Tokyo Melting Metropolis (outline)
Birth of Bottom up City Shibuya.

Reference images

1925 Yamanote line was built on the raised track from th day one.

1921 Yamanote line Ueno to Akabane.

1947 Shibuya Station

1961 completed Tokyo's Street Car network.

1963 Shibuya Station area aerial view.


1990 SHibuya Station

Currentlyt both public and private railway system commutes 36 million commuters of metropolitan Tokyo.

Near future projection of Shibuya Station area.


The urbanization of Tokyo operates upon unique interdependency between the governance, the capital and the citizens . I hypothetically call this mode of operation as the Melting Actors model as it hastily exercise point-line-field development in amalgam of three urban actors; Government, Capital and Citizens. At the same time, Three dimensions of urban space starts to melts: point being a sub center station development, line being infrastructure and the field being garden city on the infra network.

Edo has become Tokyo when it flipped the direction of development from the east towards the west. In 1885 the government built Yamanote railway Line for goods transports . In 1925 the raised railway line over Edo between Shinbashi-Ueno completed the circular line: a large low cost public transportation system. The site for current large park has been named .

The second moment came when 1923 Kanto earthquake hit the region and burnt the city down. The subsequent demographic move by rich citizens to the west created both nuclear of the sub centers on western Yamanote Line and housing domains on its west. The operators were private railway companies that developed three projects at once; suburban railway lines, real estate projects called garden city and a large cubic building filled by commercial program on the sub center station. The network of railway lines feed the sub center from all directions. Shibuya station of Yamanote line is now a successful sub center as Tokyu built some 60 garden cities on its own line till today. For

1964 Olympic game the central government built new highway network over the available public ground . The government dismantled full grown Street Car network and replaced it by underground subways. The subways and the suburban lines operated in a unique system to loan lines each other thereby shared profits and invested on Tokyo’s growth. In 1965 the government turned water purification plant into Shinjyuku Sub Center. It invigorated the role of Shinjyuku by government led Tama New Town development and subsidy for railway lines. By this Shinjyuku attained increasinly more day commuting population. It accelerated Kabuki-Cyo, near Shinjyuku, to grow as night town. Separately initiation of neighborhood projects begun, such as Daikan Yama Hill Side Terrace near Shibuya, which uniquely addressed desire to live amid the city.

Bubble economy charged programs on the surface of sub center; e.g. mode industry profiled Shibuya area. The era defined architecture as the urban events and labeled the urbanity as chaos . Media disseminated this as experience economy internationally. It strengthened influx from rural regions to the surroundings of the garden cities , which subsequently increased spending at the sub centers and enhanced it further to inwards by street development; Ropponghi , Omote Sando street.

The post bubble economy scaled garden city project up to regional development. Surrounding regions such as Ibaragi and Tochigi joined Tokyo, which extended its population to near 36 million. This created impetus to redevelop dormant railway yards along Yamanote line and formed town in town project . JREIT supplied the funding.

Coming decade is critical for Tokyo as Tokyo faces issues concerning FAR15 projects , while Japan faces reconstruction from 2011 East Japan Tsunami disaster. Japan could either increase Tokyo’s domination or decentralize by going more International. The first is to expand Melting Actor model in national scale by means of the Shinkansen network and new Linear motor network. This will see more The second option is to raise of regional awareness and spread capital internationally thereby increasing the regional difference and own growth.  


i) Japan Rail (Nihon Tetsudou), which built line towards Hokkaido, for example is a private company supported by the government. Private funding filled short coming of national funding and took the project for which attained supports.

ii) Numbers of wild-west urban development projects grew over the national infrastructure.
Edo is the former capital city of Tokugawa Shogun Feudal Japan. Tokyo put itself at the world’s 14th GDP ranking after Australia.

iii) Yamanote Sen means Hill Side Line . Yamanote Line was built in 1885 between Akabane, the northern tip, and Shinagawa harbor hub. The line passed Shinjyuku village where Yodobashi water purification site was built in 1893.

iv) First railway in Japan was built in 1870 by Japanese National Railway between Shinbashi-Yokohama and immediately absorbed by the folk. In 1877 Osaka had line conecting Kobe and Kyoto. In 1889 Tokaido Line became operational thereby connecting Osaka-Tokyo. With Yamanote Line the national lines were connected at Tokyo. The line took west diversion with the aim to avoid disturbance on inner city as well as easier land purchase.

v) Dutch doctor A.F. Bauduin initiate Uenopark to raise public health. Large sites of Samurai villas being named as domains for gardens and shrines.

vi) Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway, Shuto Kosoku Doro is nick named as Shuto-Ko. No. 1 linked Haneda International Airport with Nihonbashi. No.4 linked Olympic sites on the west with Nihonbashi.

vii) Emperor’s palace, gardens and rivers were used, as Most of land of Tokyo is privately owned.

viii) Housing and Development Corporation. Now transformed in to UR.

ix) Chaos was strategic label to disseminate Japanese agglomeration internationally.

x) In 1990 the population of Tokyo is around 11 million. Rate of urbanization was 90%.

xi) There are 117 provate Universitied in Tokyo region.

xii) Ark Hills in Ropponghi is the first large scale town in town project undertaken by Mori Building Corporation. It took twenty years for Mori corporation to collect privately owned land. The local government help create higher FAR.

xiii) Tokyo ranks no.1 GDP area among the world’s metropolitan regions.

xiv) Ropponghi Hills, station redevelopments on Shibuya Shinjyuku (fig.10) and Shinagawa, Marunouchi redevelopments by Mitsubishi and transformation of the former government’s terrain into commercial domain such as Tokyo Mid Town

xv) Shibuya Hikarie is FAR 15 144.000,-m2 on site area 9640 m2 while Roppongi Hills Tower is 380,000 m2 on 23000m2 site, FAR 16.5.