Debates on urban reconstruction through reclamation of traditional water scenery in 1940s Tokyo

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Abstract

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government, seeking to break an impasse in its state-sponsored war-damage reconstruction efforts after the Second World War, presented proposals in the late 1940s to reclaim centuries-old canals in its central area to dispose of wartime rubble and create land for redevelopment. The Government also received a proposal forwarded by Japan’s professional baseball association to reclaim a scenic pond in central Tokyo and build a baseball stadium there, and it responded favourably. Two canal reclamation projects were realized, but the pond reclamation was eventually abandoned. These reclamation proposals provoked debates of varying intensity over the loss of traditional scenery as part of urban reconstruction. This paper examines those debates and interprets their meaning within the history of Japan’s city planning. It notes the awakening of concern for land use planning after reclamation – in particular, the preservation of locations of scenic value – in the context of urban reconstruction. The paper also considers the limited nature of civic space for public discourse and debate over planning proposals and a collusive aspect of the inter-governmental relationship in city planning. It also considers the attitudes towards reclamation displayed by Hideaki Ishikawa, the principal planner of Tokyo’s war-damage reconstruction plan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalPlanning Perspectives
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017 Oct 28

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Keywords

  • Hideaki Ishikawa
  • Japan city planning
  • reclamation of traditional water scenes
  • Tokyo
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government
  • urban reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development

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