UTM Landscape Architecture Students Joined Sakura Science Program 2022 at Tokyo City University, Japan

On 9th December 2022, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) organized Sakura Science Exchange Program 2022 (SSP 2022) which aimed to encourage global outreach programmes and outbound mobility networking opportunities between Japan and other countries. Previously, the international collaborative workshop was conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fortunately, this time, 10 undergraduate Landscape Architecture students participated in the Tokyo City University (TCU) workshop in Tokyo, Japan. The workshop’s theme for this year was “Sharing the Urban Development Experience and Ideas Among Vietnam, Malaysia and Japan: Future-Oriented Metropolitan Area Design and Management”. The 4th international workshop was organized in collaboration between the Landscape Architecture Program, the Faculty of Built Environment & Surveying with the Faculty of Urban Life Studies, and the Memorandum of Understanding of both partner universities.

Figure 1:Professor Dr. Okiura Fumihiko (TCU) delivered opening remarks and introduced instructors and participants

A virtual opening ceremony via Zoom was conducted on 27th November 2022, a week before the physical workshop in Tokyo. Each representative showed a brief introduction to the respective university backgrounds and education from Tokyo City University (TCU), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), University of Architecture Ho Chi Minh City (UAH) and HCMC University of Technology (HCMT).

Prof. Dr. Okiura Fumihiko from TCU led the opening ceremony, with the workshop requirement delivered by Dr. Lee Yoke Lai (UTM). All four university delegates had been divided into six groups consisting of six to seven members. Subsequently, students spent time for self-introduction among group members and getting to know each other in the breakout rooms before departing to Tokyo.

Figure 2: First workshop meeting via Zoom

After a 6-hour flight, UTM students, under the guidance of Dr. Lee Yoke Lai, landed at Narita International Airport on the morning of 3rd December. TCU’s representative welcomed and guide them to their accommodation at Mizonokuchi.

Figure 3: (Day 1) TCU’s representative briefing UTM delegates before departing to Mizonokuchi
Figure 4 (Day 2): On the 4th November, UTM Delegates mark their first day of the program before departing to TCU Setagaya campus

The next morning, UTM delegates depart to TCU Setagaya campus for the first day of the program. The session began with the introduction of participants, including students and lecturers. After the introduction, Dr. Kei Saito from TCU delivered an input lecture on the background information of Futako-Tamagawa development, which the students later departed to conduct a case study on Transit-oriented development (TOD).

Figure 5 (Day 2): UTM delegate Muhammad Fahmi Izzudin gives a self-introduction

On the 2nd day of the program, input lectures resumed as instructors from TCU (Prof. Dr. Kazuhide Kawaguchi), UAH (Dr. Tran Mai Anh) and UTM (Dr. Lee Yoke Lai) presented about issues on urban development in their respective countries. The lectures encouraged knowledge transfer and peered learning among participants.

During the afternoon session, students conducted fieldwork and site inventory in the Futako-Tamagawa Township. Consequently, workshop participants develop proposals to overcome the urbanization issues such as the increase in the ageing society, flood mitigation and lack of greeneries.

Figure 6 (Day 3): Dr. Lee Yoke Lai (UTM) delivers a presentation on ‘Trends, characteristics and challenges of urban development in Malaysia’
Figure 7 (Day 3): Participants engage in group discussion and brainstorming to develop a synthesis idea for the group’s proposal

On 6th December 2023, another invited expert input lecture from TCU, Emeritus Prof. Yamane provided in-depth information about mixed-use development and the protection of the image of Shibuya function as a melting pot as a transit point and also a shopping district for the youngsters.

The input lecture gave an insight into urban development to design a space-making by integrating TOD (Shibuya station), infrastructure, conserving interactive local culture,  and social values. Later that afternoon, all participants visited Shibuya Scramble Tower and squared to view the busiest district urban fabrics, skyscrapers and important landmarks.

Figure 8 (Day 4): Emeritus Prof. Yamane (TCU) giving input lecture on Mixed-use Developments of Shibuya district
Figure 9 (Day 4): UTM delegate Afiqah Nurnabila Md Yani asking questions after the input lecture

UTM delegates visited Kamakura City Hall on the fifth day of the International workshop. The participants attended a briefing from Municipal Council on Kamakura city planning and urban design. The field visit was supported by heritage walks fully guided by Professor Dr. Kazuhide Kawaguchi and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kei Saito (TCU).

UTM participants visited heritage Komachi Street, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Dankazura Shrine and Kotokuin Temple. Through this visit, UTM participants could comprehend the vision of Kamakura’s city planning aligned with preserving the historical landscape (historic asset protection and historic scenic view safeguarding. Moreover, Kamakura City planning became a co-existence of old and new development by protecting the natural landscape and cultural heritage.

Figure 10 (Day 5): UTM delegates attending a briefing on ‘City of Kamakura’ by Kamakura City Hall
Figure 11 (Day 5): Program participants in Kotokuin Temple

On day 6 of the program, participants come together and make final preparations to present their progress to the instructors. In the morning session, Professor Dr. Chitoshi Miki, President of Tokyo City University, congratulated the delegates for the successful workshop and presented certificates of completion for the participants. After the group presentations, the participants wished each other good luck and exchanged mementoes during their farewell party.

Figure 12 (Day 6): UTM delegate Wong Sih Minh presents the group proposal to the instructors
Figure 13 (Day 6): Dr. Chitoshi Miki presents a Certificate of Completion to UTM delegate Lam Phooi Cheng
Figure 14 (Day) 6: Dr. Lee Yoke Lai presenting a token of appreciation on behalf of the Faculty of Built Environment and Surveying (FABU), UTM, to Tokyo City University (TCU) President, Dr. Chitoshi Miki
Figure 15 (Day 6): Group photo of all participants of SAKURA Science Exchange Program 2022

Finally, on 17thDecember, all participants met each other again online and presented their final proposals via Zoom. The instructors gave positive feedback and response to the participants’ work. This was officially the last session of the program.

Figure 16 : Final Presentation Day: Group photo with all participants on Zoom

Overall, the representatives from UTM have benefited from the workshop and broadened their knowledge about urban development issues. Besides that, they had the opportunity to create networking with students and lecturers from Vietnam and Japan, which can help them strengthen their roles as global citizens.

Prepared by: Dr. Lee Yoke Lai & Ms. Aireen Shaheera binti Mohamad Zaidi