Matias Echanove / matias@urbanology.

org: Tokyo - June 28, 2007

The Tokyo Model of Urban Development
Memo concerning the Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP) to the attention of the Slum R ehabilitation Authority (SR A). An urban setting that allows for different economic activities to have a legitimate space – big businesses, small enterprises, small home-based manufacturing and processing units and informal economic activities. In many areas, such a setting allows for a co-existence of residential and work spaces. The Tokyo model is also characterized by locally initiated residential and commercial development, alongside centralized infrastructure planning – involving roads, water-supply and drainage. 1. Overview: From Tokyo slum to Tokyo future city a. Destruction & Reconstruction: • • After the Second World War, half of Tokyo was destroyed (equivalent to New York City area). However, pressing economic redevelopment & need of shelter didn't allow central planners to create the new/modern city that they had planned. Thus, the pre-war layout served as the basis for reconstruction: In other words, the city was rebuilt on its ruins. The government focused on infrastructure re-development to support the economy. The residential reconstruction was left to local actors. Slum-type housing, that evolved from village habitats, dominated most areas until 1960s. Interestingly, the slum-type urban typology and street patterns exist even in present-day residential neighborhoods. (The urban typology of most residential neighborhoods in Tokyo is similar to that of Dharavi)

• • • •

Images: A slum-typology predominates the urbanism of residential neighborhoods in Tokyo.

where small shops and restaurants can be found. The Anko-Gawa model: soft-core. Residential neighborhoods of Tokyo exult a "village-like quality replete with song birds and small alleys. These lanes can barely be accessed by cars. • • • . investment done in these matters). many neighbourhoods – even middle-class ones show low-rise high-density patterns. there was little. A collection of villages: • In Tokyo. literally the association from within the neighborhood (equivalent of the Indian Mohalla). (In Dharavi. In Tokyo.b. hard-edge pattern is repeated on a smaller scale (almost in a fractal-way). (In Mumbai too. In fact these exist in many parts of Mumbai – including Khotachiwadi). characterized by lowrise and densely built houses. (the roji). This type of organization. from the roji (commercial lane) to the tori (small community street). rather than activity or cause based. small lots of farming land were gradually converted to residential/commercial/industrial activities – (like the Koli village in Dharavi). A pattern similar to that of Dharavi. Matharpakhadi and other old Mumbai neighbourhoods).” (Rowe 2005). hard-edge. • • • • c. • The Japanese urban fabric is often composed of a "soft" residential core. They are by and large pedestrian (Like many Mumbai slums). never appears to be far from even the city’s most important roadways and intersections. (Even among the high-density squalor of Dharavi you can see the traces of village like structures. (In Dharavi too there are many local organizations that are involved in day-to-day relief and support activities). There is a tradition of local autonomy and self-reliance. if any. is central to neighborhood life and organization in Japan. The neighborhood life is organized along the long lane (roji). traditional urban development & management strategies are still practiced at the neighborhood level. At the time of great urban growth. planning intervention from the government in residential neighborhoods was mainly limited to modern water supply and railway transport system. The “Chonaikai”. (Dharavi too shows this pattern). is uniquely Asian. which is spatially based. Charles Correa has talked about this in the context of Khotachiwadi. Images: From left to right. surrounded by a "hard" shell of taller and larger structures along wide roads or railways. Within the residential core the same soft-core.

o Help maintain a sense of community among displaced residents. This also avoids a high degree of residential segregation along income lines as one finds in the US. (This is because like many Asian cities. Tokyo is also one of the safest city. but are used exclusively by people residing alongside. Land readjustment: o Consolidate property rights and rearrange land parcels. o Buy out those who want to leave and use their land. o Provided an opportunity to develop creative strategies for neighborhood improvement. A recent case study: rebuilding Kobe after the 1995 earthquake • Joint housing: o Collective use of land value for reconstruction help to avoid displacement. In spite of being the largest metropolitan area in the world (32 million people). (This mixed form in which rich hand poor live next to each other is also one of the main characteristics of Mumbai’s urban fabric. unlike most South American slums or Western ghettos). Dharavi is safe to walk through. Renter's rights: Renters retain a property right during the readjustment/reconstruction process. o Provided communication links between residents and the government. • • • .such as safety and continuing liveliness of central city areas. d. • • • • • e. (In Dharavi. Small scale industrial activity. o Provides for clustering allowing construction of infrastructure and creation of public spaces. The smaller streets are not purely public nor private. (again the same pattern can be found in Dharavi. such as printing. Small-scale. as many study reports (KRVIA) have shown. even for an outsider. o City subsidized design cost and common areas. a large part of the populations live and work in their own localities). (Preserving these types of businesses also means preserving traditions and culture. including in India. can been seen in Tokyo's neighborhoods. family-type businesses largely predominate in Dharavi. (This is clearly the case in Dharavi as well as many writers – including Kalpana Sharma in ‘Re-discovering Dharavi’ – have pointed out). Government funded community planners: o Assist residents in planning and financing construction. This leniency towards mixed-use has permitted to preserve small-scale family type businesses in one of the most advanced economy in the world. it should not be overlooked as an important way of maintaining some degree of social cohesion). wood work. we too find a range of similar activities). textile manufacturing. Many positive outcomes mixed-use have been acknowledged . (And in spite of being the largest slum in Asia. where very narrow streets lead to a cluster of houses around a common open space (promoting to strong neighborhood ties)). Mixed use in residential neighborhoods promotes local commercial activity.• • The lanes are crossed by smaller streets (tori) leading to groups of houses. operating mostly from or near to residential spaces). Mixed-use zoning • Zoning in Japan is (by default) mixed-use. despite some attempts by central planners to organize the city along functional lines.

top-down planned cities. However. This model is the most sustainable at the level of the city since it will minimize the “slum spill-over effect” that the current plan would generate (i. The DRP would therefore be responsible for the emergence of slums in the city. The Tokyo model suggests that it is possible to upgrade Dharavi in situ. but quite on the contrary a highly sophisticated and efficient urban organism. together with its mixeduse zoning is what makes it highly functional at the individual and collective levels.: creating new slum pockets elsewhere in the city). Dharavi is not a mess. 6. large families. sewage). We have seen how slums have reproduced themselves on a large scale all over the city – especially from the eighties onwards . but that local development would be better done at the local level of existing communities and nagars. Tokyo’s first appears as an incoherent city. Once this is mapped out. etc) would be forced out and cut from their source of livelihood. electricity. To Western observers used to rationally. Despite being over twice as large as New York in terms of population. Currently Dharavi residents who have access to water. The Tokyo case suggests that a master plan is needed for infrastructure development (roads. . in urban terms. by focusing on infrastructure development and relying on community self-determination. renters. ii) make a local plan according to their specific needs.2. The first step towards a sound plan for Dharavi is a Dharavi-wide survey and enumeration by an independent NGO. such as SPARC for instance. The formalization of the situation in Dharavi could generate revenue to the government in the forms of taxes and service charge. The will create Mumbai’s new slums. independent planners could help communities i) determine themselves according to the Dharavi-wide infrastructure plan. this Western centric vision fails to acknowledge the special character of Tokyo as a “lived” city. an urban mess. which has the trust of the residents. The adaptability and softness of Tokyo. As hard as it is to conceive for outsiders. iii) and maintain the connection between local residents and the SRA. This survey would be the basis for the self-recognition of existing communities and nagar boundaries by residents themselves. young people. water. Any viable plan to cross subsidize new housing for the poor would mean that anything between 1 and 2 lakhs of the current residents (amongst the most vulnerable such new comers. as well as other Mumbaikars who will be affected by the spill over effects of the plan from the vested interests of the builder lobby who are not thinking in a holistic urban manner and are putting their own interest above the interest of the people who’s life will be affected.and are not confined to Dharavi. Dharavi. A tabula raza approach consisting of destroying everything that was built. which is malleable.e. The government has the duty of protecting Dharavi residents. through informal pipeline have to pay high fees to “thug plumbers” for bad service and polluted water. heteroclite. We have to look at Dharavi from the point of view of the city as a whole. Lessons for Dharavi 1. the metropolitan area of Tokyo is incomparably better organized and sustainable both ecologically and socially. changing. 4. 3. 2. The density level in Dharavi is in all likelihood one of the highest in the world. in plus of being an economic and cultural disaster for Dharavi and Mumbai would also be a fundamentally wrong from an urban development perspective. 5. and temporary. shares many characteristics with Tokyo. Most people would be happy paying the government for good service instead.

The urban typology is strickingly similar.Top image: Photomontage. This tells as much about the history of Tokyo as a slum as about the potential of Dharavi if it is allowed to develop incrementally. . (With inputs from Rahul Srivastava. Mumbai). Dharavi on the left. Bottom image: Photomontage: Tokyo on the left and center. Tokyo on the right. Dharavi on the right.

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