chapter
Learning from Japan
The idea that other countries could learn from the successful Japanese experience of rapid economic growth and business management practices was highly tradable in the 1980s at the height of the Japanese economic boom. Few are peddling the Japanese model now that the boom has disappeared and economic growth has been stagnant for a decade. That does not mean that Japan has any less to teach other countries than it
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Land development control systems requiring that all land development activities must allocate a certain proportion of the land developed for roads and other public needs are therefore essential to achieving good urban development in the long term. In addition some sort of system for designing future road and public space systems in advance of urbanisation is necessary. Japan had such a system in the building-line system that was abolished in 1950. That system worked reasonably effectively to structure new development in the areas where it was applied in the 1930s, although it suffered from a crucial weakness compared to its German model in that in Japan all roads above the minimum width were considered building lines, and not just those created by municipal design. That loophole allowed building on many narrow existing lanes, and the situation only got worse after 1950 when even that weak regulation of urban development on the fringe was removed.