The buzz driver— Global


Kajima, one of Japan’s largest engineering firms, built the country’s first concrete dam and nuclear reactor. Now it’s at the forefront again, this time in the field of urban biodiversity. We meet the man who sees the future in the birds and the bees. Name: Yoriyuki Yamada Employer: Kajima Job: Head of biodiversity

Conservation, Urban biodiversity, Yoriyuki Yamada

Yoriyuki Yamada knows what it’s like to face a tough crowd. A decade ago, as a young landscape architect at Japanese construction giant Kajima, he tried to sell others on the idea of rooftop gardens. He told them how the greenery would act as a buffer against the summer heat, reducing energy costs, and would make our cities better places to live in. He talked about countering the heat-island effect, which is caused by buildings and streets in a city trapping heat, and had the data to back it up. “In the end, most companies opted for a low-cost…

Sustainable growth

Yoriyuki Yamada CV

1968: 14 November born in Chiba, Japan
1992: Graduates from Chiba University, joins Kajima
2002-04: Attends the University of Pennsylvania for a masters degree in landscape architecture
2008: Becomes head of the biodiversity committee at Kajima’s global environment office, receives Japan Society of Civil Engineers’ environmental award
2009: Launches Kajima’s honeybee project in Tokyo
2010: Unveils Kajima’s vision for a sustainable city, launches its Biodiversity Town website


Founded in 1840 by Iwakichi Kajima as a carpentry business, Kajima is one of the largest of Japan’s engineering and construction firms. The€14.5bn-revenue company, based in Tokyo, has more than 8,600 employees working at offices in 20 countries, and designs and builds office towers, bridges, dams, airports and nuclear reactors. In ENR magazine’s annual survey of the world’s 225 top contractors, Kajima ranked 24th in 2009. The company has a track record of firsts in Japan: it built the country’s first western-style building in 1860, first concrete dam in the 1920s and first nuclear reactor in the 1950s. Five years ago, Kajima became the first publicly listed Japanese company to draw up a biodiversity conservation plan. The company later launched a research programme to assess how local ecosystems in cities work.


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