Research Interests and Topics

Research Interests

Global Japan Studies Interview (January 12, 2018)

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.

Applying Global Ecodistrict Framework to Japanese Low Carbon Community Development

Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science | April 1, 2018 - March 31, 2021

Urban System Design Approach to Smart Cities and Communities

Collaboration with Dr. Perry P. J. Yang (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Dr. Yoshiki Yamagata (National Institute for Environmental Studies/Keio University)

Research Project Publications Workshops and Symposiums Smart City Studio (Co-Design Experiment with Georgia Institute of Technology and National Institute for Environmental Studies/Keio University) Links

Urban Place Management in Japan

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

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.

Implementing United Nations' New Urban Agenda. Universities in action (UNI-NUA) - Completed Project

Partners: Politecnico di Torino (P.I. Claudia Cassatella) and The University of Tokyo (P.I. Akito Murayama) | Funded by Compagnia di San Paolo within the Politecnico di Torino Joint Projects for the Internationalization of Research 2017 | September 20, 2017 - September 19, 2018

UNI-NUA aims at developing a better understanding of the mechanisms and opportunities for universities' engagement in complex territorial governance processes and of the actual potentials for knowledge transfer and multidisciplinary joint action in spatial planning practices. In so doing, this project will provide a relevant contribution in the direction of the United Nations' NUA, calling for a further engagement of the academic sector in territorial actions towards sustainable and resilient urban development (UN, 2016; article 149 and following).

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

Online Course Book Chapters Governmental Documents