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We Build Green Cities initiative inks first project contract in collaboration with Smart City Project

January 23, 2014

PDC, Smart City Project

The Portland Development Commission, on behalf of the We Build Green Cities (WBGC) initiative, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Smart City Planning, Inc., a joint venture company managing a consortium of 27 major Japanese and global corporations known as the Smart City Project. The consortium, which includes Sharp, SAP, Toshiba, Mitsui Fudosan, HP and Hitachi, is developing a next-generation model city near Tokyo, Japan, the Kashiwa-no-ha Campus City project; and has earthquake disaster reconstruction projects lined up as well.

"Portland demonstrates a true balance of smart urban growth and affordability. We are looking forward to a long-term relationship with Portland’s leaders in creating urban models for the future."

- Yasuo Onozawa, Smart City Planning

In conjunction with the MOU, a team of We Build Green Cities members led by Portland firm ZGF Architects signed its first contract with Japanese real estate development firm Mitsui Fudosan to provide planning and design services for an area energy management system within Kashiwa-no-ha that relies on citizen participation.

The WBGC team, led by Jan Willemse, managing partner, ZGF, includes Charles Kelley and Yoshiyuki Watanabe, associate partners, ZGF; Kirk Davis, managing principal of Glumac; Craig Briscoe, director of integrated design, Glumac; and Scott Murase, design principal, Murase Associates. PDC staffer Mitsu Yamazaki leads the city’s business development efforts in Japan and will coordinate the project.

Smart City Planning is led by Yasuo Onozawa, president and CEO, who is also executive managing director of Mitsui Fudosan, one of Japan’s largest development companies. Other members of the Smart City team are Junya Kawai, development planner for Mitsui Fudosan and executive manager of the planning group for Kashiwa-no-ha Campus City Project; and Toru Yamaguchi, senior strategic advisor for Smart City Planning.

The Japanese business leaders were in Portland on January 22 to sign the MOU and contract, and tour the Pearl District, where Portland’s success in development on a district scale prompted Smart City’s interest in tapping Portland firms’ expertise in urban planning and green city development.

The WBGC team will provide conceptual planning and design services to develop balanced infrastructure and landscape, lifestyle and cultural amenities for the project just north of Tokyo, and will facilitate public conversations and community participation to increase citizen engagement with the development.

PDC Executive Director Patrick Quinton said, "With the Tokyo Olympics on the horizon, Portland companies will have many more opportunities to participate in projects where our expertise is invaluable. We welcome the involvement of more local businesses in the We Build Green Cities initiative, which calls for export-readiness and a willingness to commit financially to innovative partnerships like this one."

Jan Willemse, ZGF, said, "We’re very excited about this first project for We Build Green Cities, and expect its success will drive additional projects in Japan and throughout the world."

Yasuo Onozawa, Smart City Planning, said, "Portland demonstrates a true balance of smart urban growth and affordability. We are looking forward to a long-term relationship with Portland’s leaders in creating urban models for the future."

We Build Green Cities is a business development initiative sponsored by PDC to support Portland businesses at home and abroad through retention/recruitment, a first adopter program and access to research and new capital. WBGC seeks to leverage Portland’s reputation as a green city to assist local firms in growing their market presence.


Created by Portland voters in 1958, PDC plays a major role in making Portland one of America's most livable cities. As Portland’s economic development and urban renewal agency, PDC seeks to create one of the world’s most desirable and equitable cities by investing in job creation, innovation and economic opportunity throughout Portland.

Established in September 2009, Smart City Planning, Inc. is based in Tokyo. The Smart City Project seeks to widely spread the Smart City model as a social infrastructure system not only in Japan but also outside the country, using a five-layer approach encompassing real estate development, basic infrastructure, smart infrastructure, life services, and lifestyles, culture and art.

Contact: Shawn Uhlman, PDC, 503-823-7994