PLANTALK vol. 1 ~ How The PLANTIO Project Will Change Shibuya ~ Shibuya Ward Head Ken Hasebe × PLANTIO CEO Takayoshi Serizawa Dialogue Interview Second Part

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First Part https://media.plantio.com/en/plantalk-v1/

A need for a community to tackle Shibuya’s trash problem 

Serizawa: Hasebe-san is working on many things. One such is the “Neighboring Sunday”. 


Hasebe-san started the “Shibuya Neighboring Sunday” in 2017. The aim of this project was to create a community and a strong tie amongst neighbors that are unfamiliar with each other. 

Hasebe: Community is very important. “Neighboring Sunday” was created from the “Neighbor Festival” held in Paris. I wanted to strengthen the community. The reason why is, through being the head of the ward, and touring the communities within each area, I found three similarities. 1) The want to increase new friends 2) The want to be involved with the younger generation (especially in this aging society) 3) The want to spread their own activities. However, like surgical operations, it’s hard to solve all the problems at once. We need to increase exchange opportunities, and to flourish advertising activities. We try not to solve problems that are too complex. 

Serizawa: I truly agree that community is very important. It’s something Japanese cities are lacking. 

“If neighbors learn to get along and know each other, problems surrounding the lonely elderly, and parenting, can be solved within the community” says Hasebe-san. “I want to bring-back the notion of “neighbors” that was prominent in Japan before” says Serizawa. 

Hasebe: The reason the “neighbor festival” started in Paris was due to old people dying alone. A young boy started this party because he felt hurt with the reality of the situation.. what if that person was someone he knew… From there, neighbors started greeting each other and talking to each other. There are many things that can be solved through the area community, that cannot be solved through the administration. But it is the vital community that is essential, and the lack of this vital community is a problem. 

Serizawa: Shibuya is a city where young people gather, yet it is aging, and is definitely connected to loneliness. 

Hasebe: Sadly, that is true. To solve that problem, there’s a need to strengthen the current community and create a new one. There are many individuals in their 30s~40s moving to Shibuya, but there are also many that are moving out. There are those that want to live in Shibuya, but don’t see it fit for raising children. But if there are people that want to live in Shibuya, that means there are also people that want to take part in the ward activities. There are also elderlies that are third generation, and their grandparents are from the outer regions. It’s hard to be exclusive. 

The PLANTIO project gives an opportunity for these people to be involved. I see a great potential. The community that grows out of vegetable growing, will solve core problems within the town. If we spend enough time and effort on this project, it will blossom. 

“I want old and new residents of Shibuya to get along and create a community. Ebisu succeeded in doing that, and became the #3 best town in Tokyo. In that sense, change is important, and PLANTIO will possibly be that catalyst”. 

Serizawa: It’s not a symptomatic treatment but a radical treatment. 

Like in New York, where the concept of urban farming and farms to table has taken roots, I want to start thinking of changing Shibuya, starting from its culture. I grew up in a home that started a gardening business in Shibuya. Being the 3rd generation, and having grownup in Shibuya, I love the town and don’t feel like I will leave any time soon. Therefore, I want to create a new culture in Shibuya. I want to spread the collaboration between ugly activity spots, and restaurant communities. This initiative is also called PLANTIO SPOT. 

Hasebe: I support you with full force. 

Serizawa: I want to bring back the lifestyle where people share and live amongst each other. I think it’s my destiny to create such a system in Shibuya. 

Hasebe: The ward is also aiming for a “Sharing City Shibuya”. By having everyone sharing the resources that this town offers, it creates several synergies. For the PLANTIO project to be implemented in Shibuya, means that the town will become better.

※Interview:13th March,2018