Dialectic Developments of ‘City’ and ‘Country’ in Japan’s Metropolitan Regions
Japanese city planning in the 20th century reveals the dialectic developments of ‘City’ and ‘Country’, particularly around the three major metropolitan regions of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. Since land readjustment under the City Planning Law (1919) was based on arable land readjustment, a method to steer the development of arable land was applied to urban areas. In the 1930s, green area plans were drawn up for the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya metropolitan regions and subsequently changed into air defense plans, some of which were realized during the Second World War. These metropolises were completely destroyed by wartime bombing and rebuilt according to reconstruction plans. The green area in the Tokyo Reconstruction Plan (1946–48) and the Suburban Area in the First Metropolitan Area Service Project (1956–58), both of which were based on the former green area and air defense plans, were never realized due to the objection of farmers, who became the owners of agricultural land under the Agricultural Land Reform (1947–). Thereafter, the new City Planning Law (1968) divided the city planning area into so-called ‘urbanization promotion areas’ and ‘urbanization control areas’. While many parcels of agricultural land are included in the former, some building activities are allowed in the latter. ‘Agricultural promotion areas’ are separately designated through the Agricultural Promotion Area Law (1969). Some challenging experiments to harmonize ‘City’ and ‘Country’ have been carried out in peripheral areas, even under the current rather complicated legal system.