Saturday, 31 October 2015

Comparisons between Tokyo, Sendai and Melbourne

Most of the built form for both cities, excluding a few buildings, were not extravagant or attempting to make a statement and was in many cases purely ‘boxes’ of concrete.
The physical components of Tokyo city exacerbated its wealth, status and commercial success. With mixed but mostly high-density development, the city stood out at night and activated key locations. Alleyways were present but mostly unattractive and isolated.
The centre of Sendai had components of a major city in its transport, infrastructure and built form, but in visiting the Tsunami affected areas, there was a resemblance to that of a regional area with minimal development and contained previously agricultural land.

Again, within approximately a 1km radius of Shinjuku, many of the newly built buildings were a result of the desire to restore old buildings, some while maintaining existing facades, and some while creating entirely new ones. With minimal community back-lash and no consideration of heritage, this was quite interesting to our group of students, given some of these buildings had been in place for more than a hundred years.
 
New constructed building in Tokyo. Behind this building is a large passive space, where disadvantaged citizens find refuge

Although many of the locals were seen to be busily moving within the business and commercial areas, surrounding Shinjuku station, the tour group was advised that the disadvantaged population did exist, and were some times located in parks surrounding new and iconic buildings. Interestingly enough, this was not seen or noticed and Tokyo managed to cover up this issue.

In Sendai, there was more of a community feel and support network. The Tsunami affected areas and people were emotionally affected by the March 11 tragedy but through our interactions with them it was clear that the people were positive, hopeful and determined to see the city and its people rebuild and start a fresh, as seen through the community input with various projects and gatherings to raise moral and hope for citizens.

By comparison, Melbourne’s inner city density is much greater than Tokyo and Sendai with skyscraper’s going well beyond 20 stories in many cases. Heritage in Melbourne is not a topic or concept that goes unspoken or unheard of, nor can any leadership easily make a decision to remove or alter a significant building without community backlash or contributions. Transport in Melbourne can be seen to be not as extensive, but is easier to navigate and more accommodating of tourists.

Arigatou Gazaimas.

Renee De Alwis