In March, the Japanese Prime Minister and the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) postponed the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics until next year due to the global pandemic. It was the first time in modern Olympics history that the games were pushed back. The IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee created a task force to begin coordinating how to relaunch the event—from protecting athletes to securing venues.
7th Most Influential Project of 2020
The outbreak of wildfires in Australia consumed almost half of Kangaroo Island in January. After flames destroyed homes, farms and animal habitats, teams swooped in to rescue the area’s ecosystem. South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management collaborated with the Australian army’s Joint Task Force, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ZoosSA and local veterinarians to assess, triage and treat animals including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies and cockatoos.
11th Most Influential Project of 2020
Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite was the first non-English movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. But the Korean dark comedy also distinguished itself with stunningly authentic sets that drew viewers even more deeply into the tale. And the crew did it all on a budget under US$11.4 million—modest, at least by Hollywood standards.
25th Most Influential Project of 2020
Australia’s biggest public transport project is a AU$40 billion-plus investment in a new, high-frequency, driverless, fully accessible rail network that will transform how people move around the city of Sydney. The first phase opened in May 2019, and by 2024, Sydney Metro will span 31 railway stations and 66 kilometers (41 miles). And no more waiting: A metro train will travel in every direction every two minutes.
26th Most Influential Project of 2020
Toyota is building a real-world test city where smart homes, AI, autonomous vehicles and robotics are the norm. First announced in January, the project affords the Japanese automaker an ecosystem to fast-track its most innovative R&D ideas. With Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group on board, the team is expected to break ground on the 175-acre (71-hectare) site in 2021.
24th Most Influential Project of 2020
In February, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute launched the first of three satellites designed to work together to keep a watchful eye on pollutants in the region’s air and oceans. The Chollian-2B satellite can capture hourly measurements across the East Asia region of fine dust and air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, aerosols and formaldehyde. The resulting data will also help scientists provide advanced forecasts for weather and air quality.
39th Most Influential Project of 2020
Indonesia President Joko Widodo last year declared that the government would begin plans to build a new futuristic capital. Doing so will ease the burden for the current capital, Jakarta, which is overcrowded and under siege from rising sea levels. The US$33 billion project would relocate the political center and nearly 1 million civil servants to the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, spurring economic opportunities for an underdeveloped area.
49th Most Influential Project of 2020
The skyline in Sydney, Australia is rising to new heights and hybrids. This 180-meter (590 feet) building, announced in June, would be the world’s tallest to mix timber and steel framing. The use of innovative strategies by architecture studios Shop Architects and BVN means the AU$1 billion HQ project for the Aussie software giant will consume half the carbon and energy of a conventional building of equivalent size.
After a gunman killed 51 people in a March 2019 attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, the country’s Parliament approved a plan to ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons. During a six-month, US$102.2 million buyback project that ended in December, officials collected 56,250 firearms and 194,000 gun parts. The next phase: building a gun register and tightening the country’s licensing system.
Spanning 38.8 kilometers (24 miles), the Malir Expressway will speed up commute times for the growing population of Pakistan’s biggest city, Karachi. The PKR39 billion project, which was approved in January, will create an expressway along the Malir River.