Modernist urban visions and the contemporary city
Keywords:Japan, Underground metro station
AbstractThe future of the city is underground, says the Urban Underground
Space Center of Japan (USJ, 2016). And Japanese politicians clearly
agree. In 2001, the Diet passed a law about the use of the extreme
underground (daishindo), allowing some development of areas below 40 meters for public services without negotiations with owners of the land aboveground. Underground constructions are already everywhere throughout Japan. Beneath one of the densest and most crowded urban centers (Hongo, 2014), for example, Tokyo Station is connected through more than four kilometers of passageways to neighboring locations, including other major stations. They anchor another bustling city. Long passageways of underground shopping malls with restaurants are connected to subway entrances and to the high-speed Shinkansen Station. Aboveground, the land has seen extensive remodeling, from
careful restoration of the old train station facing the Imperial Palace
(Fig. 1) to the creation of new skyscrapers (Fig. 2) and a new entrance towards the Ginza shopping area (Figs. 3 and 4) (Tokyo Station, 2016).
But below, the new Tokyo Station City, with its old and super-modern elements, attracts tourists and shoppers, not just passengers (Figs. 5 and 6). It has become an attraction in itself. Tokyo Station is not an exception: many other underground shopping malls lie under the capital’s major stations. Close to 3 kilometers of underground passages connect Shinjuku to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government office and other corporate skyscrapers, hotels, and department stores in its vicinity (Figs. 7, 8, and 9).
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