While much use is made of technology to enhance the quality of life and convenience of its residents, the Fujisawa SST additionally focuses on their "wellness." This includes the promotion of interaction between members of the community, the encouragement of inter-generational living, and other measures to combat loneliness. A centrally-located community center called "Wellness Square" provides residents with healthcare, a daycare facility and educational offerings. Individual homes are equipped with a variety of discrete health monitoring devices.
The final area of focus is community creation. Panasonic believes an additional key feature of the Sustainable Smart Towns is the nurturing of the kinds of connections between people that sustained communities in the past. The layout of streets and facilities is designed to encourage interaction among residents, and a smart "community platform" accessible by smartphones, tablets or TVs provides one-stop access to information on all community facilities. It also provides a "bulletin board" allowing residents to express opinions or make suggestions for improvements in the community - and provides connectivity and support in the case of a natural disaster.
The development of Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town is a major undertaking, and Panasonic has enlisted the support of the local government, business partners and local residents in its creation. The business partners include utility companies and leading firms in the fields of real estate development, architecture and housebuilding, all of whom subscribe to Panasonic's vision of creating a multi-generational "100-Year Community".
The key to its future success, says a company spokesman, is for the developers and organizers to stay close to the emerging community, to understand its changing needs, and to provide its residents with new value.
In the meantime, Panasonic is working on the creation of two additional Sustainable Smart Towns in Japan. It plans to apply the lessons it learns along the way to support regional and urban development initiatives elsewhere in the country. The company is also looking at the possibility of creating similar communities overseas!