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Divided Tokyo

Disparities in Living Conditions in the City Center and the Shrinking Suburbs


Part of the International Perspectives in Geography book series (IPG, volume 11)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Tomoko Kubo
    Pages 1-17
  3. Divided Tokyo

  4. Growth of the City Center Condominium Lifestyle

  5. Shrinking Suburbs

  6. Conclusions: Whither the Divided Tokyo?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 161-161
    2. Tomoko Kubo
      Pages 163-170
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 171-174

About this book


This book explores how and why Tokyo has been divided over time in terms of living conditions. First, recent urban discourses that explain the transformation of Tokyo’s urban structure are examined, along with social changes and the expansion of unequal residential conditions within the metropolitan area. Chapter 1 reviews: 1) discussions on globalization, neo-liberalization, and changes in housing policies; 2) debates on the divided city; 3) debates on the shrinking city and the urban lifecycle; 4) discussion of the urban residential environment from a social justice perspective; and 5) family–housing relationships in the post-growth society. Based on the literature review, the rest of the book is structured as follows. Chapter 2 explains the changes in urban and housing policies, demography, and socio-economic conditions. In Chapters 3 to 5, the background and characteristics of the growth of condominium living in the city center are examined. The next three chapters analyze the reality of shrinking suburbs, using case studies to demonstrate the increase in vacant housing and local responses toward shrinkage. In Chapter 9, possible solutions are proposed for dealing with problems related to urban shrinkage and the expanding gap in terms of the availability of investments to stimulate urban development, the residential environment, and the population age structure in Japanese cities by comparing the author’s findings and the literature review. This book provides deep insights for urban and housing scholars, urban planners, policy decision-makers, and local communities that struggle with aging populations and urban shrinkage.


Living conditions Globalization Urban shrinkage Spatial restructuring Aging population Sustainable city

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

About the authors

Tomoko Kubo is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences of the University of Tsukuba, Japan. She is an urban geographer working closely with housing studies. She is the former chair of the Urban Geography Commission’s Young Scholar (YS) Committee of the International Geographical Union (IGU) after winning its 2012 YS Paper competition, and a board member of the Research Committee on Housing and the Built Environment (RC43) of the International Sociological Association (ISA). Her research interests include urbanization and the housing market, urban and housing policy, residential choices under socioeconomic changes, single women’s homeownership, shrinking cities and their revitalization, and aging suburbs in Japan.

Bibliographic information

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