Sustainable Cities (Kitakyushu Urban Centre)

Collaboration with University Students on the International Conference of Design for Sustainability Sustainable Design: Share Asian Future!

水素タウンThe 8th International Conference of Design for Sustainability, Destination 2013 – 2019,was held on 7 to 9 June 2013 in Higashida district, as part of the Kitakyushu City 50th Anniversary Celebrations.

Alongside JICA Kyushu, KUC participated in the executive planning committee and meeting preparation management as well as helping to coordinate the plenary session. The plenary session comprised five speakers from Japan and overseas, and initially discussed the Higashida Smart Community before widening the discussion to exchange ideas concerning sustainability and resiliency within Asia as a whole. The plenary session was broadcast live to the world through U-stream.

Following this a break-out session was held which consisted mainly of university students. The students were not only from local universities but also included 130 international students from 14 different Asian countries. The session was divided into themes that were familiar to everyday life, such as communities and manufacturing. Discussions were conducted in English with all present cultivating a better understanding of sustainable societies through exchanging ideas.

Giving the opportunity for university students from both within Japan as well as from overseas to discuss these issues was a particular characteristic of the programme. KUC staff members joined each session to facilitate discussion and act as interpreters as necessary.


Event Title

The 8th International Conference of Design for Sustainability
"Collaboration with University Students on the International Conference of Design for Sustainability Sustainable Design: Share Asian Future!"

Date 7 – 9 June 2013
Main Organisers

Kitakyushu Sustainable Design International Conference Executive Committee (Satoyama NPO, Kitakyushu City, Kitakyushu City University, Nishinippon Institute of Technology, JICA Kyushu, KUC, others

Co-Organiser Kitakyushu City

Higashida is the site of the Yawata Steel Works which opened in 1901 as a government run site. This led to Kitakyushu making a major contribution to Japan's modern industrialisation as an industrial city. Higashida area also represents the starting point of Kitakyushu's development as a city. As manufacturing industries began to move into the area, the new city developed and in 2001, . the Kitakyushu Expo was used as an opportunity to start various efforts to make the city environmentally friendly and harmonious. Today, the Kitakyushu Smart Community uses co-generated natural gas from a neighbouring plant to distribute electricity across Japan's only smart-grid of its kind.

As well as introducing the urban development of Higashida, comparisons were made, based on case studies on familiar everyday themes such as manufacturing and community building, between efforts to build cities for a sustainable society both locally and within Asia. Through exploring the common points between these case studies, university students from within the city, as well as university students who were invited from other parts of Japan and from overseas, participated in discussions on urban planning for the future and were able to come to a mutual understanding.


  • Panel Discussion
  • Mr. Toshizo Maeda, Deputy Director of KUC and Dr. Dickella Gamaralalage Premakumara Jagath (henceforth referred to as Dr. Kumara), Task Manager, presided over the panel which introduced and exchanged ideas concerning the administration and formation of Higashida district as well as a Cambodian project focusing on networking for successful sustainability.

    The panellists commented that collaboration with stakeholders was the key to success and pointed out that proactive citizen involvement from the planning stage was an important element in ensuring sustainability. Also, Mr. Kakuchi introduced the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge which aims to improve resiliency through a supportive city network.


 First Day Panel Discussion – Mr. Maeda and Dr. Kumara presiding

First Day Panel Discussion – Mr. Maeda and Dr. Kumara presiding

Break-Out Sessions

KUC staff joined the four themed break-out sessions as facilitators to help international students unfamiliar with Japanese and Japanese university students unfamiliar with exchanging ideas in English.

◆ Energy – Participants discussed and reached a better understanding of how a culture of low energy use can be created, resource depletion and environmental degradation can be avoided and renewable energy can be maintained.

◆ Community – Participants considered the diversity of communities and areas as well as the future of their own communities. They looked at what they themselves could do for their communities. Japanese students also received a strong impetus to express their own thoughts and ideas.

◆ Material-cycle society - Participants discussed resource circulation within Asia taking into account natural resources, regional and country differences (as seen through human resources and cultural factors).

◆ Manufacturing – Regarding sustainable manufacturing, participants not only considered design factors but also the diverse regional and social backgrounds were considered with participants discussing how goods might be sustainable within different regions.

With around 130 university students from 14 different countries in attendance, each country and region's thoughts on sustainability could be heard, giving the students an opportunity to discuss the possibility of a diverse, flexible and rich approach to resiliency in Asia. KUC staff were also able to introduce their sustainable cities research into the discussions and, in a modest way, contribute to the creation of sustainable societies.

KUC Staff Efforts

KUC staff were present in each session to support the local and international students.

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