Sasebo – 佐世保

Sasebo is a small city with a vibrant commercial core.  Most stores and businesses are within a couple blocks of the 20 minute walk shown below: The main commercial area is unified by a continuously roofed arcade (全蓋アーケード) fully three fifths of a mile in length.  It is managed by two Shotengai Associations. Sankacho (aka Sun Plaza) in the NW half: Yonkacho in the SE half: The following diagram … Continue reading Sasebo – 佐世保

Hierarchy of Japanese Streets

The transportation structure of Japanese cities can be decomposed into pedestrian and vehicular networks.  In some places they run side-by-side, in other places they overlap (woonerf), but for the most part, they are completely separate. Both of these networks are hierarchical in form: Hierarchy of Driving 1. Woonerfs – slow and very narrow streets where people and cars mix. 2. Narrow Streets – streets just wide enough for a … Continue reading Hierarchy of Japanese Streets

デッキ論: deck levels vs pedestrian overpasses

What is the difference between a deck level (デッキ) and a pedestrian overpass (歩道橋)?  How can we classify the pedestrian infrastructure at JR Ueno Station, pictured above? The common characteristic: grade separation of motor vehicles and pedestrians. I propose that deck levels have one primary characteristic which distinguishes them from pedestrian overpasses: direct connectivity to adjacent buildings. In pedestrian overpasses, on the other hand, the connectivity is broken … Continue reading デッキ論: deck levels vs pedestrian overpasses

#SuperFlat: Smooth Sidewalks and Vulnerable Populations

For the first time in history, there are many people in the “oldest old” category, and this population continues to grow. These very old people can be considered the “new humans,” recent newcomers in the history of mankind. -Sachiko Kamiyama, The Super Aged Society A lot of factors go into creating a good pedestrian experience.  Many of them are visible and obvious: shade trees, wide sidewalks, narrow roads. … Continue reading #SuperFlat: Smooth Sidewalks and Vulnerable Populations

Kobe High Line 神戸の臨港線

The backbone of the Kobe High Line* is an old elevated railroad track (the Harbor Line / 臨港線), now converted into a pedestrian promenade.  It has been expanded with a new pedestrian overpass (歩道橋) that connects it directly to the Kobe Waterfront and Hanshin Kasuganomichi Station (阪神春日野道駅). The aerial view below shows covered arcades in green, pedestrian bridges and elevated promenades in yellow, and rail stations in … Continue reading Kobe High Line 神戸の臨港線

Amagasaki High Line 尼崎ハイライン(立体遊歩道)

Amagasaki’s High Line* is a raised pedestrian plaza, with direct connections to neighboring buildings at sky level, and multiple public stairs and elevators. It runs approximate 1300 feet (1/6 the length of NYC’s High Line), from Hanshin Amagasaki Station (阪神尼崎駅) at the west end to the Amagasaki Cultural Center at the north end.  Its total surface area is just over 3 acres. Immediately west of the High … Continue reading Amagasaki High Line 尼崎ハイライン(立体遊歩道)

Kobe: Itayado Arcades (板宿商店街)

Itayado Hon-dori (板宿本通) runs north from Itayado Station, and together with a number of branch arcades, it connects 18 city blocks with a continuous glass roof (with the proviso that Shin-machi-dori is not fully connected, strictly speaking). At ~640 feet long, Itayado Hon-dori is one of the shortest arcades in Kobe.  Altogether, this group of arcades has a combined length of only ~1900 feet.  And yet, as … Continue reading Kobe: Itayado Arcades (板宿商店街)

Nagoya: Bus Terminal (Oasis 21) 栄バスターミナル(オアシス21)

“Oasis 21” is an enclosed bus terminal attached to an open-air shopping center.  It is located at the intersection of two major subway lines (and the terminus of a third), and is directly connected to the large underground malls of the Sakae area (e.g. 森の地下街、クリスタル広場). It is a “3D” station, with four layers.  From top to bottom: A publicly accessible glass roof.  This “Spaceship-Aqua” is covered in water, save … Continue reading Nagoya: Bus Terminal (Oasis 21) 栄バスターミナル(オアシス21)

諸駅網(しょ えき もう)

同名異駅(それよりも連結の諸駅)が複数集まれているの現象は日本では珍しくない。それどころか、同名・連結の諸駅は日本の特徴である。 「三宮駅」って、いったい何を示しているか。「三宮」と言うの駅は、6つもあるよ。 西神・山手線の「三宮」 阪急神戸線の「神戸三宮」 JR神戸線の「三ノ宮」 ポートライナーの「三宮」 阪神本線の「神戸三宮」 海岸線の「三宮・花時計前」 特定の一つの駅ではなく、その連結領域を示したいの場合、いかにはっきり区別できるか。「諸駅網」と言うの用語を提案する。話し言葉で「もろもろ えき の あみ」と言います。 諸駅網の代表的な例: 三宮 梅田 渋谷 新宿 池袋     Continue reading 諸駅網(しょ えき もう)