1980-1991 Congestion, the Urban Crisis that Revitalized Odaiba 1

Post Second World War Japan’s reconstruction led to an unprecedented surge in its economic development, privately owned vehicles were absent during the late 1950s. Ever since the rapid economic boom from the 1960s, renewal plans were proposed to create new high rise cities out of shanty towns, forming big plazas with modern infrastructure for motorized vehicles. [1] At the time during the original planning of Tokyo, the price of land was rapidly increasing so was demand for office spaces, outstripping supply in Central Tokyo hence sub-centres were constructed to remedy single concentration of business to resolve the urban issue of congestion, and dispersing urban functions. [2]

The Odaiba Waterfront City built upon reclaimed land is surrounded by the Port of Tokyo, and is well connected to domestic and international airports via highways. The expansive urban infrastructure also included the 128.1 billion yen project, the Rainbow Bridge, as covered by Lew Yanheng as part of a response to the rapid urban development of infrastructure, resulting in a heavy financial burden for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Hence, commerce and office became integral to Odaiba’s economic feasibility.

Streetcar lines were quickly abolished due to the sudden influx of motor vehicles and new subway and suburban lines made their entrance in city planning. Highway construction continued all over the country whilst factories, offices, universities and other larger establishments were completely or to a certain extent relocated elsewhere from central Toyko for example suburban areas outer fringes or more distant places.

The population was planned to decrease to an “optimum” scale by encouraging enterprises to relocate to less congested areas, which led to the initial idea of the revitalisation plan in 1995 which was to build a teleport centre, and this has resulted in a concentration of multimedia industries as a way to provide employment outside of the city centre. One of these examples included the Fuji TV Building designed and constructed by Kenzo Tange. Depopulation was also an issue because people were encouraged to work in the suburbs, causing a significant gap between the daytime and night-time population.




[1] Fujita, Kuniko. “Japanese Urban Environment.” Urban Studies 36, no. 10 (1999): 67-69.

[2] Meiko Murayama and Gavin Parker, “Sustainable Leisure and Tourism Space Development in Post-Industrial Cities: the Case of Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan”, Tourism, Culture and Regeneration, (CABI, 2006), 69–84.

1 Comment on “1980-1991 Congestion, the Urban Crisis that Revitalized Odaiba 1

  1. A comprehensive understanding of the sociopolitical background, the infrastructure and amenities as the key physical forms, the economic as a driver and the bottom up residents’ participation of the Odaiba Waterfront City design is delivered. The relationship and comparison between the different urban planning schemes of Tange Kenzo and Kurokawa with various ideologies, the urban population and socioeconomic environment of Tokyo and Odaiba are also clearly analyzed. One to two aspects of the urban ideologies of a schemes your narratives could have a deeper analyzed with a supporting of maps.

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