In partnership with Mitsui Fudosan, one of Asia’s largest developers, ZGF applied Smart City placemaking techniques to pioneer a new urban planning approach in Kashiwa-no-ha, Japan. Located 18 miles north of Tokyo, Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City employs the lessons learned by ZGF in master planning and ecodistrict projects, including Portland’s Pearl District and the SW Ecodistrict in Washington D.C. The Kashiwa-no-ha project creates a resilient 111 acre/45 hectare district that aims to resolve social, environmental, and economic issues common to existing global cities. Through the effective use of real-time technology and data delivery, Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City connects residents to each other and to the built environment, enabling them to make the best choices for themselves and their environment.


ZGF provided urban design and sustainable design services for this vision plan and master plan to guide the next phase of development which is currently underway and scheduled for completion in 2030. Focused on engagement of all community stakeholders, the vision and design are organized around private and public-sector interests – including residents, universities, and businesses – to create an environmentally responsible and symbiotic city that supports collective aspirations, natural disaster responsiveness, and environmental and social initiatives.


In 2016 Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City became the largest LEED® Neighborhood Development Plan Platinum-certified smart city in the world and was a finalist for Fast Company magazine’s 2017 World Changing Ideas award. In 2017 the project also received the Urban Land Institute’s Global Award for Excellence.