Tokyo Study Abroad Seminar: Thinning Metropolis: Strategies and Tools for the New Urban Condition

This Course is for students in the Toyko Study Abroad Program.

The aging, thinning population has become the new premise of Tokyo’s urbanism. After a long process of urbanization and growth throughout the 20th century, the population of the mega city is expected to finally hit the limit and will start declining in 2020. The deceleration is already having a negative impact on urban life, notably the burgeoning of old abandoned houses. It is critical to rethink strategies for shaping the city in these unprecedented conditions.

The Tokyo Seminar in spring 2019 will focus on Tokyo’s urbanism from the perspective of population aging and waning. After acquiring basic knowledge of the urban structure, as well as the general social issues of Tokyo, the seminar will delve into new strategies for remedying contradictions caused by these new conditions. Two different approaches will be taken: on the one hand, we will take a close look at some of the experimental architectural or urban projects responding to the conditions and aiming to redirect the way the city is shaped; on the other hand, we will examine mobility and connectivity innovations, which are increasingly important for urbanism.

While students will meet architects and urban planners who will present their works and ideas for the seminar, they will also visit automobile and electronic manufacturers to see the frontline of technology responding to social issues. The seminar culminates in the presentation of each student’s proposal of a strategy for Tokyo in the final round. Throughout the seminar, students will be asked to pursue their own research on given topics, which will be occasionally presented and discussed amongst all.

Enrollment in this course was pre-selected.