Expanding Japan’s Technology Globally via Transit-Oriented Urban Development

A way of transforming railways from something people don’t want to use into something convenient and attractive to use

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With traffic jams being normal in large cities in Asia, it is apparent that long commuting times hinder work progress and leave no time for family gatherings. This has arisen from the rapid influx of labor forces accompanying substantial urban development. Moreover, traffic problems have resulted not only in traffic jams but also traffic accidents, noise, and serious air pollution stemming from exhaust gas. In keeping, all large cities in Asia are beginning to aim to break society away from being car-centered and towards being mass-transit centered.

Utilizing Japan’s experience overseas

There is now a growing movement to utilize overseas Japan’s technology and expertise in station-centered urban development, Japan’s experience with which has spanned over 100 years. In Asian countries, railways have sometimes had the image of being unsanitary, inconvenient, and lacking in public security. To eradicate this image and promote the use of mass transit, it is necessary to make taking trains a pleasant experience and to create environments so that people understand that transferring or disembarking at stations and moving around them can be a new and enjoyable thing to do.

Transit-oriented development

An effective method of achieving this is ransit-oriented development, in which stations serve as centers to which the functions of the surrounding towns are linked. This method, which can be described as a kind of specialty, is one that Japan has refined over many years and is something that cities in Asia seek.

To the present, Nikken Sekkei has gained experience in transit-oriented development that creates new values, setting the stage for activity and enjoyment in places like Yokohama Minato Mirai and the Tokyo Station Yaesu Development. It is also assisting with the area around Shibuya Station, which will be changing markedly henceforth. While working on station building design, naturally, Nikken Sekkei has also proposed ways to establish flow by making people’s activities fulfilling by leading the masses of people entering the station to railways and the surrounding commercial facilities. Concerning people flow, coordination among site owners will be necessary to effectively link the various sites around the station, to make things barrier free, for example.

Nikken Sekkei also has vast domestic experience with the complex management and coordination indispensable to making towns convenient. In keeping, the company believes that design includes not only the selection of designs and finishings but also efforts to create new and enjoyable everyday lifestyles for users.

Fulfilling lives, the expansion of which centers on stations

In Japan, stations are no longer just places where people get on and off trains but are also places with daycare centers for children, service branch offices of public institutions, banks and post offices, naturally. They can also have medical clinics, drugstores, grocery stores, restaurants, galleries, and movie theaters, even. In the future, more people in Asia will come to use mass transit if mass transit systems are constructed that correctly and safely carry a high volume of passengers in a short time and then stations and their surrounding environments become conveniently integrated city complexes, like in Japan. Moreover, stations and surrounding environments that enrich daily life are actually mechanisms for modifying people’s behavior, changing society, and fostering awareness.
Having society work in happier ways, in terms of how people feel, and bringing back family gatherings for people in large cities in Asia: making these things happen is one approach that Nikken Sekkei utilizes.

  • Wataru Tanaka

    Wataru Tanaka

    Executive Officer
    Principal, Urban and Landscape Design
    Principal, International Office Group
    Principal, Corporate Communications

    After completing his master’s degree at The University of Tokyo, Wataru Tanaka joined Nikken Sekkei in 1988, where he specializes in urban planning and urban design. He also holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Harvard University. He has applied his vast knowledge and experience in architecture, urban design and planning, and landscape design to help complete large-scale projects, such as Tokyo Midtown (2007). In recent years, he has turned his focus to overseas urban master planning, transport-oriented development (TOD), and designing public spaces. He is a member of the Japan Institute of Architects and the City Planning Institute of Japan.

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