SCIENTIA GEOGRAPHICA SINICA ›› 2011, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (3): 302-308.doi: 10.13249/j.cnki.sgs.2011.03.302

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Changes in Spatial Structure of Japanese Metropolitan Areas Since 1990s

HINO Masateru1, LIU Yun-Gang2   

  1. 1. Earth Science, Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8578, Japan;
    2. School of Geography and Planning, SUN Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510275, China
  • Received:2010-10-20 Revised:2011-02-20 Online:2011-03-20 Published:2011-03-20

Abstract: This paper aims to present a general view of changes in spatial structures of Japanese metropolitan areas after the 1990s based on previous studies. Discontinuation of suburban expansion and recovery of inner area population have been observed in the Tokyo metropolitan area since the 1990s. Both the collapse of land myth and the continuous decrease in land price during the 1990s were pointed out as major factors directly contributing to these phenomena. The land myth which kept the land value increasing had induced vigorous investments in land since the post-war rapid economic growth period. This movement had been busted in the collapse of bubble economy of the late 1980s. As a result, the amount of land supplies in the inner part of Japanese metropolitan areas became increased, and the construction of affordable condominiums became active significantly. On the other hand, the trend of low birthrate weakened the inner-to-suburb residential migration in metropolitan areas according to life cycle. Increasing number of aged residents prefer condominiums in the inner areas to detached houses in suburbs because of convenience in living without depending on automobiles. In fact, there were many senior citizens who migrated from suburbs to inner areas. On the contrary, the residential areas without adjacency to the convenient public transportation system in outer suburbs tend to become less popular among all generation, thus the population in such areas began to decrease. Furthermore, the similar phenomena are also seen in provincial metropolitan areas. Population in such areas is predicted to decrease in the near future. Therefore, some of major provincial cities have already proposed "compact city planning" policies to regulate new suburban development and improve public transportation systems by providing both train and bus services in the inner areas.

CLC Number: 

  • F291.1