Overview of Tokyo’s urban design

This blog is a companion to thetokyofiles.com, my primary site. Here I will document the current state and history of Tokyo’s urban design elements. I like to think of this as a “Tokyo urban planning museum”. Lofty goals, I know.

A working list of interesting and/or important features of Tokyo’s urban design, urban planning, and development:

Geographic features
Natural disasters and prevention
Elements of street design
Trains and subways (and “Transit-oriented development” TOD)
Trains and subways: History
Bicycle infrastructure 
Embellishments and street life
Trees and plants
Environment and ecology
Land transformation
Retail commerce
Pleasure and sin
Tokyo Architectural Forms
Tokyo Urban Planning History
Reclaimed land and conservation areas
  • Odaiba
  • Koto-ku / city of canals
  • Haneda Airport
  • Reclaimed rice paddies 田んぼ (tanbo) たんぼ (e.g. Ota-ku)
  • Conservation areas (e.g. 水谷田んぼ Mizutani tanbo in Saitama)
  • Satoyama 里山: woodlands / cultivated lower slopes (Wikipedia)
  • “Urban countryside” 「都会の田舎」 `Tokai no inaka’
Rivers, streams, and canals
Planned Communities (and Housing projects)
Parks and sports
Temples, and shrines
  • Temple land ownership
  • Temples and shrines on high land (Chiba area, e.g.)
Pedestrian culture
Cultural values and behaviors
  • Street design for elderly (PDF)
  • Safety measures for children (example)
  • Relationship between ‘Salaryman’ lifestyle and urban design
Cars and roads
  • Taxis
  • Car parking
  • Tolls
  • Parking lot and driveway “tube slopes” 鉄管スロープ (Twitter)
Mega projects
Theory and imaginative plans
  • Fishing
  • Factories & light industry (Kawasaki, Kawaguchi, Koto-ku, etc.)
  • Factory train lines
  • Energy (nuclear, etc.)
Government and law
Neighborhood typologies
  • Tokyo station / Ginza
  • Mixed-use neighborhoods
  • Residential city with at-grade train crossings (e.g. Ikegami line)
  • Danchi 団地 & housing complexes
  • 郊外住宅地 = suburban residential area
  • Large blocks with new apartments / buildings (e.g. Tenno isle; Odaiba)
  • Garden cities and upscale suburbs (Denenchofu, Seijo, Tokiwadai; “luxury villas” 高級別荘 at Sakura-shinmachi)
  • Western suburbs
Tokyo Sprawl
  • Train network
  • Contribution of housing complexes to sprawl
  • Narita Airport (protests: Farmers’ League Against Narita Airport)
  • Commuter culture: as seen in film (e.g. “Wisdom on the Hill”)
  • Number of commuters and where they come from
Tokyo Urban Planning Controversies
  • Gentrification / ‘high-rise gentrification’ (Twitter)
  • Sprawl and crowded subways
  • Narita airport (see above)
Map of topics discussed in this blog: