Local Responses to Increasing Vacant Houses in Tokyo

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 6:05 PM
Room: 422
Oral Presentation
Tomoko KUBO , Gifu University, Japan
Yui YOSHIMICHI , Hiroshima University, Japan
Since the 1960s, a shortage of lodging in city centers has led to high prices and the development of suburban housing estates. The problems of aging suburban populations are attracting considerable attention in Japan, a society of great longevity. The decline in mobility among elderly homeowners is a main problem in aging suburbs because an aging population and the accompanying social problems have begun to threaten residential environment there. The increase in housing vacancies, which is closely connected to a lack of security, sustainability, and human bonds among residents in a community, is one example.

 This study aims to examine local responses to the increasing number of vacant houses in suburbs. We pay attention to the influence of local regulations on vacant housing; several local governments, including that of Ushiku City, have enacted regulations to promote appropriate maintenance of vacant houses since the late 2000s. Then, we discuss institutional structures that have caused the problem. We also identify the generative process of housing vacancies in the Tokyo suburbs, and we examine the results of field surveys of several old housing estates in Ushiku City, Ibaraki Prefecture. Based on interview surveys of residents, we clarify the mechanism that produces housing vacancies there. We conclude by examining the attitudes of local communities toward vacancy problems.