Controversies surrounding Japan’s ‘flexible’ urban planning: a comparative analysis of consensus-building and public engagement in Tokyo’s redevelopment projects

Jessica Ilunga, Jorge Almazán, Seishi Shikida, Errita Zuna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The rapid increase in large-scale redevelopment projects in Tokyo’s inner-city has demonstrated the shortcomings in Japan’s ‘flexible’ urban planning system. While authorities explain many of these redevelopments as being necessary for disaster prevention and economic revitalization, citizen opposition to some projects has fuelled ongoing debates about public participation. Pundits of Japanese cities often hail Tokyo as a successful example of flexible urban planning that allows for a more market-led approach to development through loose regulations. This research highlights the controversies around this approach and its implications as residents attempt to influence the transformation of their neighbourhoods. A study of the legal framework and the internal processes governing redevelopment projects in three Tokyo neighbourhoods reveals Japan's consensus-building approach, which prioritizes rights-holders while lacking specific requirements for the participation of the surrounding residents. By critically examining Tokyo’s large-scale redevelopments, this paper questions Tokyo’s suitability as a developmental model and advocates for striking a better balance between flexibility and participation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlanning Perspectives
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • consensus-building
  • Flexible planning
  • large-scale urban redevelopment
  • public participation
  • Tokyo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development

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