Tyler Engel

Sapporo Quick Facts

  • Sapporo boasts a population of about 1.9 million

  • Sapporo is sparsely populated. It is located in Haikkido prefect which has 20% of the national land, but only 4% of the national population.

  • Due to being one of Japan’s more rural cities the population is “greying” (getting older) as young people emigrate to cities. Sapporo’s population drops by 0.35% every year.

  • Sapporo has warm rainy summers (average high of 77F) and cold freezing winters (average low of -1F).

  • 60% of Sapporo is covered in green spaces (or snow for 130 days a year).

  • Sapporos total size is 696 s/miles with 352 s/m devoted to city planning, 155 s/m devoted to urban promotion, and 196 s/m devoted to urban control.


Sapporo was first founded in 1868. It is built in a flat, extremely fertile part of Hokkaido that was retained as agricultural land for many centuries due to its difficulty to defend. In 1880 the city commissioners started consciously designing and maintaining green spaces into the city plan. Since Sapporo has harsh winters it was imperative they leave enough room in the city to move snow to in the colder months. Sapporo is laid out in a grid fashion with Odori park intersecting the middle. Odori park, Sapporo’s most prominent green space, was originally built in the 1870’s as a firebreak. Throughout the early 1900’s it was used as potato farm and a landfill for snow and trash. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that Sapporo decided to remove the landfill and return it to a green space, which now boasts more 188 hectares of green space. In the late 1970’s Sapporo introduced the idea of the “green belt” or a continuous line of vegetation that surrounds the city. Without the use of statutes or enforcement Sapporo has been able to motivate its citizens and businesses to adapt as many green spaces as possible into the city. Sapporo’s Hokkaido University has intentionally aggressively vegetated its campus in order to obscure views of the rest of the city. Sapporo also is home to Maruyama park, a Shinto shrine that boasts 6 hectares of completely virgin forests meticulously maintained by monks for centuries.


Public Use

During the allied occupation of Japan post WWII western forces occupied and controlled most public utilities, food shortages became increasingly common and small-scale farming became a way of life for the residents of Sapporo. This cultural attraction to small scale farming has remained, making Sapporo completely food positive, with a sufficiency rate of 208%. According to a public opinion survey (the government conducts these yearly) 90% of residents are committed to lowering their electricity consumption and carbon footprint. Sapporo boasts 3650 hectares of green space per 100,000 people.
Sapporo’s flat grid like layout make planning easy.
The city also boasts a public bike rental system and a rubber tired eco subway that reduces carbon emissions and noise pollution.
The city also boasts a public bike rental system and a rubber tired eco subway that reduces carbon emissions and noise pollution.



Sapporo has an incredibly efficient waste management system. 86% of waste is incinerated and used to create electricity.  The remainder is sent to landfills. This is accomplished by a sophisticated recycling program. Waste removal is free in Sapporo. All recycled material will be collected from bins free of charge, however each citizen is only given two trashbags per month that the city will send to the landfill, beyond those two trash bags the citizen is responsible for paying any needed fees to dispose of trash that cannot be recycled.

Permeable pavement, green roofs, green spaces, and rain barrels are all used to keep strain off of Sapporo’s stormwater runoff system.


Govt uses public opinion survey every fiscal year to gauge the general public consensus on various public programs. While leaving green designing up to the citizens and businesses themselves the government is committed to the tenets of the Japan Climate Initiative for all publicly funded projects. The government plays a huge role in keeping the general public educated and has many museums and programs around the city to help the public understand why it is important to conserve.


Business Engagemnet

Many businesses around Sapporo feel the pressure to remain as green as possible so as not to offend the citizens. The Sapporo sky garden opened in 2011 as a model green roof for other businesses and a way of integrating green spaces into commercial spaces. Many businesses use snow as their primary from of air conditioning to keep their footprint down. Sapporo dome, the cities primary sports arena, has an interchangeable field, that allows multiple sports to be played in the same space on different days of the week. Sapporo dome is combination baseball and soccer arena, the field converts from soccer to baseball with the use of and artificial turf to save space.  Electricity and tech companies of Sapporo are committed to getting to 100% renewable energy by 2030.


Saporro's “Sustainable Development Goals” and its 17 goals and 169 targets were declared at the September 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, as an action plan to overcome poverty, conserve the earth and bring peace and prosperity to all people. The SDGs requests that the world works towards attaining goals, meaning social responsibility of corporations is more important than ever.In June 2008, Hokkaido University hosted the worlds' first G8 University Summit. Representatives from 35 universities around the world came together, and vowed universities will be a driving force for attaining sustainability and adopted the Sapporo Sustainability Declaration (SSD), in which the participants confirmed that we: 1. Solve problems through research, in order to bequeath a sustainable world to future generations;2. Educate future generations, by disseminating information about sustainability and training leaders; 3. Serve as a role model toward a sustainable society by applying sustainability-relevant knowledge in a social context, such as the development of a sustainable campus.



Devaughn, M. (n.d.). Sapporo: Famous for its snow, but a delight in green. Retrieved March 29, 2020,from

"Sapporo Dome". Retrieved 13 November 2011.

GDS-Index. (n.d.). Global Destination Sustainability Index: Sapporo, Japan. Retrieved March 29, 2020, from

More than 90% of Sapporo Citizens Taking Action to Save Energy|JFS Japan for Sustainability. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2020, from

(n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2020, from

Major companies call for ambitious 2030 renewable electricity targets in Japan. (2019, June 17). Retrieved March 29, 2020, from

Sapporo Sewerage Science Museum. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2020, from

P 513-556-4943
F 513-556-1274

SOP website





University of Cincinnati

School of Planning

5470 Aronoff
University of Cincinnati
PO Box 210016
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0016