Tokyo as a slum, continued

A few weeks ago I discussed the concept of “Tokyo as a slum” and how apt it is to describe living conditions in the postwar period. This is important if we are to glean how useful Tokyo’s experience is to today’s emerging megacities. A more fitting description, I found, may be that of “shared space poverty”. I took a good look at the 1963 Housing Survey for data to support that line of thinking.

1963 construction on the Metropolitan Expressway (photo source)

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Tokyo public finance

I have been wading through historical budget data for the 23 wards here in Tokyo. To many, nothing could be more dry. However, I think that understanding public finance in the first megacity holds an important key in explaining the city’s success.

Tokyo as seen from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

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London social housing

I spent most of August in Europe. This included two weeks in London, where I stayed with my in-laws in the southeast as usual. This time I managed to get off the DLR and walked past two of the most important postwar social housing projects. These two are the Balfron Tower and Robin Hood Gardens.

Robin Hood Gardens

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UR Research Institute

My university, as part of their fantastic summer program, kindly organized a tour to the Urban Renaissance Agency Technology Research Institute the other day. The most relevant aspect to my research was the Housing Apartment History Hall. Here, some landmark apartments from what to most appear like faceless concrete blocks have been lovingly rebuilt.

Inside Maekawa’s Harumi Apartments

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Tokyo as a slum

I re-read Matias’s and Rahul’s article on “When Tokyo Was A Slum” on Next City. It makes a good qualitative case as to why the city’s incremental, unplanned growth post-WWII may hold lessons for today’s developing cities. I looked for some quantitative substantiation of their claim that indeed Tokyo was a slum. Here is what I dug up.

Meguro-ku, seen from Town Hall

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Tokyo inequalities – housing

What happens to urban equity when a city grows extremely fast? Next up in the urban inequality series is a post on Tokyo’s historical housing inequalities that aims to shed some light at the following questions: Over time, how much living space did the average inhabitant of Japan/Tokyo have and what was the corresponding homeownership ratio? Were there big differences between the 23 wards?

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Some contours of housing in Tokyo vs. Japan, source

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Tokyo population distribution

Below see some interesting tables I have found in a recent research report and of which I want a record, and why not on this blog? They are about Tokyo’s population distribution in and outside of the 23 wards. Nothing earth-shattering, but some ideas on how to present data at the very least. An interesting graph on land price increases concludes this post.

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Tokyo’s expansion seen from the 70s

This interesting paper was published in Comprehensive Urban Study (sogo toshi kenkyuu) in 1978. Its two parts (one written in 1972 and the other in 1977) talk about the recent expansion of Tokyo, specifically to do with its increasing suburbanisation. It features some great maps of which I feature some in this post.

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Decomposing the population change in the Tokyo Metropolis between 23 wards and the rest as well as natural and social increase/decrease

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