December 17, 2007
Tokyo Far Future Map

See what Tokyo will look like tomorrow, today.

More of a guidebook than a tourist map, this is a great full-color, illustrated companion to a tour of major development projects in Tokyo's near future (contrary to the lofty title).

It's all here, all of the big projects you hear about on TV or read about in the paper, or maybe see ads for on the train. You'll see station by station 3D walkthroughs of the new Fukutoshin Subway line that opens in 2008. A 14 page special feature on Tokyo Station City, building by building. Four pages on the New Tokyo Tower (Sumida Tower), which will newly tower over Tokyo at a height of 610 meters in 2011 in order to transmit digital TV to the entire Kanto region. There are features on each neighborhood, like Shinjuku, Akasaka, and Shinagawa. A spread explains the bid for the 2016 Olympics, and where the events would be held. And they round it off with a list of the top 100 buildings in Tokyo, including those planned and featured in the book - a full 37 of them didn't exist at the time of publishing!

The buildings are big, they're beautiful, they'll save the world. Everything is bright and rosey and wonderful. Every project is perfect and full color and now, but not quite yet.

I'm going a bit far there.

This book is very well put together, and serves as a great resource - most of the projects don't have great websites, and certainly can't be learned about in a glance and don't reference each other in maps.

On the other hand, it's a total boosterism tool for the real estate and construction industries. Nowhere is there any mention of possible downsides, like that found on the site for Society for Rethinking the New Tokyo Tower. That group is a true rarity, though. Most projects face no organized resistance, and have outpaced and overwhelmed any potential public comment. Is Tokyo Station City necessary? Does it serve a real purpose?

I don't even necessarily want any of these projects stopped. I'd just like to know what the counterarguments are.

Where are the public amenities? Where are the low-cost housing and blue-collar (non retail) jobs? It's frightening that there are apparenlty no major parks planned in Tokyo, other than as pedestals for new buildings on landfill.

This book makes as a great companion to a service like Live Maps, and is very interesting to look at in contrast to Tokyo Inner City Project.

東京・首都圏未来地図 '08最新版―最新プロジェクトでみる未来の姿 (SEIBIDO MOOK) by by 成美堂出版.

Written at December 17, 2007 11:27 PM
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