We are hosting a seminar in order to invite the top creators and producers of each field, up and coming researchers, etc. – and ask them about the latest developments in their respective fields. This time, we invited the urban planning specialist Daichi Matsumoto, with the lecture “The future of Japan’s entertainment spaces”. This article is a brief summary of the contents of Mr. Matsumoto’s speech.
Mr. Matsumoto is currently the president of the Research Institute for Commercial Creation Inc., conducting projects from urban development to the production of large-scale commercial facilities; he is also active as a writer of works rooted in Western marketing surveys and research, and he has been working as a committee member in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in consecutive positions.
■Lifestyle consumption and social consumption
After the Lehman shock of 2008 December, the “spending shift” in the lifestyle of consumers has been progressing rapidly. In the hearts of the liberal cities of the US, such as Portland and Brooklyn, a secondary movement demanding better quality of life has started, and each and every person cultivates his or her own style. The movement of creating a new, previously non-existent society, instead of being caught up in trends, is accelerating.
The new consumption behavior of these people (lifestyle consumption) is turning towards shops and products which support a complete lifestyle that elevates their quality of life.
In addition to lifestyle consumption, these young people are sensitized to the kind of consumption that serves society, or consumption behavior stemming from community consciousness (social consumption). Demanding inner satisfaction and the value of experiences over owning things, they are searching for opportunities to mingle with other people who share their value system. Without being able to sympathize with the millennial generation’s aforementioned value system, I think it will be hard to develop the business of the future.
■Creating places where people gather
The key phrase of business development in this era of maturity is “Creating places where people gather”.
This is considered to be achievable by creating “Relax & Communication” places. To mention concrete facilities, concepts such as Hirakata City’s T-SITE (“A regional community with a sense occasion”), TSUTAYA BOOK GARAGE in Shime, Fukuoka Prefecture (“A community based around the ‘sense of neighborhood’”), or Hakodate’s Tsutaya Bookstore (“Communities ? connected to people”) can be referenced.
I would like to continue to pay attention to Culture Convenience Club Co.,Ltd., after it declared its intention to create cultural infrastructure, while calling itself “the world’s top planning company”.
When considering the creation of Relax & Communication places, the company called BALNIBARBI is heavily referenced. Again and again, this company changes whole streets by just building one cafe. Further, being able to succeed in creating Relax & Communication places for people to gather even when opening up shop in bad locations, it is expanding rapidly. By building in bad locations, it is able to reduce its rent, and also to create its own world for increased freedom. Deserted stations, parks, riversides, town halls, universities ? through utilizing spaces highly accessible by the public and connecting people and society, it became a company that shoulders the improvement of the region’s quality of life.
In Portland, a city on the cutting edge of creating Relax & Communication spaces, the experience of getting together is starting to change. For example, it has been impressive how sports facilities close by have been turned into places for the new entertainment concept, Gathering. A Meeting is when we come together to decide something, and a Party is when we meet to be social; a Gathering is a cozy social get-together. In a concrete sense, there are places such as a bowling alley with relaxing chairs where wine or food are provided for the customers’ enjoyment, and a table tennis lounge next to a cafe.
■Tokyo after 2020
In Japan’s cities, the number of people during the night is extremely low, since everybody ends up returning to the suburbs once the night sets in. Improving this nightlife is a great business opportunity in the Japanese cities.
The key is how get-togethers can be created. In Japan there are no activities at night, with the exception of snack bars and cabarets hidden underground, but I think there is a need for places different from that, with entertainment focusing on themes such as food, which can be enjoyed by men and women of all ages.
■CSV（Creating Shared Value）
I think that the important thing turns out to be not CSR (corporate social responsibility), but CSV.
CSV stands for “creating shared value”; however it indicates not only the economic value and profits pursued by corporations, but also value for society at the same time. I think that it is good when in order to be profitable, instead of doing CSR activities, businesses adapt a way of making profits that considers society from the very beginning. In my opinion, when regional business leaders tackle CSV, this will be connected to creating new markets and additional value for products and services.
Before, they were saying abstract things like “to create places is to create people“, however now I think it is important for business leaders to have clear goals.
If the region improves, so does their business as well, and the same goes for the citizens and the government.
While resolving social issues, I think that it will be crucial to remember two key phrases, and to stand on two legs by conducting “a new way of business development to lead the era” and “creating get-togethers”.
■Participation in the seminar
This time, we considered what thoughts go into the planning of facilities and streets we habitually visit without thinking about them, and what possibilities they hide.
The point of view, that it is important to contribute to the region and offer things befitting the new lifestyle and value system of the people without simply aiming for “new things” or “revolutionary things”, seems obvious if we think about it, yet it is often forgotten. I think that if instead of thinking about urban planning only in abstract and obscure terms we first conduct marketing efforts to grasp the needs of the people, then according to those needs resolve any issues in a kind and considerate manner, while also thinking about how this ties into profits, then not only will the individual people’s lives become more satisfying, but society as a whole will flourish as well.
・Ms. Yasue Mitsukura（Brain scientist）
・Yasushi Fukuda (Screenwriter)