Smart Cities as a Green Growth model: The case of Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town

Seminar Paper, 2022

13 Pages, Grade: 1,3



Table of content:

1. Introduction

2. A Green Growth Approach to Fujisawa’s sustainable development
2.1 An overview of the Green Growth Model
2.2 Criteria of Green Growth

3. Smart Cities’ role in fighting Climate Change
3.1 An overview of Smart Cities
3.2 Criteria and restrictions for analysing Smart Cities

4. A Green Growth Analysis ofFujisawa Sustainable Smart Town
4.1 How Smart is Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town?
4.2 Does Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town meet the criteria of the Green Growth Model?

5. Conclusion

6. References

1. Introduction

Nearly half of the world’s population is highly vulnerable to climate related extreme events, roughly half the population faces water shortages on a yearly basis, a third is exposed to life threatening heat and the percentages are expected to rise by at least 50% until 21001. These are only a few of the warnings stated in the most recent IPCC report. The goal of keeping global warming beneath 1.5°C would only be possible by reaching net zero emissions by 2050 while reducing the world’s population’s emission by 45% until 2030 compared to 20102. With the current efforts we may reach 0.5%3. This obviously raises the question what other actors can do to weaken climate change and reach the goal of net zero 2050. The most apparent group of actors that could make a difference are cities as nation-states have proven to be not effective enough. Cities are home to a large part of the world’s population, over 70% of the population are expected to be living in cities by 20504. Being home to that amount of people also bundles their citizens emissions under one common administration. Therefore cities have a unique set of possibilities for fighting climate change, since choices about their infrastructure largely influence their emissions and thus their toll on global warming. Not only policy decisions play an important role in fighting climate change, but also technological innovations and their possibilities are frequently mentioned in the political debate. The aspect of cities and modern technologies fighting climate change are fused together in the idea of smart cities, a concept that keeps on re-emerging not only in the climate debate but also in regards to digitization and it’s implications for social and economic issues. As larger cities can struggle with implementing their Smart City development ideas due to their sheer size, this paper shall take a look at the case of Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town. Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town is a project lead by Panasonic, with the goal of constructing a small scale Smart City for roughly 1000 households in Kanegawa prefecture, Japan5. In the following paper, Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town will be abbreviated to Fujisawa SST.

The initial time-frame of the project ranged from 2011 to 20 1 86. The analysis for the Smart City project shall look at the development of Fujisawa during and after this time-frame. To create a basis for analysis, firstly the Green Growth model will be looked at with a short overview and possible criteria derived from it. As secondary criteria the concept of Smart Cities will be presented, starting with a short outline of the concept and following up with a small analytical framework. These criteria shall then be applied to the case of Fujisawa SST, with the main focus lying on the Green Growth Model. Finally the results and possible implications for other cities will be summed up.

2. A Green Growth Approach to Fujisawa’s sustainable development

2.1 An overview of the Green Growth Model

Green Growth as an idea originates from opposing the assumptions that the current models of economic growth by noting their shortcomings and failures7. Essentially all the common models of economic growth are criticized for their unsustainable nature. Not only is the earth lacking the amount of resources needed to continue the ecological and economical status quo, continuous long term high levels of growth have been empirically proven unachievable, neoliberal growth through deregulation and privatization similarly has shown to be ineffective and the still prevalent notion of solving social, financial or ecological issues through higher growth continues to disprove itself8. Furthermore, the idea of fighting climate related issues by implementing a zero growth model fails to recognize the issue of needing acceptance for change, which would be hard to come by in a stagnant economy9. Green Growth proposes a different approach to focus on a more sustainable long-term development.

Firstly, Green Growth was seen as growth of the environmental sector10. Growth in the environmental sector mainly focused on technological solutions provided for environmental problems like wastewater management or filtration systems for car exhausts, was expanded later to include renewable energies and finally energy and resource saving practices11. The possibilities for analysing Smart Cities using a Green Growth model are already relatively clear based on this basis alone, as the idea of Smart Cities mainly revolves around the most efficiently possible usage of modern technology.

In applying Green Growth to the energy sector, the concept concentrates on the share of renewable energy in the energy mix12. This again has clear ties to the base idea of a Smart City strategy, since the application of modern technology on a city wide scale for the time being obviously requires more energy than the city would need without the new technological innovations used. Providing the Smart City with renewable energy sources is thus crucial for it’s success. The empirical evidence for the possibilities of Green Growth as well as the risk of rising resource prices for maintaining the status quo of economic growth have lead to international institutions such as the OECD, UNEP and the EU developing their own Green Growth strategies13. This essentially has transformed the idea of Green Growth from a sector specific model for economic growth to a comprehensive model for sustainable economic growth, even including social aspects14. As social equity is not directly addressed in the basic model of Green Growth it is not a substitute for sustainable development, which encompasses social equity, economy and environment15. Essentially Green Growth can be seen as an economic as well as ecological model of moderate growth, trying to maintain the economic concept of long-term growth but in a more ecologically sustainable way.

2.2 Criteria of Green Growth

The main factors for Green Growth obviously revolve around fitting economic development to ecological needs, while not completely abandoning economic growth. Firstly, the Green Growth Model’s main focus is heavily increasing resource efficiency16. Especially in regards to earth’s limited resources and the amount of resources needed to uphold the status quo in production and consumption, a change in the usage of resources is crucial. In regards to Smart Cities, this not only means that resource efficient technology should be used, but also that the technology used is resource efficient and is actually helpful, since especially modern technologies could waste precious resources such as cobalt or lithium if the technology is not used to the best extent. Second, it is important for governments to consider efficiency gains while investing17. Efficiency gains technically describe the concept of investments in certain sectors or technologies paying for themselves in the long run, as they save energy and resources, that would otherwise be needed and paid for, if said investments were not made. Applying this to a Smart City project, the long-term nature of the Smart City strategy and the planned technologies have to be considered.


1 Harvey, F. (2022). What is the IPCC climate change report - and what does it say? The Guardian. [Website] Retrieved From: sav

2 McSweeney, E. & Ritchie, H. (2021). New climate pledges 'far short' of meeting Paris Agreement goals, UN warns. CNN. [Website] Retrieved From:

3 Ibid.

4 OECD (2014). Cities and Climate Change, p.4

5 Tokoro, N. (2017). Sustainable Urban Development and Value Creation The Panasonic Challenge. The Journal of University Grants Commission. 2017 (6)

6 Ibid.

7 Janicke, M. (2012). “Green growth”: From a growing eco-industry to economic sustainability. Energy Policy. (48), 13­21

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

12 Ibid.

13 Janicke,M.(2012)

14 Ibid.

15 OECD. (2013)

16 Janicke, M. (2012)

17 Ibid.

Excerpt out of 13 pages


Smart Cities as a Green Growth model: The case of Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town
Technical University of Munich
Politics of Sustainability
Catalog Number
ISBN (Book)
sustainability, japan, nachhaltigkeit, smart city, fujisawa, green growth, stadtentwicklung
Quote paper
Anonymous, 2022, Smart Cities as a Green Growth model: The case of Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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