Higashiyamakoen, Nagoya City

Nishiki 2 District, Nagoya City

Downtown, San Francisco

South Waterfront, Portland

Research Interests and Topics


Research Interests

Urban Land Use Planning in Tokyo and Japan (Materials in English)


Reconsidering Community-Based Urban Planning for a Sustainable and Resilient Future

Cities in Japan are facing contemporary issues such as decline of working population, hyper-aging, economic stagnation, widening disparity, governments' financial difficulties, intensification of environmental problems (including climate change, energy, food, water, etc.) and frequent occurrence of disasters (major earthquake, tsunami, typhoon, isolated rain, volcanic eruption, etc.), and creative responses to these issues are called for. In addition, innovative approach in urban planning is demanded by the development in research and practice of urban planning-related fields, the development of information technologies, the diversification of people's lifestyles and values, and the rise of Japanese-style community development (machizukuri). On the other hand, the current urban planning system in Japan based on the City Planning Act of 1968 that presupposes growth is not able to respond adequately to these contemporary demands, and unfortunately, the discussion for institutional innovation is not yet active. In these circumstances, there are various trials to respond to the contemporary issues in the scenes of municipal urban planning, community development and supporting research and development where we are able to discover the direction of innovation in Japanese urban planning system. This presentation, based on some trials in practice, research and development, reconsiders the framework of community-based urban planning for a sustainable and resilient future.

Akito Murayama: Reconsidering Community-Based Urban Planning for a Sustainable and Resilient Future (PDF)
Presented at Japan-German Joint Seminar: Toward Sustainable and Resilient Urban Planning, September 8-9, 2015, Nagoya University

Land Use Planning for Climate Change Response and Disaster Mitigation

Cities in Japan are facing both progressive and sudden risks that should be considered in long-range land use and infrastructure planning. "Networked Compact City" or any other sustainable urban form has been considered to respond to the progressive risks including decline of working population, hyper-aging, economic stagnation, widening disparity, governments' financial difficulties and intensification of environmental problems such as climate change, energy, food and water. Recently, more proactive planning measures are called for to respond to the sudden risks including major earthquake, tsunami, typhoon, isolated rain and volcanic eruption. It is inevitable to direct the de-intensification or even the withdrawal of existing urban areas at high risks in long-range planning for Japanese cities where consensus building and decision making process will be a great challenge. Web-based Disaster Mitigation Planning System equipped with various geographical information of urban region including existing conditions and plans related to land use and infrastructure as well as disaster assumption of earthquake, landslide, land liquefaction, tsunami and flood can play an important role in assessing urban resilience and understanding the planning issues related to the progressive and sudden risks. Trials of collaborative workshops using the system in the Greater Nagoya Region allowed researchers, planners and decision makers to come up with some new ideas of long-range land use and infrastructure planning and also suggested the strong need for cooperation among the municipalities within the region.

Akito Murayama, U Hiroi and Yoshihiro Chiba: Development and Application of Web-based Geographical Information System to Assess Urban Resilience: Land Use and Infrastructure Planning for the Greater Nagoya Region, Japan (PDF)
Presented at Workshop on Tools and Indicators for Assessing Urban Resilience, December 7-10, 2015, The University of Tokyo, organized by Global Carbon Project-Tsukuba International Office in Collaboration with NIES, APN, UGEC, WUDAPT and IR3S

Homes-uP - Single-Family Homes under Pressure?


The Importance of Urban Place Management in Japan

The population of Japan has reached its peak of 128 million in 2004 and is expected to decline to 90 million in 2055.  At the same time, the percentage of elderly population (persons 65 years old and over) will increase from 19.6% in 2005 to 40.5% in 2055.  Though the population is beginning to shrink, cities in Japan continue to expand and disperse due to suburban housing and commercial developments.  Excessive suburban developments have already spurred the decline of traditional urban centers and neighborhoods, resulting in the loss of great urban places.  In order to achieve sustainability and high quality of life for all generations, we need to stop automobile-dependant suburban developments and regenerate existing urban centers and neighborhoods well supported by public transit.

One of the major issues of urban regeneration in Japan is that most urban centers and neighborhoods are shaped without clear spatial visions and strategies.  Mixed use and vibrant looking vernacular urban places, often praised by European and American planners and urban designers, are merely the accidental results of market economy and loose land use/building regulations, and are actually vulnerable in many ways.  Therefore, it is important for urban centers and neighborhoods in Japan to have clear spatial visions and effective strategies to be regenerated to attractive urban places.  It goes without saying that various actors including citizens, businesses, governments and non-profit organizations take part in such urban regeneration.  We should explore and apply systems, procedures and techniques to make possible the collaborative and sustainable management of urban places by various actors of society.

The methodology for place management and development should be diverse with different social, economical and cultural backgrounds, but there are many things to learn from each other.  I am looking forward to the international discussions.

Akito Murayama:The Importance of Urban Place Management in Japan
Journal of Place Management and Development Vol.1 No.1 p.24, 2008


EcoDistricts and Neighborhood Sustainability Assessment

Akito Murayama: Experiences in Nishiki 2 District (PDF)
Presented at Workshop Session: Opening Up the Black Box of Research-Practice, September 15, 2016, EcoDistricts Research Forum

Akito Murayama: The Implementation of Municipal Low-Carbon City Strategy though Community Development in Existing Urban Area: The Case of Nagoya City and Nishiki 2 Low-Carbon Model District (YouTube)
Presented at International Conference: Urban Governance in the Network Society: France, Thailand and Japan, January 19-20, 2017, Rhone Department & Metropolitan Archives, Lyon, France

Free access to:
Ayyoob Sharifi and Akito Murayama: Viability of using global standards for neighbourhood sustainability assessment: insights from a comparative case study
Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Jan. 2014

Audio slides of the co-authored paper:
Ayyoob Sharifi and Akito Murayama: Neighborhood Sustainability Assessment in Action: Cross-Evaluation of Three Assessment Systems and Their Cases from the US, the UK, and Japan
Building and Environment http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2013.11.006

Akito Murayama ()