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The Character of Urban Japan: Overview of Osaka-Kobe’s Cityscapes

ESPACE, CNRS, Université Côte d’Azur, 06200 Nice, France
Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(4), 105;
Received: 3 October 2019 / Revised: 13 November 2019 / Accepted: 15 November 2019 / Published: 21 November 2019
The Japanese city presents a certain number of peculiarities in the organization of its physical space (weak zoning regulations, fast piecemeal destruction/reconstruction of buildings and blocks, high compacity, incremental reorganization). Compared to countries where urban fabrics are more perennial and easily distinguishable (old centers, modern planned projects, residential areas, etc.), in Japanese metropolitan areas we often observe higher heterogeneity and more complex spatial patterns. Even within such a model, it should be possible to recognize the internal organization of the physical city. The aim of this paper is thus to study the spatial structure of the contemporary Japanese city, generalizing on the case study of Osaka and Kobe. In order to achieve this goal, we will need to identify urban forms at different local scales (building types, urban fabrics) and to analyze them at a wider scale to delineate morphological regions and their structuring of the overall layout of the contemporary Japanese city. Several analytical protocols are used together with field observations and literature. The results, and more particularly the building and urban fabric types and their location within the Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area, are interpreted in the light of Japanese history and model of urbanization. A synoptic graphical model of an urban morphological structure based upon Osaka is produced and proposed as an interpretative pattern for the Japanese metropolitan city in general. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban structure; urban form; urban fabric; Japan; Osaka urban structure; urban form; urban fabric; Japan; Osaka
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Figure 1

  • Externally hosted supplementary file 1
    Doi: 10.5281/zenodo.3471310
    Description: This upload provides the processed results of Multiple Fabric Assessment performed on a hyper-urbanized region of 2,500 km2 in Japan and including Osaka and Kobe municipalities. The scale of analysis are the areas surrounding urban streets at close distance, which are named proximity bands. Outputs are made available using a geospatial vector data format (GeoPackage - WGS 84/UTM zone 53N) in order to be visualized in a geographic information system software. Attribute data contain the Bayesian probability assignment of each proximity band for the nine urban fabric types that have been identified in the Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area, namely, (1) High-rise and discontinuous modern fabric (2) Discontinuous mid-to-high-rise fabric of mixed land use (3-4) Peripheral low-to-mid-rise discontinuous mixed fabric (5) Industrial and logistic techno-fabrics (6) Residential hyper-compact continuous fabric (7) Residential compact continuous fabric (8) suburban planned single-house residential fabric (9) ex-urban irregular fabric with natural spaces. “MostProb” variable provides the higher probability of each proximity band, which is the main output cross analyzed with field observations in Perez et al., 2019. Results are based upon the processing of morphological indicators calculated using the following datasets: 2013/14 Zmap-TOWN II (ZENRIN Residential Maps) for building coverage and Digital Road Map Database extended version 2015.
MDPI and ACS Style

Perez, J.; Araldi, A.; Fusco, G.; Fuse, T. The Character of Urban Japan: Overview of Osaka-Kobe’s Cityscapes. Urban Sci. 2019, 3, 105.

AMA Style

Perez J, Araldi A, Fusco G, Fuse T. The Character of Urban Japan: Overview of Osaka-Kobe’s Cityscapes. Urban Science. 2019; 3(4):105.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Perez, Joan, Alessandro Araldi, Giovanni Fusco, and Takashi Fuse. 2019. "The Character of Urban Japan: Overview of Osaka-Kobe’s Cityscapes" Urban Science 3, no. 4: 105.

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