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2009 Vol.4
A Proposal for Japanese-Style Sustainable Cities

2009/10/01

Due to growing concerns over global environmental issues, the concept of”sustainable development”has been advocated, which has induced a reconsideration of how the economy should develop and grow. The word”sustainable”is presently used in many situations; however, careful attention is necessary because the word is occasionally used outside the context of the aforementioned concept of sustainable development, depending on what is being made sustainable. Sustainable cities-the topic of this article-have two aspects. One is that the quality of life of the residents of such cities improves continually; the other is that activities in such cities do not undermine sustainability of other areas. Effective approaches for the realization of sustainable cities include maintaining and improving the stock of infrastructure that supports the residents’ quality of life and increasing efficiency in the provision of energy and public services while limiting the scale of urban spatial expansion. Cites in Japan must attain sustainability while facing difficult conditions such as an aging and declining population and fiscal crises. However, the development of public transportation networks such as railroads has proven to be a favorable factor in realizing sustainable cities. The accumulation of know-how regarding transportation and energy grid systems as well as countermeasures for global warming is expected to produce stocks of knowledge valuable for urban management systems. Such knowledge potentially provides seeds of new industries and contributes to sustainable development of the economy.

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