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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Tokyo housing supply

Tokyo’s skyline is set to see 45 new skyscrapers by the 2020 Olympics, Bloomberg reports. Such heightened construction activity is seen as evidence of 1) the effectiveness of Abenomics, 2) building regulations that encourage new construction and 3) a generally competitive rental market that leads to lower rents. How much truth is there in this?

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Thirty years and nothing changed? 

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