Spatial distribution and relocation potential of isolated dwellings in Japan using developed micro geodata


This research analyzes the spatio-temporal distribution of isolated dwellings; i.e., those with no surrounding neighborhood, throughout Japan for 2009 and 2014 using developed residential micro geodata. We then calculate the lifeline utility maintenance costs and benefits in relation to relocating residents to the city center. The main results are as follows. First, the number of isolated dwellings decreased nationwide although the rate of isolated dwellings increased, predominantly in mountainous areas and remote islands. Second, there was no significant relationship between isolated dwellings and aging rate according to municipality-level aggregated data; however, the aging rate of isolated dwellings was higher than that of non-isolated dwellings according to pinpoint non-aggregated data. Finally, calculations of lifeline utility costs and migration promotion expenses indicate that almost all municipalities in Japan could recover relocation promotion expenses in 13 years, provided that migration promotion expenses are 10 million Japanese yen (JPY) per isolated dwelling. However, convincing residents to agree to relocation can be challenging. Moreover, the benefits of isolated dwellings should also be considered; i.e. ecotourism, cultural values, traditional societies, and freedom of residence. The spatial analysis and modeling results of this study can be used to promote vital public involvement in city management through discussion and information sharing among stakeholders. Therefore, future work will improve the calculation process to promote discussion on sustainable city management.

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Source Cabinet Office, Government of Japan 2018)

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This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI, Grant Numbers JP 15K12453 (Grant-in-Aid for Challenging Exploratory Research), JP 16K21595 (Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B)), and the Joint Usage/Research Center, Research Center for San-En-Nanshin Regional Collaboration, Aichi University. In addition, authors were provided residential maps of Japan by CSIS, The University of Tokyo (joint research No. 122 and No. 695).

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Correspondence to Chiaki M. Akiyama.

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Akiyama, C.M., Akiyama, Y. Spatial distribution and relocation potential of isolated dwellings in Japan using developed micro geodata. Asia-Pac J Reg Sci 3, 605–621 (2019).

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  • Isolated dwelling
  • Remote location
  • Lifeline maintenance cost
  • Relocation promotion expenses
  • The residential map
  • Micro geodata

JEL Classification

  • D61