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Messages from Keidanren Executives June, 2019 Creating neighborhoods to facilitate communication and generate innovation

Masanobu KOMODA Vice Chair of the Board of Councillors, Keidanren
President and CEO, Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.

In neighborhood creation, the leading player is not buildings but people.

A neighborhood should provide new values for people who visit, live, or work there. It is also people who play a key role in creating such values. Communication among people generates new ideas and businesses. It also creates communities in the areas where various activities are initiated, thereby increasing the value of the neighborhood.

Declining birth rates, population aging, globalization, lifestyle diversification, and other factors have brought forth a variety of values in the world. In order to facilitate communication among people who embody such diverse values, what is important in neighborhood creation is the concept of "mixed-use," which gathers and combines varied urban functions, including offices, commercial facilities, housing, hotels, and entertainment. In neighborhoods, various values engage with each other and multiply, leading to unprecedented value creation.

Promoting open innovation in particular is essential in the era of Society 5.0. Open innovation must be accelerated by incorporating industry/academia/government joint research bases, startup support bases, exchange bases for major companies and startups, and other elements, and facilitating communication and cooperation among specialists in different fields. It is also necessary to attract more talent from other countries. For that purpose, it is essential to improve living environments by enhancing educational facilities, medical institutions, administrative services, etc. to meet the needs of people from other countries. In addition, it is important to expand appealing cultural and artistic facilities and develop MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention, Exhibition) facilities as international exchange bases.

Along with face-to-face communication among people, digital technology utilization is also imperative. Various social issues will be resolved by networks linking with every part of the world and state-of-the-art technologies, such as AI and IoT, to analyze data collected in neighborhoods. Neighborhood creation in the future must enrich the lives of its key players: its people.