chapter  4
10 Pages

Japan’s first urban planning system

Japan’s first zoning system was a very simple one. It had only three types of land use zones, residential, commercial and industrial, and nothing like the strict separation of uses commonly associated with the term “zoning” in the US was either intended or applied. The zoning system was largely the work of Ikeda Hiroshi, who had become head of the Home Ministry Roads Bureau (Dobokukyoku Dôroka) at the age of 30 in 1911. After two years in that post, Ikeda travelled to Europe and America to study planning developments there. He attended an international conference on road planning in London in 1913, then travelled to Germany which had probably the most advanced city planning practice of the time including a variety of zoning systems, and returned to Japan via New York where he learned of the debates about the 1916 New York zoning ordinance (Watanabe 1993: 170). Ikeda subsequently became one of Japan’s leading experts on Western zoning systems, and applied his knowledge in the zoning system he devised for Japan.