While the previous readings downplayed the influence of the local community on the city development process,Tanaka points out that, at least in her case study, participatory planning in Tokyo is lacking because it leaves out important community groups, the machizukuri, who already consider and take action on wider planning issues.

In her study of Komae City, a suburban city just outside the 23 wards, the city government took action in the early nineties to include citizens in the planning process, part of a larger change in the Japanese planning code enacted in 1992. While it was an early attempt at participatory planning, it is noteworthy that existing community groups are largely not consulted, rather the planning agency reached out to individuals. 

While community groups may not be entirely representative (Tanaka acknowledges that chounaikai, or traditional neighborhood groups, skewed toward the elderly and landowners), machizukuri, which are a relatively new phenomenon, grapple with larger planning issues and are ideal community members for planning outreach.

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AuthorChris Hamby
Categoriesreadings, tokyo