Developing "smart" communities that merge various land designs is key to a sustainable future, experts said at an international seminar held in Fukushima, Japan.
Experts from Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, attended the event, which was held ahead of the anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake that hit the country on March 11 last year and claimed 19,000 lives.
The seminar provided a platform for global discussion on the reconstruction of the disaster-stricken areas, including Fukushima Prefecture, where the tsunami wiped out the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, knocking out crucial cooling systems and triggering a series of explosions and meltdowns.
Integration is the key to building a sustainable community, said Alamira Noor Bani Hashim, an urban planner with Masdar City.
"A smart community should display intelligent mixed land use," she said. "It should also integrate environment and geographical conditions of the location in its design.
"For example, at Masdar, simply shifting the orientation of the buildings to a southeast-northwest direction during construction allowed increase of wind flow at no cost, and in fact reduced the overall cooling requirements."
Local citizens and government officials also attended the seminar, which was hosted by Japan's ministries of foreign affairs, economy, trade, industry and environment.
Last year, Japan announced its plans to develop an advanced national energy strategy. As part of the approach, renewable energy will play a major role in the country's development of a diverse energy mix, with plans to increase the country's share of renewable energy to 20 per cent of the total electricity generated by 2020. Japan has also committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 25 per cent by 2020.
The country expects that its new energy policy will lower the cost of solar power generation to a third of its current level by 2020 and to a sixth by 2030.