Tokyo. The opportunities of shrinkange  and post-growth.


  • Marcela Maria Riva de Monti Universidad Politécnica de Madrid




The city, as a system that moves energy and information, faces an uncertain future. Therefore, planning activities have to incorporate the capacity of cities to adapt to transformations, to propose versatile urban models and flexible forms of urban action, which allow reorienting decisions to adapt to new contexts.

 The “three arrowsAbenomics policies, aimed for the geopolitical rebranding of the country, were designed to tackle the consequences of the “lost decade” as well as the demographic challenges faced by the country (Hausman and Wieland, 2015). As a consequence of these policies Tokyo started to attract population.

Therefore the central area of the city experienced a revival of activities. Due the brown fields made vacant by the dismantling of the former inner-city industrial sites, privatization of national companies and relocation of government offices, the flexibilization of planning laws, the foreign investment in real estate, the new housing demand and the 2020-2021 Olympic games, major urban regeneration projects were developed and extensive area of the city were reshaped with big plot and massive buildings.

Nonetheless, the urban fabric of Tokyo is characterized a highly atomized land partition. These small plots of the Edo-Tokyo cannot be re-built within the economic logic mentioned above, therefore remain vacant. These simultaneous processes are differentiating zones of growth and degrowth, resulting in co-occurrence of two antagonistic realities in the same city. While some central areas of the city are revived with large scale projects, at the smaller scale vacant plots unable to be incorporated into development sites triggering a site-specific process of spongification.

The goal of this investigation is to look into the consequences of applying centralization policies in the atomized (none central) Tokyo neighbourhoods.



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