Urban Regeneration and the Shift of Planning Approaches: The Case of Japanese Regional Cities

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Abstract

Japan’s population started to decrease in 2005. Large cities with populations exceeding 1 million people are forecasted to continue seeing population increases until 2015, while the populations of small to medium-sized cities have already started to decline. Thus, the competition for growth among small to medium-sized cities is particularly harsh. Another demographic issue to consider is aging. Japan is the world’s fastest aging society and it is predicted that nearly one-third of the total population will be over 65-years old in 2030. It is surely a big challenge to find ways to maintain social vitality in an aging society. Rural areas surrounding regional cities are aging much more quickly than large metropolitan areas such as Tokyo. Thus, regional cities that serve as central cities of fast aging rural areas play important roles as driving forces of regional economic development.