Umekita Park (tentative name)
Overall Plan of the Park Site
With “‘MIDORI (green)’ serving as inspiration and driving force for the future” as a design concept, the south park is being designed as an open urban park and the north park as a more naturalistic urban oasis with lush planting, each facing and creating stronger ties with the surrounding areas (in the JR Osaka Station direction and the Shin Umeda City direction). The design of the undulating landforms across the north and south parks, the highest at approximately 3 meters, combine to form three key spaces—Reflection Lawn, Umekita Grove, and Step Plaza. Creating open spaces and perspectives with depth and three-dimensionality enhances the value of the experience for park visitors.
Images of the South Park
Reflection Lawn, featuring premium natural grass and a water feature. Events of a 10,000-person capacity can be held through the integrated use with the large-canopy event space.
Terraced hills where people can relax in the shade of the trees. Visitors can partake in a diverse range of activities in the south park.
Entry Garden, a garden space where people can spend time surrounded by flowering plants that vary season by season.
Images of the North Park
Umekita Grove, a rest and relaxation space featuring lush planting and dynamic water features (a pond and waterfall). Cherry blossoms can be enjoyed in the spring on the hilltop.
A water feature designed for a variety of experiences is situated at the southwest entrance to the north park.
A stone wall and waterfall that exhibit the quality craftsmanship of Japan. In fall, visitors are immersed in the colors of seasonal foliage.
The planting design aims to evoke the beauty of Japan’s seasons throughout the year with beautifully colored fall foliage, such as maple and katsura, and spring flowers such as Japanese iris and azalea, and of course cherry blossoms, offering a new cherry blossom viewing spot in Osaka.
The planting incorporates vegetation native to satoyama (managed zones bordering foothills adjacent to human settlements) growing on the Uemachi Plateau, where the history of Osaka originated, and the hills in the Osaka area. As well as expressing the local Osakan landscape identity, the planting design will exhibit the essence of “Umekita” by introducing symbolic “moist ground” waterside planting, which hearkens back to the history of Osaka as a water city and reflects its connections with the Yodo River and Nakano Island, which are the roots of the history of the project site.
- Function of creating bustle
Creating a bustling vibe through event spaces that achieve a high level of activity for Osaka, which will attract a diverse range of local visitors, as well as tourists from around the world.
- Function of innovation
Contributing to the creation of life design innovation* by making use of the interactions between a diverse range of citizens and users who gather at the park due to the location of the terminal.
*Creation of products and services for people to live healthy and affluent lives, including, but not limited to, wellness, lifestyle and edutainment.
- Function of cafes and restaurants
Cafes and restaurants support pleasant park use as rest, relaxation, and gathering spaces for visitors.
Buildings and other structures will mainly be developed possessing these three functions. Establishing the park facilities will enhance the park’s convenience and its bustling vibe, thereby raising the appeal of ‘MIDORI (Green)’ overall, and it will draw an array of people from Japan and abroad. It will also offer new experiences and learning opportunities for park visitors, and create innovation through experimental demonstrations.
The facility layout is being designed to enable enjoyment of the expanse of the park and its linked activities with each of the park facilities with the above three functions arranged around the edge of the large green space reserved at the center of the north and south parks.
- Large-Canopy Event Space
A covered event space connecting directly with the new station. Capable of holding a diverse range of events.
- Information Center
A general information center for the park and town in a location that serves as a gateway to the town Space available for versatile usage that can function to market the delivery of advanced, highly discerning lifestyles, and where a diverse range of programs targeting park users and companies can be held.
- café & Restaurant Building
Eating and drinking facilities where people can rest and relax while enjoying Reflection Lawn’s high-quality grassy open space and events.
Next Innovation Museum
A museum housing a large exhibition room boasting a ceiling height of 15 meters offering contact with “tangibles” contributing to life design innovation, such as new products, technologies, services and art, and various “intangibles,” such as events and programs.
For exhibitors (companies, developers, researchers, artists, etc.), too, it serves as a point of contact with citizens and users that they can apply to their innovation activities.
Also attached to eating/drinking and retail functions for use by park users and facility visitors.
- Sports Cube
- A facility integrated with an outdoor terrace offering exercise and health exhibitions, events, programs and other experiences.
- Party Restaurant
- An eating and drinking facility that can be enjoyed for all purposes, from daily use to special occasions, in a space surrounded by lush greenery and lighting.
- Everyone’s Cube
- A space available for versatile use, including various corporate activities, and also attached to eating/drinking facilities and freely usable spaces where citizens can rest, relax and gather, serving as a base for community activities.
Designer & Comment
- GGN (Landscape design and Design lead)
GGN is a landscape architecture company founded in Seattle in 1999. It has designed a number of representative works, including Lurie Garden (2004) in Chicago’s Millennium Park, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (2016) in Washington, DC. This landscape architecture group has received global recognition, having received the National Design Award in 2011 and an award from ASLA, an authority in landscape architecture, in 2017.
“This park is GGN’s first project in Japan,” explains Makie Suzuki. The memories possessed by this land, the stone walls of Osaka Castle and other examples of Japanese craftsmanship, Osaka’s culture of having built many bridges, and the inspirations coming from being a water city are incorporated into the design. The importance of public space in the city center and connections to the region were also kept in mind. Efforts have been dedicated to the planting design with scenery distinct to the four seasons, with woody plants and flowering plants that are indigenous to Osaka and those that give a sense of Japan. It is our hope that this park will become a new attraction in Osaka and loved by its citizens.”
- SANAA (Large-Canopy Facility: Schematic design, Design development, and Supervision)
Established in 1995 by two architects, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Louvre-Lens (France) and New Museum (U.S.) are among its many architectural works. Winner of numerous awards, including the Golden Lion at the International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia in 2004 and the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2010.
“The large canopy of approximately 120 meters in length from north to south will be gently undulating to be in concert with the landscape of the urban park. Arranging the semi-outdoor Large-Canopy Event Space, Information Center and Cafe & Restaurant Building each under the one roof connects the inside and outside naturally to become a place that is open to the park and region.”
- Tadao Ando (Next Innovation Museum: Design supervision)
Architect born in Osaka in 1941. After traveling around the world, he self-educated in architecture. Major works include the Pavilion of Japan at the Universal Exhibition of Seville (Expo 1992 Seville) and the Osaka Prefectural Chikatsu Asuka Museum.
Winner of numerous awards, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1995, the International Union of Architects (UIA) Gold Medal in 2005 and the Japanese Order of Culture in 2010.
“The Umekita 2nd Project is an urban development project unlike none other in Japan being in a strategic location for transportation linking Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. I see the creation of a giant green park in this location where various logistics and information concentrate as an extremely significant project also in terms of thinking about the ideal form of cities of the future.
Next Innovation Museum is being designed to be a green box by embedding much of the functions underground and greening the walls of the portion above ground so as to have an exterior that blends in with the surrounding park landscape. I expect this to become a place where people visiting can ponder about the future in a lush green environment.”
and Area Management
As an initiative for sustainable urban environmental management, JV9 plans to establish a corporate organization for operating the park and managing the area in an integrated manner under the Osaka City-designated administrator system. Plans include maintenance and management of the highest quality, high-quality landscapes, and the provision of town information suitable for the vicinity of Osaka Station. The aim is to create the project concept of “Osaka MIDORI LIFE,” and to enhance the value of the entire Umekita area, including Grand Front Osaka.
In addition, as pioneering initiatives for urban public spaces, there are plans to incorporate and support experimental demonstrations for new products and services for innovative creation by various companies and research institutes. There are also plans to carry out “placemaking*” for everyday venues, which will contribute to the well-being of citizens, workers, and town visitors, and plans to attract and host events which will offer extraordinary experiences.
Going forward, plans will be put into practice in collaboration with a broad range of attractive service providers and content planners to bring these initiatives to life. Also, as part of the efforts to build an ecosystem supporting sustainable management, there will be an investigation regarding introducing endeavors such as co-sponsorship programs that target companies who are aligned with the project’s plan concept and the park’s sustainability values and measures.
*Creating spaces that have a bustling and comfortable vibe based on multifaceted considerations encompassing design, as well as methods of use and utilization.
- Rental and Provision Services (illustrative examples)
Provision of rental furniture, portable batteries, and other equipment to support comfortable use and full active usage of the park and flexible workstyles outdoors.
- Participatory Programs (illustrative examples)
Attracting and hosting a diverse range of programs to enrich everyday life in the city center where people can participate after work on weekdays, or enjoy shopping with family on days off.
- Extraordinary Events (illustrative examples)
Attracting and hosting events offering special memorable experiences that make use of the park’s diverse range of spaces and seasonal charms.
- Experimental Demonstrations (illustrative examples)
Provision of venues for citizens and users to experience the advanced products and services of companies, universities, and other such institutions.
Sustainability / Efforts towards SDGs
The project has been selected for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s fiscal 2021 program of leading projects for sustainable buildings and structures (leading CO2 reduction projects), and is proactively working to contribute to SDGs through the means listed below. Other means include introducing geothermal heat utilization, wastewater heat utilization, solar power generation, and other cutting-edge environmental technologies and infrastructure for circulation of resources.
- Contributing to Circulation of Water Resources
- The shade from vegetation and evapotranspiration from the plantings and water features will contribute to the microclimatic effects to create and control a cooler spot in the city center.
- Green infrastructure technologies such as bioswales*1, infiltration trenches,*2 and crushed stone reservoirs*3 will be utilized to facilitate underground infiltration of rainwater, thereby controlling runoff out of the area and contributing to controlling inundation by rainfall*4.
- Recycling rainwater by using the planting base with its irrigation and storage functions will help to reduce water supply usage.
- Considering Biodiversity
- The birds and insects shown below have been determined as target species for the park based on an ecological survey of the Yodo River and Osaka Castle Park. The environment is being designed to consider habitat benefits of these species (control lighting levels, provide diverse and sequenced swaths of plantings from waterside to woods, etc.), aiming to contribute to the ecosystem network surrounding the Osaka city center.
Upon the request of the Osaka City Government, the park is also being developed as an urban park that functions as a safety evacuation area under the Disaster Prevention Park Block Improvement Project by UR. It is being planned in a way that it can host temporary evacuees in the event of an earthquake, fire, or other such large-scale disaster.
In addition to configuring entrances and setting their width considering ease of access for evacuees and emergency vehicles, there will also be emergency lighting, emergency radio speakers, emergency toilets (emergency manhole toilets), supply storage, and other disaster prevention facilities installed.
The initiatives of the project will contribute to twelve of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).
Furthermore, various types of environmental certification system, such as LEED-ND, ZEB, are planned to be obtained for the project, including the park.
- *1：Landscaped depressions designed to collect and infiltrate rainwater during times of rainfall.
- *2：Drainage facilities that are excavated trenches filled with crushed stone and lined with perforated pipes designed to evenly distribute the infiltrated water.
- *3：Drainage facilities that direct rainwater into void storage and infiltration tanks of crushed stone, etc., and infiltrate the water into the ground from the sides and bottom.
- *4：Urban flooding caused by insufficient drainage of rainwater into rivers and other channels in urban areas.