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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

On spatial inequality

Spatial inequalities refer to the uneven distribution of resources across space, i.e. that it varies depending on location. Examples of this are the uneven distribution of income, access to health, or availability of shopping outlets. The following looks at some of the main concepts and issues, including how to measure spatial inequalities.

Tokyo as seen from atop Roppongi Hills

Continue reading

Politics of the Global Economy

I am about half way in the second time teaching this course at Temple University here in Tokyo. It’s certainly already been one of the highlights of my time here in Japan, and nicely complements my rather scholarly pursuits at GRIPS.

temple

Continue reading

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?

japan_housing01

Some contours of housing in Tokyo vs. Japan, source

Continue reading

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.

population-distribution Continue reading

Tokyo inequalities – background

What follows is the first post in a series on manifestations of inequality in postwar Tokyo. In these, I plan to cover living conditions and income inequalities across the different wards, at different points in time. Before going into the data that I collected over the past couple of days (and continue to collect), however, a few general words on inequality in Japan.

jp_inequality02

Income inequality trends, as per Iyoda Mitsuhiko (1991)

Continue reading

Urban inequalities

Just how does space influence economic outcomes, and vice versa? A good example of how causality can run both ways comes from the realm of economic inequalities.

arakawa01

A former substandard housing district long turned into a public park in Arakawa-ku

Continue reading