Incremental Tokyo and the tool-house

Over at Next City – Informal Cities Dialogues, Matias Echanove and Rahul Srivasta recently examined When Tokyo Was a Slum.

In the essay the two authors write about the other Tokyo, not the Tokyo of the “world-class city” but the “incremental Tokyo, the foundation upon which the world’s most modern city is built“.

They continue;

According to Metabolist architect Kisho Kurokawa, Westerners misunderstand Tokyo as informal and illogical because of their dualist notion of the city as divided into polar opposites: Urban and rural, formal and informal, order and mess. But Japanese culture, says Kurokawa, accepts that mess and order are inseparable…Tokyo was built with loose zoning rules to become a fantastically integrated mixed-use city, where tiny pedestrian streets open up to high-speed train lines….Whether we allow such piecemeal development and retrofitting to exist in today’s cities goes to the very heart of how we will define good urbanism in the 21st century. If we assume that contemporary Tokyo is a model for desirable urban development — and many people would — we can only conclude that user involvement and incremental development have a lot to recommend them.

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