Changes in Essential Facilities of Housing Estates in an Aging Society: The Failure of City Planning in Japan
In Japan, suburban housing estates have been rapidly aging in recent years. The reason for this is that in a short period of time, during the high economic growth period, a large number of monotonous houses without diversity in the layout and sales price zone were constructed, with homogeneity in the life stage, age composition, and social position. Consequently, in many suburban housing estates, the number of elderly people has increased due to the loss of the young generation and the total number of elderly people has increased due to the aging of residents. Since such aging occurs simultaneously, the state of aging in suburban regions is progressing remarkably. As a result of such aging, vacant houses are increasing in suburban housing estates due to the death of the elderly and the decision to moving into a facility, causing serious problems in crime and disaster prevention. At the beginning of development, suburban housing estate planners often assume the child-rearing generation as residents and the facilities in the residential estates that are educational facilities, such as kindergartens, other child-rearing facilities, and elementary schools, as purchasers of food and daily necessities. Commercial facilities and child parks that are playgrounds for children are often systematically arranged. Shrinking suburbs cause several problems. One of the serious problems is the safety of communities, which is the responsibility of community’s members; suspicious persons are likely to invade vacant houses, since nobody maintains them. Moreover, it is difficult to maintain houses because of residents’ aging; ensuring cleanliness within houses and gardens is also difficult. Furthermore, many public facilities and shopping centers have been closed due to depopulation. People must travel by bus or trains for shopping. Although the elderly people depend on cars, they can no longer drive by themselves.
KeywordsWelfare facilities Housing estate Aging Town planning
This research was financially supported by the following KAKENHI: (1) Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B), Project number 15H03276, PI’s Yoshimichi Yui at Hiroshima University.
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