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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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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Why does Japan have so many retail stores?

…goes the title of a relatively old paper by Professor David Flath, who  teaches economics at Ritsumeikan University these days. As I study Tokyo’s postwar history and, as part of that, am interested in the density of retail stores, it’s worth summing up the main points and adding a few more thoughts. The high density of retail is a phenomenon that despite several years of de-densification stays roughly intact today.

Evening conbini scene, Nakano-ku

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June photos

In lieu of a proper post (it’s been quiet here for a while), herewith some recent photos. I resurrected my compact camera a few days ago, and am very happy to give the usual smartphone shots a break.

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Nakano-ku

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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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