Walking in Kamakura

The walkability of central Kamakura is defined by three north-south spines: The Komachi-Dori Shotengai (nighttime walk-through video) Car-free Hokoten every day from 4 pm to 7 pm (Sundays and holidays 10 am to 4 pm). Stretches 590 meters (1,940 feet) north from Kamakura Station (JR East and Enoshima/Enoden lines) to Hachimangu Shrine. The Onari-Dori Shotengai (daytime walk-through video) Car-free Hokoten every day from 4 pm … Continue reading Walking in Kamakura

The Shibuya You Don’t Know

Stock photos and televised clips of Shibuya usually depict only the iconic scramble intersection, but there is a lot more to this central Tokyo neighborhood. In fact, in Shibuya’s liveliest commercial districts, you never have to wait to cross the street (these are the “Nightlife Alleys” described in The Hierarchy of Japanese Streets). The following screenshots from Walking in Shibuya at night by Rambalac reveal a true pedestrian … Continue reading The Shibuya You Don’t Know

Island of Walkability: Onomichi (尾道)

Most of the commercial life of Onomichi is concentrated in a compact strip about 6,400 feet long, varying from ~200 to ~1,000 feet in width.   The fully roofed (アーケード) portion of Onomichi’s central shopping street (商店街) is about 3,000 feet long. This commercial core is separated from the waterfront by two lanes of traffic (one lane in each direction) with a relatively high speed limit (40 … Continue reading Island of Walkability: Onomichi (尾道)

What I learned from #StreetOfTheDay

A Tribute to the photo collections of N. Lewis and D. Boxall My bad habit is looking at pictures of beautiful streets.  I can stare at them for hours in a state of total wonderment.  Because they feel comfortable, safe, welcoming, alive… and nobody seems to know why. But recently, I began to notice a pattern; the best streets all fit the same basic form with regard … Continue reading What I learned from #StreetOfTheDay

Directions to IHJ (International House of Japan)

I have two recommendations for walking to the International House of Japan (IHJ): A 10 minute scenic tour. A 10 minute mole tour (if you want to minimize your time outdoors). The scenic option offers a complete crash course in walkable urbanism, hidden in the most mundane details. As I have written elsewhere, most of our knowledge about how to build a walkable city has yet … Continue reading Directions to IHJ (International House of Japan)

Walkable City – Jiyugaoka (自由が丘)

  Jiyugaoka is one of five major town centers in Tokyo’s Meguro ward (目黒区), which is one of the city’s most densely populated wards, with 49,000 people per square mile. The two train stations which intersect here boast combined daily boardings of approximately 150,000 passengers (CBRE data). This commercial nucleus features a tremendous number of storefronts, all within a 6 minute walk of Jiyugaoka Station:     … Continue reading Walkable City – Jiyugaoka (自由が丘)

Hierarchy of Japanese Streets – Sorakuen Garden (相楽園)

The area southwest of Kitano-cho (the western halves of 中山手通 & 山本通) is notable for hosting many educational institutions: St Michael Nursery, Kobe Kakyo Kindergarten, Kobe Elementary School, Shinko High School, Kobe Chinese School, and Kobe Yamate University.  How safe are the streets for students walking to school? As described previously, streets in Japan can be analysed hierarchically, and classified on a five rank scale.  The streets in this area occupy only … Continue reading Hierarchy of Japanese Streets – Sorakuen Garden (相楽園)

Hierarchy of Japanese Streets – Illustrated

Pedestrian movement paths in Japanese cities can be decomposed hierarchically, proceeding from the narrowest residential laneways to the busiest shopping streets (near rail stations). – As described previously, the highest levels of the pedestrian hierarchy are completely separate from the vehicular network. – The following illustration shows the structure of these streets near Sannomiya station dark green: subway tunnels light green: shopping arcades blue: nightlife alleys peach: … Continue reading Hierarchy of Japanese Streets – Illustrated

Road Diet in Kobe: Fukiai-Minami (葺合南)

  The city of Kobe is currently moving forward with major street improvements which will culminate in the total pedestrianization of downtown’s Sannomiya area (a major commuter rail hub with no less than six stations).  This will greatly enhance the overall appeal of central Kobe, and could be a real game changer for international tourism. The following is a rough translation of this press release, which describes … Continue reading Road Diet in Kobe: Fukiai-Minami (葺合南)

Fractal Order: Organic Cities vs Mechanical Cities

Fractal-like networks effectively endow life with an additional fourth spatial dimension. This is the origin of quarter-power scaling that is so pervasive in biology. Organisms have evolved hierarchical branching networks that terminate in size-invariant units, such as capillaries […] Natural selection has tended to maximize both metabolic capacity, by maximizing the scaling of exchange surface areas, and internal efficiency, by minimizing the scaling of transport distances … Continue reading Fractal Order: Organic Cities vs Mechanical Cities