Influence of the Plan for Tokyo: Linear urban development in Tokyo

Plan for Tokyo, 1960. Details of the model. Kenzo Tange. This huge fleet of units up to 300 m wide, with roofs like Japanese temples that seemed to be floating in the water, contained the residences.
Plan for Tokyo, 1960. Details of the model. Kenzo Tange. This huge fleet of units up to 300 m wide, with roofs like Japanese temples that seemed to be floating in the water, contained the residences.

Above is the plan of Kenzo Tange’s Plan for Tokyo. To summarize, there are two main goals of the scheme.  Firstly, Tange aimed to expand inhabitable space by reclaiming land on the Tokyo bay or along the coast line. Detail narrative of the influence on Tokyo Waterfront development can be in Kong Ka Yu’s Tokyo (1990) / Teleport Town as a Testing Model. Second, Tange adapted a linear urban planning instead of the traditional radiant centripetal system for a change in urban spatial experience due to the rise of automobile. Although there were arguments on the feasibility of linear system, we can still find examples in Tokyo nowadays that were influenced by Tange’s Plan for Tokyo.

Tokaido Shinkansen high speed rail

While Tokyo retained its radiant urban structure and fragmented urban landscape through the rest of the 20th century, the city was brought into a larger linear urban cluster, known as “megalopolis” after Jean Gottmann’s 1961 study. [1]

By 1970s, the Tokaido route between Tokyo and Osaka had become a continuous industrial belt, that link together a series of big cities and their metropolitan areas and accommodating around 40 percent of Japan’s total population. [2] The Tokaido Shinkansen high-speed rail line served as the spine of this megalopolis, just as the linear highway system in Tange’s 1960 plan was the spine of the new Tokyo.

New Tokyo Waterfront Subcenter and Toyosu-Harumi Area Development Plan

New Tokyo Waterfront Subcenter and Toyosu-Harumi Area development Plan

New Tokyo Waterfront Subcenter and Toyosu-Harumi Area development Plan has similar qualities as Tange’s Plan for Tokyo. Central spine connects an artificial island to the city and secondary roads were laid out perpendicularly to the central axis towards the mixed housing and commerce area. Although business and commerce function are aligned to the central transportation route, unlike Tange’s plane, the mobility is not as dependent to the central spine as in the Tange’s plan. Urban activity sprawl out to the surrounding with green area on the other edge of the island.

Development Plan for Shibuya Sta. Surrounding Area

Development Plan for Shibuya Sta. Surrounding Area

Similar design ideology can be found in the redevelopment project of the Ring Road 2 in Shibuya Area. Most importantly, the planning was based on a central spine that include a underground tunnel expressway that connects to the Haneda Airport. All commercial buildings were alight to the axis. Secondly, the underground tunnel was used to separate pedestrian and automobiles. This improve the congested traffic on the ground by widening the road and make space for a green belt. Residential and commercial are separated in different zone, but in a vertical manner. By placing the living area above the business sector offer better scenery for housing and also allow more inhabitants to be accommodated and more potential for expansion. As in Tange’s Plan, most of the housing spread across the Tokyo Bay and there is a limitation to the urban expansion.

[1] Carlos Zeballos. October, 2011 The Metabolist Movement.  The architectural Moleskine.

http://architecturalmoleskine.blogspot.hk/2011/10/metabolist-movement.html

[2]  Bureau of Urban Development Tokyo Metropolitan Government. 2013. Section 3 Development and Redevelopment of Urban Areas

[3] Zhongjie Lin. 2010. Kenzo Tange and the Metabolist Movement: Urban Utopias of Modern Japan

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