Paving the way to greater freedom in urban mobility.
The OPEN ROAD PROJECT is much more than just the work of planning and developing the i-ROAD car itself.
This is an endeavor vigorously advanced on the cornerstone of crucial collaboration by members of the general public,
startup ventures, major corporations and other enlightened supporters.
The members of this ever-expanding circle of supporters strive from their own respective positions and volitions to assist and
share in the keynote mission of this unique project.
While conveying our heartfelt gratitude for this support, we are pleased to profile the candid impressions of such individuals,
along with their personal discoveries and new visions.
The OPEN ROAD PROJECT comprises the grand sum of cooperation from a truly vast range of people.
“Small Space Parking”, for example, one of the prototype initiatives that help defines this project.
Even in cities, generally characterized by perennial shortages of parking, there is a veritable wealth of small and available spaces.
In this report, we feature two collaborators in the Small Space Parking scheme – a plan envisaged to transform such cramped and
largely neglected spaces around Tokyo into parking slots for the i-ROAD.
In this phase, we got right down to asking these supporters about why they decided to pitch in and help,
the nature of their interaction with the i-ROAD Test Drive Pilots, new perspectives and discoveries and other aspects of their experiences to date.
The exterior view of “SodaCCo,” a venue that, in addition to co-lab Daikanyama, also houses “event space” ideal for convening workshops and similar constructive gatherings, a child-friendly cafe and other tenants. The concept articulated for this space is: “A community building geared to cultivate encounters between the growth of children and creators.” Located outside the ground floor, meanwhile, to the left of a small grove of trees, is space reserved for i-ROAD parking and charging.
9-10 Daikanyama, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
TEL. 03-6452-5300 (co-lab Daikanyama Concierge)
“co-lab Daikanyama” is a shared office space venue newly opened in February of this year at a spot located midway between the Namikibashi district of Shibuya and Daikanyama Station.
“co-lab” operates a series of shared office locations in Shibuya, Nishi-Azabu, Sendagaya, Futako-Tamagawa and other districts of Tokyo. Among these, the concept advanced at the Daikanyama site may be summarized in terms of: “Shared office space to accommodate needs of creators devoted to the theme of creative education for children.”
co-lab Daikanyama Community Manager Chiaki Sato is herself the mother of two youngsters, and draws from that and other perspectives to serve as an advisor for the on-site tenant creators. Chiaki summarizes the office’s mission in this regard:
“The goal is for co-lab to reach beyond the domain of mere shared office space, rising to excel as a point for interfacing and interaction with the surrounding community. By bringing together the neighborhood and the creators who work there, change can be generated in the community as a whole. From that perspective, I feel confident that having the i-ROAD Test Drive Pilots drop by our office can serve as a catalyst for empowering such bonds to exude greater depth and latitude.”
Standing along Gaien-nishi Street, not far from the bustling Aoyama Sanchome Intersection, is an eye-catching red temple gate. Proceeding through that gate and down the connecting pathway leads to a short stretch now serving the dual role of an approach route to the temple and a parking area.
This is Kaizoji, a Zen Buddhist temple originally constructed during the Edo Period of Japanese history (early 17th to late 19th centuries).
In the words of Kaizoji Head Priest Kazuyuki Unno: “When I was consulted about furnishing parking space near the temple for use by the i-ROAD, I readily agreed. That was based on my hopes that such collaboration might be of some support for the project and the community. Later, when I came upon Test Drive Pilots taking a breather here, I served tea and sweets to help make them feel at home. From the view that these and all encounters comprise one form of karmic bonding and interaction, I look forward to more such casual drop-by visits from here on as well.”
The legacy of Kaizoji Temple dates back to 1671. Specifically, the construction of the Kaizo Hermitage by Zen master Tetsugen Doko as a temple for the Obaku Sect – one of the three schools of Zen Buddhism practiced in Japan.
Walking through the temple gate from the main boulevard leads down the approach to Kaizoji. This is a tranquil passage where the noise and clamor of the big city mysteriously vanish from the ears and eyes. Furnished near the ground level of four-story main temple building is space for i-ROAD parking and charging. In front of that area are a number of chairs and a small table, placed to allow Test Drive Pilots to rest and relax while their vehicles recharge.・Kaizoji Temple (Kaizoji)
2-12-29 Kira Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
The coverage for this feature was enlightening in numerous ways. First and foremost, the realization that here, at the heart of a metropolis where inadequate space is accepted as the everyday norm, new channels of communication are being forged between people choosing to supply small spaces for use in stopping and parking the i-ROAD, and the Test Drive Pilots of these innovative new vehicles themselves.
By lending such small spaces, as well as land sites that simply have not been put to effective use to date, merits are being generated not only for the i-ROAD Pilots, but for the landowners as well.
Add to this the reality that, through the sharing of the different senses of purpose and sensations gained through this initiative, communication will be fostered between people from different positions and walks of life, steadily expanding the circle of awareness and identification.
Viewed through the eyes of individual observers, such discoveries may be quite tiny insights.
With the sharing of such new discoveries and insights, clear signs of change in the thinking of people relevant to today’s cities are also anticipated to come increasingly into focus.
Test Drive Pilot Recruitment Continues
Supported in this way by the creative ideas and the insights of people from various walks of life, the i-ROAD Test Drive Pilots motor on, savoring the experiences and inspirations of their one-month long test drive period.
For your information, the recruiting of Test Drive Pilots will be continued through the summer of 2016, spanning eight separate phases in all.
During this period as well, Pilot applications may be made at the “Test Drive Pilot” website.
Combining the knowledge and impressions of Toyota as the manufacturer and consumers as the drivers, the mission is being sustained and enhanced to amass a new collective wisdom.
Please consider joining this exciting new project – an innovative endeavor sourced from the personal experiences of each individual participant.
TEXT BY Keita Fukasawa (contributor)
PHOTOGRAPHS BY Eiji Fukasaku
ISSUED ： 9 Nobember 2015