If you’ve ever wondered why Ripley Town Centre’s retail mall is called Satoyama Way, it’s been named after the Japanese principle of Satoyama. At its core, Satoyama is about the harmonious interaction between natural and man-made environments, connecting people through ‘ribbons of green’.
Central to Sekisui House’s design principals is its commitment to forging a strong relationship between humanity and nature, which can be seen throughout aspects of the planning and design of its communities, including Ripley Town Centre.
Satoyama — derived from the Japanese words for village (‘sato’) and mountain (‘yama’) — is a term used in Japanese culture to describe the area between a village and mountain where there is an interface between nature and people. In Satoyama, there are fields to grow rice and vegetables, natural playgrounds to explore and forests that provide firewood and timber. Natural ecosystems are maintained, and creeks are used to irrigate fields surrounding the village. Over time, the Satoyama area is carefully managed to support village life.
In the Australian context, Satoyama refers to the interaction between people and nature — encouraging conservation, education and immersion in natural surroundings.
At Ripley Town Centre, the concept of Satoyama can be seen throughout the design of Satoyama Way, which features a winding path through the mall that mimics the nearby Bundamba Creek — a shallow stream of running water bordered by lush landscaping and benches.
No matter where you are in the mall, you are connected with the sights and sounds of nature. While having your hair or nails done, you have line of sight to the greenery of Satoyama, or the sounds of children playing in the shallow water or hopping along the stone structures. Customers and retailers alike use the space to eat lunch, read a book or watch the kids play, while workers grab a bite from one of the local cafes and sit among the coolness of the feature. In the middle of summer in particular, this creates a pleasant transition from the outside heat into the indoor, airconditioned retail environment.
The ‘Gohon no ki’ (‘five trees’) landscaping concept, which incorporates Satoyama design, has also been considered throughout Ripley Town Centre. It aims to create gardens with native tree species that are suited to the local climate and to increase green coverage throughout the Centre. Sekisui House has planted more than 15 million trees across its locations around the globe, including more than 600,000 trees, shrubs and ground coverings at Ecco Ripley and Ripley Town Centre to date.
As the Ripley Town Centre masterplan vision comes to life over the coming years, Satoyama will remain at the forefront of all design and planning within the community. Green spaces and easy access to nature will allow future residents to use all five senses and tap into our innate connection with the outdoors. On and off-road pedestrian and cycleway networks will link to all parks — offering opportunities for rest, shade and community interaction.
These communal green spaces will provide access to various facilities, parks and attractions, while existing landscape corridors will be conserved and enhanced to encourage biodiversity.
Ripley Town Centre’s masterplan vision features a number of lifestyle hubs that will also champion Satoyama, including a green forecourt in the Centre’s Civic Heart, open laneways and tree-lined boulevards at Central, indoor/outdoor dining and retail areas with play areas at The Esplanade, and open, roof-top green space at Parkside Village.
To find out more about Ripley Town Centre’s masterplan vision, click here.