chapter  7
11 Pages

The urbanization of the Japanese landscape

ByPaul Waley

If there is one constant in the half-century since the beginning of rapid postwar growth, it is the conversion of green into gray and the urbanization of the Japanese landscape. This remorseless process of urban extensifi cation has been accompanied by one of standardization and intensifi cation. Despite occasional attempts to reverse these trends, loose planning controls, which have become ever looser, have encouraged developers to impose their restricted and standardized construction models on increasing areas of the Japanese landscape. The restructuring of the Japanese landscape has been directed by organizations, both public and private, that are headquartered in Tokyo and use a highly standardized architectural and structural blueprint. This might seem an excessively dark vision of a landscape which so often shimmers bright green under the sun, but, as I hope to show in the pages that follow, it is neither unreasoning nor ungrounded.