Tokyo: Rebuilding the Global City in a Context of Urban Maturity

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 5:45 PM
Room: 422
Oral Presentation
RaphaŽl LANGUILLON-AUSSEL , University of Lyon Ė France, France
Since the turn of the 2000s, Tokyo has been facing issues which deal with urban maturity, a notion characterized by two elements: stagnation of the economic growth, and population peak, associated with an ageing population. Those issues, which threaten the sustainability of Tokyo as a major and attractive global city, necessitate new approaches for urban management, urban financement, and urban rebuilding projects.

Nevertheless, in spite of the mature urban profile of Tokyo, the city changed sharply during the 2000s. While demographic and economic indicators of Tokyo are not very favorable compared with those of the other Asian global cities, how could the urban profile of Tokyo change as fast and as dramatically as it did ? How was the city able to reorganize its structure, to verticalize its skyline, to vegetalize its public and private spaces? After the « Japanese miracle » which occured from the 1960s to the 1980s during a time of prosperity, the 2000s also knew another miracle: an urban miracle in time of crisis, as a result of urban maturity.

Two new phenomenons are necessary to understand this urban miracle in Tokyo. The first one is real estate securitization, which allows the financing of the city based on its mature state. The second one is a new approach to urban management, with the ediction of the Urban Renaissance Special Law in 2002. Both of these elements help to rebuild a world class city in a context of urban maturity. This new urban model is a cutting-edge one which can inspire the management of European and American cities facing the same issues than Tokyo.

This paper will present the urban transformations induced by urban maturity, and will allow to discuss the notion of urban maturity, taken as a notion in opposition with the model of shrinking city.