Reframing of Open Public Space in Tokyo

Currently many new developments are underway in Tokyo. They are encouraged by the government\’s decision to abolish certain regulations restricting construction and to de-regulate land, and by inviting private capital developers to regenerate the urban public areas. These developments are also an effort to rejuvenate the economy after the collapse of the bubble economy.Such developments regenerate the urban areas but simultaneously destroy the existing continuity of time and space within the city. Quasi public space is a characteristic of these developments, gentrifying swathes of the city with reference European squares and American shopping malls. These developments create a great contrast to the sub-divided and personal scale of the original Tokyo urban space. However, they serve the role of reactivating the awareness of the previously unremarkable and incidental public space embedded within the city\’s urban fabric.These spaces can be defined as Emerging Public Space; arising as a natural result of the gradual accumulation of detached buildings and their inhabitants\’ relationship with the street and interstitial space. The studio proposes to establish a set of principles to allow the recording and evaluation of such areas. This process will then feed into the creation of a new spatial language of public space. The studio consists of two phases.The first phase encompasses the research of urban space in Tokyo. The students will travel to Tokyo and will investigate, record and evaluate typical examples of urban conditions such as: Market Place (cf. Tsukiji Fish Market)Residential Area (cf. Shimokitazawa, Nakameguro, Harajuku, etc…)\”Sakariba\” (cf. Nakano, Kichijoji,etc)The second phase comprises of designing a new spatial language of public space reflecting the results of the first phase. It is expected that the students will utilize the conditions and spatial qualities found in the urban research.