on the waterfront of Toronto that sought to "showcase everything from mass timber buildings to adaptive pavement that would accommodate all forms of mobility," but the "project was dogged with concerns about how the company would store and protect data collected from residents," Plautz reflects. 

After Toyota's January announcement of plans for the spawning of the Woven City, very few details about the project have been revealed, says Plautz. Nearly a year later, ears are perked for more information about the viability of the project and its implications for smart city technology in other cities worldwide.

Monday, October 19, 2020 in Smart Cities Dive

Red on white 'Room for Rent, Inquire Inside' sign

In Most U.S. Cities, Archaic Laws Limit Roommate Living

Critics argue laws preventing unrelated adults from living in the same home fail to understand the modern American household.

May 24, 2023 - The Atlantic

Vancouver Chuck Wolfe

Ten Signs of a Resurgent Downtown

In GeekWire, Chuck Wolfe continues his exploration of a holistic and practical approach to post-pandemic urban center recovery, anchored in local context and community-driven initiatives that promote livability, safety, and sustainability.

May 24, 2023 - GeekWire

New York MTA subway station

Off-Peak is the New On-Peak

Public transit systems in major U.S. cities are starting to focus on non-rush hour travelers as pre-pandemic commuting patterns shift and transportation needs change.

May 19, 2023 - Curbed

Nighttime view of Tacoma, Washington skyline

Tacoma Coalition Calls for ‘Tenants’ Bill of Rights’

The group wants to put more power in the hands of tenants, but the city has its own, competing proposal for addressing the housing crisis.

May 26 - The Urbanist

Wind turbines sillhouetted against a sunset sky along roadway in New Mexico

New Power Transmission Line Approved in the Southwest

The proposed transmission line will transfer wind-produced power from New Mexico to cities in Arizona and California.

May 26 - U.S. News And World Report

Aerial view of 238 freeway in Oakland, California cutting through neighborhood with small houses

The Limitations of ‘Reconnecting Communities’

The Biden administration has pledged to correct the damage imposed on communities by highways and infrastructure, but many projects are only committing to minor improvements, not transformative changes.

May 26 - The New York Times

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.