Fly the flag to set sail
With the aim of bringing together competitors, team officials and other personnel in one place, the Bye-law to Rule 38 of the Olympic Charter prescribes that the Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (OCOG) shall provide an Olympic Village for a period determined by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board.
For the Tōkyō 1964 Games, it was Washington Heights, a United States Armed Forces housing complex located in Shibuya-ku next to Tange Kenzō’s famous Yoyogi National Gymnasium and annex that was chosen to house the Olympic athletes. Built in 1946, the complex accommodated families of the American military forces until 1964, by when all land had been returned to the Japanese government who also covered the full amount of relocation expenses for moving the former residents to Chōfu. The village counted 250 wooden country houses and 14 4-storey apartment buildings. With the exception of the Dutch Olympic team house, all houses of Washington Heights were demolished shortly after the Games, and a large park (Yoyogi Park) was created instead.
In April 2016, the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government (TMG) started to work on a Type 1 Urban Redevelopment Project in the uninvested West Harumi 5-Chōme District in Chuō-ku.
After serving as the Olympic and Paralympic Village for the 2020 Games, HARUMI FLAG, developed on a 44ha plot with a built area of approximately 18ha, is meant to become a new residential zone. The site is owned by the TMG though constructed by a group of private developers including Mitsui Fudosan Residential Co., Ltd., MITSUBISHI JISHO RESIDENCE CO., LTD., Nomura Real Estate Development Co., Ltd., Sumitomo Realty & Development Co., Ltd., SUMITOMO CORPORATION, Tokyu Land Corporation, Tokyo Tatemono Co., Ltd., NTT Urban Development Corporation, NIPPON STEEL KOWA REAL ESTATE CO., LTD., DAIWA HOUSE INDUSTRY CO., LTD. & Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co., Ltd.
The Athletes Village will provide 18,000 beds during the Olympics and 8,000 beds during the Paralympics. Since the residences are built by the private sector, the Tōkyō Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG) will pay a rent during the reception of the competitors.
In line with plans developed by the TMG, two 50-storey towers (of about 180m height) will be added to the condominium after 2020. By 2024, HARUMI FLAG should count 21 residential 14-18 floors block-type buildings and two residential 50-storey towers proposing all together 5,632 units. 4,145 thereof shall be for sale (with prices starting from about 54 million yen, USD 500,000) and 1,487, including senior housing and shared housing, for rent. Furthermore, there will be one commercial building, nursing homes, day-care centres, schools and parks. The green area facing the sea should serve for various activities and help to encourage exchange in-between the about 12,000 new residents. HARUMI FLAG is divided into SUN VILLAGE, PARK VILLAGE, PORT VILLAGE and SEA VILLAGE and will include a central plaza, a public space with a diameter of about 100 metres created through a public-private partnership. There will be accessible, barrier-free routes on the site and the common hallways in the residential buildings will be approximatively 1.5 metres wide, which is more than typical Japanese condominium standards.
For the purpose of creating an environmentally advanced city and leave a long-term legacy, hydrogen will be used as an energy source to generate electricity and as fuel for buses and cars. Water supply, sewerage and gas, but also electric wires (often placed above ground in Japan) are buried underground. Furthermore, heat-insulting pavement are used for roads as a measure against summer heat.
One of the main issues in attracting people to this area is the difficulty of access by public transportation. The new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) that should be opened before the Games is seen as a solution to connect HARUMI FLAG with downtown districts such as Shimbashi Station and Toranomon. The BRT operation will gradually be expanded according to the status of maintenance of Ring Road 2 and the Olympic Village area. The installation of new routes and bus stops are in consideration in accordance with the area’s development and demand. Community cycles will be available at major BRT stops in order to develop transit facilities for local traffic.
Within these few years, the village could fly the flag, and shall soon be ready to set sail for the Olympic journey.