Modernist urban visions and the contemporary city




Japan, Underground metro station


The 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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Author Biography

Hein Carola, TU Delft

Carola Hein is Professor and Head, Chair History of Architecture and Urban Planning at Delft University of Technology. She trained in Hamburg (Diplom‑Ingenieurin) and Brussels (Architecte) and earned her doctorate at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg in 1995. She has published and lectured widely on topics in contemporary and historical architectural and urban planning—notably in Europe and Japan—and has authored several articles and books on capital city issues in Brussels, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Berlin, and Tokyo. From 1995 to 1999 she was a Visiting Researcher at Tokyo Metropolitan University and Kogakuin University, focusing on the reconstruction of Japanese cities after World War II and the Western influence on Japanese urban planning. Among other major grants, in 2004, she held a grant by the Brussels-Capital Region Government to investigate the urban location and architectural expression of the European capital function. In 2005-06 she has been working with a grant from the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy for research on Regional integration and land policies affecting the future development of Tallinn, Warsaw, and Budapest. In 2007, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship to pursue research on The Global Architecture of Oil.With an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship she investigated large scale urban transformation in Hamburg in international context between 1842 and 2008. Her current interest is the study of international networks and the transmission of architectural and urban ideas along these networks, focusing specifically on port cities and the global architecture of oil.

Carola Hein has authored The Capital of Europe. Architecture and Urban Planning for the European Union (Praeger, 2004), and has edited Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks London: Routledge; (with Pierre Laconte (eds,)) Brussels: Perspectives on a European Capital. Brussels: Publication of the Foundation for the Urban Environment, 2007. Bruxelles l’Européene: Capitale de qui? Ville de qui?/ European Brussels. Whose capital? Whose city? Brussels: Cahiers de la Cambre-Architecture n 5, Brussels: La Lettre Volée, 2006; (with Philippe Pelletier (eds.)). Cities, Autonomy and Decentralization in Japan. London: Routledge, 2006: (with Jeffry Diefendorf, and Yorifusa Ishida (eds.)), Rebuilding Urban Japan after 1945. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. She has also published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals, books, and magazines.