Since the ending of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1868, Japan was forced into westernization by other countries. This movement made architecture one of the main focus of Japan. At this point in time, Japan’s sole purpose was to focus in creating newer cities were people could manifest a western movement. Even though architecture was made to increase the aesthetic of Japan, the new cities were built in land were population was greater in numbers than any other location in the country. Land in Japan is based in mountainous and volcanic structure which leaves no alternative for people to build in shallow and flat environment where easy access is possible. This restriction limits what is built and forces the majority of the population to one possible location. With over 127 million people living in cities like Tokyo, people have exhausted their land usage and have no choice but to rely in high rise buildings. However, the capacity of high rise buildings are reaching a peak where is not possible to accommodate people living in the city. Due to the land being so limited and precious, the focus of architecture is lessen compare to the value of agriculture. The environment has been increase to accommodate agricultural advantages that allows people to harvest food and crops to provide to the cities which diminishes the possibility of construction. As result, urban cities depend on the transportation of crops from the agriculture fields. Attributable to the volcanic structure in the land, the land is highly fertilize and is filled with nutrients that makes crops very easily to grow and expand. The division between agriculture and urban is reinforced by government officials to prevent contamination and pollution of the crop fields from urban cities. As a result, the urban cities stop developing and buildings are either stacked or miniaturize to accommodate as much people as possible. Many modern Japanese architects focus their career in trying to create sustainable cities but are still limited by the maximum space they are working with. Landscape architects emphasize in in creating many certain location to provide greenery to urban cities. However, this emphasis doesn’t merge the agriculture and urban function where people depend in transported goods. With the limited land space in Japan and urban cities being overpopulated, Japanese architecture should focus in merging land and urban design in order to create a unison environment that would allow the people to benefit from its agricultural function and still live in an urban atmosphere. By using architectural design, it is possible to merge agricultural and urban land. Incorporating hybrid buildings where people are able to grow their own crops would increase the sustainability of the cities in Japan. This increases the availability of land people use in their daily life. Instead of relying in cities where sustainability is part of a mechanical system, the ruralization of cities increases the rate of how cities are really ecological and at the end expands land for people that needed the most creating a better self-sustain cities that would flourish for centuries.
Lazarin, Michael. “Phenomenology Of Japanese Architecture: En (Edge, Connection, Destiny).” Studia Phaenomenologica 14.(2014): 133-159. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Sept. 2015.
Inoue, Mitsuo, 1918-. Space In Japanese Architecture. New York: Weatherhill, 1985.
Kokusai Kōryū Kikin, et al.. Japan 2000: Architecture And Design for the Japanese Public. Munich: Prestel Verlag , 1998.
Shinozawa, Kenta (2006). “Structure of Natural Environment and Topography envisioned in the Development Process of Senri New Town”. Journal of The Japanese Institute of Landscape Architecture (1340-8984), 69 (5), p. 817.
Nemoto, Tetsuo (2008). “Transitions of Factors in Planning and Design Process in the Realization of Tama New Town Development Plan Based upon the Natural Topography”. Journal of The Japanese Institute of Landscape Architecture (1340-8984), 71 (5), p. 801.
Lippit, Seiji M. Topographies of Japanese Modernism. New York, NY: Columbia UP, 2002.
photography by; Andrea Williams