A lot of people are talking about Emergent Tokyo: Designing the Spontaneous City, a book that came out last year and which I was finally able to read. It is a great resource for all of us interested in describing that elusive “charge” of Japan’s capital. Few have been as successful in this task as the authors. While there are a lot of (generally very favorable) reviews out there already, I have jotted down some of my thoughts here. The full text is also available on the Urban Studies blog. I paste it below for ease of access.
I am a development finance professional and urban economic historian based in Sydney. Below find scribbles from my inchoate explorations in space and time.
How the years have flown by: I only found out now that Dr. Shirin Akiner passed away in 2019. Shirin was a lecturer in Central Asian studies at SOAS. Fresh off the boat from Berlin to start my undergraduate degree in the UK twenty years ago, I chose her class as an elective in my first year.
For some comparative research on intra-urban inequality, I started looking at Mumbai’s urban governance structure, and, wow, it’s complicated. While in Tokyo you had and have a fairly clear-cut division between central government, TMG and wards, the Indian megacity appears to have many more layers and parallel structures. Some notes to get my head around this below.
The same Cities edition that my paper on Tokyo is in (December 2022) runs a short article by Matthew McCartney, a senior researcher at the Charter Cities Institute, and former SOAS professor.
Entitled “Paul Romer, charter cities and lessons from historical big infrastructure?”, the paper cites two “forgotten” case studies of charter cities, i.e., the Panama and Suez Canals. They both had charters and saw large cities grow within their chartered territory.
By the dictates of closing browser tabs, I just wanted to jot down a very small number of reading notes on this gem of a PDF I found when researching post-independence South Asian New Town designs. Continue reading
It’s almost been a year that we have moved down under from Thailand. Moving countries doesn’t get easier the more one does it (I find, at least), but now it seems more and more to me that we’ve “arrived” here. Continue reading
For record keeping, here the abstract of a short piece I wrote on Bangladesh for my day job: “The FX liquidity of Bangladesh’s banking sector has been deteriorating significantly recently. Apart from sector-wide data and anecdotal evidence, the exposure of individual banks can be estimated by weighing the relative mix of the various constituents of the banks’ FX businesses (import, export, remittances). A challenging macroeconomic outlook is set to put further pressure on the banks’ FX position going forward.”
I have decided to distil one more article out of my dissertation and then call it quits. I want to focus on the measurement of urban living standards and the “civil minimum” as well as other innovations carried out by TMG in the late 1960s and early 1970s chiefly under the Minobe administration. Continue reading