Cities will not move from the locations they occupy today. However, the community of people who work, relax, and enjoy life in the metropolis will change as the place and its occupants come to express a brighter countenance. Urban developments respond to the needs called for in every era. And today, coexistence with a focus on society and global environmental issues have never been more important. Mitsubishi Estate is working toward a 100-year community development plan that focuses on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) becoming a major pillar of the firm’s management philosophy.
Creating Social Spaces to Spark New Value
Tokyo Torch -- a light to illuminate the path ahead has been chosen as the name for this new community squarely facing the future. Both the name and the new urban redevelopment project being promoted by Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd. have been created in the image of the historical Tokiwabashi district that stands in front of JR Tokyo Station. The project’s centerpiece will be a 390-meter tall skyscraper, the highest in Japan when completed, occupying the place once famous for being the gateway to Edo Castle. The project name, Tokyo Torch, was chosen to signify the development’s goal of shining a light on a brighter future.
The project covers roughly three hectares, with a planned budget of some 500 billion yen (around $4.8 billion). The city district will not only attract a diverse range of people coming and going for work but also to relax and have fun. The 100-year city development aims to solve global problems through promoting coexistence within society.
To realize these aims, the city plan embraces all aspects of the concepts contained within the SDGs. For example, one major issue facing Japan is rural revitalization. Mitsubishi Estate believes the collaborative city project will help local governments reveal their local charms to the world. The precinct’s pond will be filled with Nishiki Koi -- colored carp -- from Ojiya-city, Niigata. while its park and flower gardens will bloom every season with plants from Susono-city, Shizuoka.
The development also stresses the key SDGs ideals of diversity and inclusion. As human lifespans approach the 100-year mark, the city can only shine with brilliance by providing for the diverse needs of the entire community made up of people at every different stage of their lives. Not only is the design environmentally friendly, Tokyo Torch will also be able to withstand natural disasters while serving as an evacuation and refuge point for surrounding areas in the case of any catastrophe.
Mitsubishi Estate has been known as the “landlord of Marunouchi” --the key business district in Japan’s capital between the Imperial Palace and JR Tokyo Station. This nickname stems from the company taking ownership of the once-grassy Marunouchi area from the government some 130 years ago. Since then, the district has developed into Tokyo’s central finance area. This constant growth was possible precisely because the firm has continued rising to meet the changing needs of the times. Sustainability is not a static achievement, but rather a moving goal that demands continuous adaptation and change.
One example of this is the space called 3×3 Lab Future located in the Otemachi neighborhood next to Marunouchi. The lab provides a place for people from a diverse range of industries, all brought together by Mitsubishi Estate, to discuss how best to realize a sustainable society for future generations.
The unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic now confronting the world are also pushing people to re-think ideas of urban office space. Bold new approaches are bringing flexibility to the entrenched work regimes of the past and opening up the possibilities for new ideas about office space that provide sustainability accompanied by the creation of new value.
The city is a living thing. It can only grow with the lively activity and the breaths of those pursuing a constantly shifting range of human endeavors within its boundaries. Future-oriented management demands that vital driving forces be imparted into the community itself, and Mitsubishi Estate believes that the SDGs spell out the duty of real estate developers.
Real estate is a unique industry. Our business is to carry the history of a location forward and to connect that past with the future. We grow with the areas we serve, and work with our customers to find and solve social problems. I think the core of our business perfectly aligns with the SDGs.
The Tokiwabashi redevelopment project in front of JR Tokyo Station was launched with the concept of brightening and energizing Japan. We hope it will play the role of illuminating a better future. One of the social issues we face is revitalizing rural Japan. So, in cooperation with local governments across the nation, Tokiwabashi will introduce Japan’s fascinating traditional cultures, including products and festivals, to the world.
We are also implementing the area management of Daimaru-Yu -- the central core of Tokyo encompassing Otemachi, Marunouchi, and Yurakucho -- to work toward achieiving the SDGs in an integrated manner. The aim is to slash CO2 emissions from the area by 87% before 2050. We intend to streamline the processing of waste, and create a disaster-resilient city.
The COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate changes in the way people work, but I don’t think there will be any drop in demand for office space in the city. On the contrary, I think demand will increase for the kinds of important creative spaces where people can meet face-to-face to develop new ideas. There will also be a broader range of possibilities to choose from, including working at home or satellite offices, and the trend toward improved productivity and value creation will continue.
Our job is to nurture the city over a century-long timespan. A city where people with diverse values gather and interact without borders, regardless of their generation, gender, or nationality. This community will be more than just economically enriching, it will be a place that enriches the hearts of all visitors. By contributing to society and the environment, Mitsubishi Estate hopes it will always be a company that is supported and selected by a diverse range of stakeholders.