Economic history has a long shelf-life when it comes to the data, but needs to be read in a changing context. Besides taking stock of my research, I want to interrogate myself what impact COVID-19 may have on a future monologue.
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
Another post with some notes on a book, this time on income inequality. I will try to add to this some figures on income inequalities in Tokyo later.
The role of housing in shaping urban space is extremely important. For that matter, I re-read an important book on the subject and jotted down some notes for myself after the jump.
Scrap and build, Nakano-ku
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?
Thirty years and nothing changed?
A small but insightful exhibition currently on show at the Toto Gallery Ma introduced me to the works of the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. His innovative use of wood and paper as well as his humanitarian engagement make his works accessible to a much wider audience than just architects.
Shigeru Ban – interior panel of La Seine Musicale
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.
Income inequality trends, as per Iyoda Mitsuhiko (1991)
The treasure trove that is the 1961 TMG urban planning atlas has two fascinating maps on the distribution of factories and their growth. They show that the traditional areas of industrial activity are also attracting most of the growth in new factories.
With two maps in tow, I look at Tokyo’s land use and zoning in the late 1950s. Zoning designations largely reflected then-current land uses, except for some visionary (and eventually never realized) ideas about greenbelts and decongestion.
As I go through the TMG publication I referred to in this previous post, herewith some links to maps of historical Tokyo for my and everyone else’s reference. Please feel free to supplement this with your own links in the comments, I will add to the post.
1959 railway map, from Flickr user Rob Ketcherside