DOI link for Discover tomorrow
Discover tomorrow book
In 2020 Tokyo will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the second time in history. With a strong emphasis on the future – Tokyo’s slogan for the Olympic Games is ‘Discover Tomorrow’ – Tokyo is branded as city of youth and hope. Tokyo’s demographics, however, show a different image: in the coming decades, it is expected that well over a third of the citizens will be over 65. Despite the focus on a youthful image, Tokyo is well aware of the fact that its demographics are rapidly shifting. Governmental bodies have been actively trying to find solutions for anticipated problems related to the ageing population for decades. One of the solutions that is being discussed and implemented is highlighted by the 2020 Olympics: the implementation of universal design in public spaces in the city in order to make it more easily accessible – in other words, making Tokyo ‘barrier-free’ (bariafurī). This chapter presents the concept of ‘barrier-free’ in a Japanese setting, critically analyses the history and current implementation of the concept, pointing out that it seems to be increasingly commercialised, and evaluates the purpose of implementing the concept in the light of the 2020 Olympic Games.