From automated vehicles to automatic translation devices, the Tokyo 2020 Games will showcase some of the world’s most futuristic technologies and modern sustainability efforts. Tokyo-based photographer Cody Ellingham is capturing the transformation of a city creating a legacy reaching far into the future.
He photographed some of the historic Olympic buildings such as the Yoyogi National Stadium, the Komazawa Olympic Park General Sports Ground and the Nippon Budokan.
“I was exploring the Golden Age of Tokyo," he explained. "And [the buildings] represented that modern dream of the new Japan.”
Since then, Tokyo has continued its metamorphosis — and the Tokyo 2020 Games are expected to be the most innovative and sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games yet.
The technological innovations that will be showcased at the Tokyo 2020 Games include battery electric vehicles which are expected to feature automated driving. These have been developed specifically to transport staff and athletes within the Olympic and Paralympic Village. The goal is to have the lowest emissions of any official Olympic and Paralympic Games fleet.
And in other Olympic and Paralympic firsts, the Tokyo 2020 Games will be brought to space, thanks to a small satellite packed with cutting-edge technology that will orbit the earth, broadcasting images of the planet. The passengers will be two beloved Japanese anime figures modified to withstand the harsh space environment. Their mission will be to cheer the Tokyo 2020 Games and send messages to Earth through an electric bulletin board.
Tokyo is hoping the Tokyo 2020 Games will create a hydrogen-boost for its society by positioning the environmentally-friendly fuel as a new energy option and by making efforts in offsetting CO2 emissions. Nearly 100% of all Tokyo’s metropolitan facilities will aim to use sustainable LED lights to reduce energy consumption.
Athletes’ medals are made from precious metals extracted from used phones and other electronic devices. The main facility in the Athletes' Village — the Village Plaza — is built using sustainably-sourced Japanese timber donated by local authorities around the country. After the Tokyo 2020 Games, the Village Plaza will be dismantled and returned to the community to be reused for facilities such as benches or school buildings.
The Athletes' Village itself will also continue to be of use after the Tokyo 2020 Games as an eco-friendly residential district.
“Tokyo is looking to build long-term structures,” Ellingham said about the Tokyo 2020 Games architecture. “And looking at how the 1964 buildings are still there today, I would like to imagine the buildings built this time around will last just as long, if not longer.”
As part of the city’s 2020 legacy, Tokyo’s vision is to develop certain districts into new hubs for culture and art. In order to tackle the increasing heat of the summer seasons, there will be new 'cool areas' located around competition venues. And with so many sustainable innovations featured at the Tokyo 2020 Games, lowering Japan’s CO2 emissions will be on the agenda not only for the country, but also for its people.
Those who revived the Games for the modern era believed sport can be a game-changer, with the power to improve the state of the world. The vision of the Tokyo 2020 Games boils down to three core concepts: Achieving Personal Best, Unity in Diversity, and Connecting to Tomorrow. The Tokyo 2020 Games will be Tokyo’s game changer, marking the beginning of a new tomorrow.