Addressing Urban Revitalization challenges in Japan with OGC standards

Contributed by: 
i-Urban Exchange Conference 2020 Secretariat and Scott Simmons

The CityGML-Urban Planning ADE Ideathon: Tokyo, Japan 12–14 February, 2020.

In Japan, the continuous decline and aging of the population pose major urban structural challenges. To attract high quality investment for urban regeneration, the “i-Urban Revitalization” data infrastructure is being developed through cooperation of the national and local governments.

The i-Urban Revitalization infrastructure includes comprehensive, easy-to-use data that facilitate spatial and numerical understanding to provide a seamless picture of urban conditions - from the nation-wide perspective down to individual local situations. At the same time, it is also important to build a framework in which the data created is accumulated as urban capital.

The Cabinet Office of Japan is promoting the use of large volumes of data held by local governments to reduce data creation costs, ensure versatility and scalability of those data, ensure compliance with international standards, and establish compatibility with interactive tools. For these purposes, on May 7, 2019, the Cabinet Office of Japan published the Urban Planning Application Domain Extension (ADE)* to the OGC CityGML 2.0 standard as the "i-Urban Revitalization" technical specification (i-UR 1.0), which defines how to describe urban revitalization data. This specification was further adapted to users’ additional needs as "i-Urban Revitalization" technical specification (i-UR 1.1) in November, 2019.

Critical to the success of the i-Urban Revitalization effort is effective engagement of stakeholders. To this end, two “Ideathons” were organized to link the national ambitions with the local interest in successfully adapting their urban settings to changing demographics. The first Ideathon was held 3–4 October, 2019, in Chino City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan with more than 20 participants discussing requirements for, and uses of, the Urban Planning ADE.

But things got really exciting from 12–14 February, 2020. A second Ideathon was organized by the Secretariat for the i-Urban Exchange Conference 2020 and hosted by the Urban Structure Visualization Promotion Organization (USVPO), Cabinet Office, JAPAN, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), JAPAN, Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), and assisted by the Urban Planning Institute of Japan; DMO TOKYO Marunouchi. More than 310 people in total attended this Ideathon to share their experiences in use of the Urban Planning ADE, OGC KML, and citizen engagement. Participants discussed how to use Urban Planning ADE based on various cases and confirmed its effectiveness from the perspectives of land use, disaster prevention, and co-creation of urban plans with citizens.

Day 1 focused on setting the scene for participants with keynotes from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, OGC, the City of Helsinki, and Technical University of Munich. Participants were able to learn about the origin and practical use of the standards they were implementing in the real world.

Day 2 was built around the presentation of local governments’ experience with the i-Urban Revitalization program, and their use of data provided by the national government, local information, and exceptionally clever analysis of complex data to solve real problems. Representatives from these local governments presented summaries of their projects over the course of 8 sessions in 16 groups. Never before have so many real-world experiences using OGC standards been presented in such a concentrated forum!


Across the board, the local and regional government presentations were excellent and illustrated how effective standardized content could be in decision making. Three specific participants were selected to receive awards based on the quality of their work and the clarity of their presentations. These were awarded as follows.

  • The Jarmo Award to: Kouji Kameya (City of Shizuoka, Japan)
  • The Kolbe Award to: Nobuyuki Sakai (Chubu Regional Development Bureau, Japan)
  • The Scott Award to: Kosuke Maeda (City of Anjo, Japan)
  • Excellence Awards to:
    • Shunsuke Matsumoto (Kinki Regional Development Bureau, Japan)
    • Ryo Kikui (City of Inuyama, Japan)
    • Masashi Miida (City of Kashiwazaki, Japan)
    • Kimio Masuzawa (Saitama Prefecture, Japan)
    • Naoya Takatsuki (City of Toyama, Japan)



Finally, Day 3 concluded the event with visits to cases where visualization is being used to carrying out urban planning.

The manner in which urban areas are redeveloped to provide optimal services and lifestyle to their citizens was demonstrated at Mori Building Co., Ltd. Participants were shown how both physical and virtual models were instrumental in conveying development plans to all involved stakeholders.

At the Panasonic Corporation, demonstrations of simulation methods for urban development were made through the Cities:Skylines game. Actual cities from regional prefectures in Japan were recreated, enabling simulations of these cities through this game. Panasonic Corporation also demonstrated a 3D virtual reality tour of city development in its simulation dome.

*About Application Domain Extensions (ADEs)
The Application Domain Extension (ADE) is a built-in mechanism of CityGML to augment its data model with additional concepts required by particular use cases and many ADEs have been developed for various fields. For example, CityGML Utility Network ADE from the Technical University of Munich provides a means to represent supply and disposal infrastructure through CityGML.