New Rousseau Machine


Figure 1: Visualization based on the voting results via NRM

Rather than starting with improvements to an existing city, Makuhari City began to develop governance mechanisms first (the operating system) to seek an alternative to the city’s shape that we now know and live.

As a pilot project, we developed a multi-rule voting system, The “New Roussau Machine,” that outputs different voting results using four separate aggregation rules. The results have shown that the four rules would not always converge into the same outcome, thus presenting a parallel world. Visitors will imagine the future while observing the collective wills that seem to contradict just by using a different method of counting votes projected on a temporal construction wall.

The votes collected by the people participating in this project (i.e., the citizens) will define the direction of the “Multi Layer City -Makuhari-” and the budget will entirely raised through taxes, crowdfunding, and donations to verify decentralized governance. This poll will influence the ongoing policy of the multi-layered city of Makuhari (and may be adopted as is).

The system utilizes decentralized storage for transparency, and the results making it tamper-proof. Further development of this project seeks to be an decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that it’s intrest revolving around the cultivation of art and culture.



1 Aggregation Rules

For each single act of voting, we obtained voting results according to the following four aggregation rules.

  • Direct democracy

    The aggregation of the votes for the single most supportive item in each category, not counting proxy votes.

  • Indirect democracy

    Excluding direct votes, a popular vote was taken among the delegates. The final result will come from the winning delegate’s direct ballot.

  • Borda count

    A system in which proxy votes are excluded, but the rankings of each direct vote item are determined. The lowest-ranked option gets 0 points, the next-lowest receives 1 point, etc., and the highest-ranked candidate gets n − 1 points, where n is the number of candidates.

  • Liquid Democracy

    A method of voting that combines direct and indirect democracy.


2 Wall Art & Results

Threads used in construction sites visualize the results of votes for each aggregation rule. The colors indicate the different rules.

agg. rule Q1 Q2 Q3 thread color
direct artist diversity enlightment orange
indirect local area solution development red
borda artist solution enlightment green
liquid future generation solution englightment yellow


3 Topics

We asked the participants to vote on following three questions that would help us decide the future direction of Makuhari City. In addition to the direct vote on each topic, we also asked the participants how much they would trust within five delegates to handle this topic and asked for indirect proxy votes for the delegates at the same time.


3.1 Q1: Overall Policy

3.1.1 Option 1: A city with an eye toward future generations

The project will explore different methods of urban management, including the essential functions of a city, such as collective consensus building and festivity. In collaboration with urban researchers and engineers worldwide, we will develop new systems and conduct demonstrations of globally acclaimed institutions in the physical Makuhari (幕張) area (Hanamigawa(花見川区) and Mihama(美浜区) wards of Chiba City). We will hold international conferences and support the production of demonstration experiments and research projects and position the city itself to become a world-class urban research institution. We will also actively support the update of Chiba City’s administrative services, transforming it into a city that reflects the will of its citizens the most.

3.1.2 Option 2: A city with artists, by artists, for artists

In Japan, where the promotion of culture is still in its infancy, we will create a new mutually supportive system for artists scattered throughout Japan as citizens, including financial support without depending on governmental subsidies and function as a platform for sharing ideas and networks. We will also approach the budget of Chiba City, which is an actual administrative district. Basing this physical area will establish itself as a sacred place for artists in Japan, contributing to the site’s recognition and creating a lively atmosphere.

3.1.3 Option 3: A city for the local residents

Makuhari City, an imaginary city, does not have a physical presence but will be maintained with its independent budget and personnel. Yet, as we use the word “Makuhari,” we will carry out activities that will benefit people living in the physical Makuhari area (Hanamigawa (花見川区) and Mihama(美浜区) wards of Chiba City) in some way over the next few years. We will work closely with Chiba City to directly contribute to the DX promotion of existing government services. This concept is not new, but it will undoubtedly provide a suitable living environment for residents and will likely support the local community and government.


Figure 7: Chiba Pref. governer visited, with the mayor of Chiba City.

3.2 Q2: Demographics

The Multilayer city “Makuhari” will be governed in a decentralized manner; the preferences and characteristics of each resident strongly reflect the fabric of the town. If you could control the attributes of the citizens in advance, what kind of population distribution do you think would be desirable? Imagine a city you would like to live in and choose one. Note that you do not have to follow the policy in Q1. For example, even if you chose “city for artists” in Q1, the low percentage of artists will not contradict. The selected option be interpreted as the lowest percentage of human resources to accomplish the basic policy chosen in Q1.

For example, the following assumptions can be made:

More artists and researchers: New perspectives and ideas will emerge without being bound by existing concepts and rules. There will be a greater openness to a variety of views. They like diversity and may move toward a more chaotic environment.

More designers and architects: Problems that many people do not recognize will be extracted and solved in a way that balances use and beauty. The world view of a particular designer will be reflected, and the environment will become more orderly.

More engineers: Not just ideas, but their actual realization will be valued.

More physical residents of the Makuhari area: Policies that prioritize the community for children and inclusiveness will increase. The trend may avoid risk-taking, and views making the environment safer and secure will be valued.

3.2.1 Option 1: Focusing on problem solving and idea realization

  • Artists:10%
  • Scientists:10%
  • Engineer:40%
  • Designer:30%
  • Makuhari residents:10%

3.2.2 Option 2: Focus on diversity and new perspectives and ideas

  • Artists:40%
  • Scientists:30%
  • Engineer:10%
  • Designer:10%
  • Makuhari residents:10%

3.2.3 Option 3: Focus on residents from Makuhari area

  • Artists:15%
  • Scientists:15%
  • Engineer:15%
  • Designer:15%
  • Makuhari residents:40%

3.3 Q3: Budget distribution

3.3.1 Option 1: Enlightenment Oriented

  • R&D: 10%
  • Educational Activities: 10%
  • Promotion: 50%
  • System Development Maintenance: 20%
  • Administration: 10%

3.3.2 Option 2: System Development Oriented

  • R&D: 20%
  • Educational Activities: 10%
  • Promotion: 10%
  • System Development Maintenance: 50%
  • Administration: 10%

3.3.3 Option 3: Novelty Oriented

  • R&D: 50%
  • Educational Activities: 10%
  • Promotion: 10%
  • System Development Maintenance: 20%
  • Administration: 10%

4 Media Coverage

5 Credits

Concept and System Development: Yasushi Sakai, Ryuta Aoki, Masahiro Sasaki, Yusuke Fujihira

Planning Support: Hiroki Yoshida

Collaboration: MIT Media Lab City Science, Archioid

Special Thanks: Masahiro Mitsui


Figure 8: The piece was shown as one within the Exhibition Meta city -Jack into the Noösphere-


Date: 2021-09-08 12:06

Author: Yasushi Sakai

Created: 2021-09-13 Mon 09:40