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Transience and durability in Japanese urban space

ROBINSON, WILFRED,IAIN,THOMAS (2010) Transience and durability in Japanese urban space. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The thesis addresses the research question “What is transient and what endures within Japanese urban space” by taking the material constructed form of one Japanese city as a primary text and object of analysis. Chiba-shi is a port and administrative centre in southern Kanto, the largest city in the eastern part of the Tokyo Metropolitan Region and located about forty kilometres from downtown Tokyo.

The study privileges the role of process as a theoretical basis for exploring the dynamics of the production and transformation of urban space. Three aspects of temporal experience identified by Giddens – routine, biographical and institutional time – are adopted as a framework for considering how the dynamics of social reproduction are expressed in terms of transience and durability within urban form.

A methodology is developed to explore the changing interrelationship between six conceptual ‘entities’ – the individual, household, dwelling, establishment, premises and site. Metrics are identified for each to facilitate a consistent analysis over time of the changing relationship between these based on a formal diachronic longitudinal survey. An analysis of the spatial transformation of the material form of the city between 1870 and 2005 was completed based primarily on recording the changing use over time of about 4,500 sample points.

The outcome of the study is presented in five substantive chapters. The first considers characteristics of the layout of neighbourhoods and dwellings that have endured largely through their close association with processes of social reproduction. The following four chapters examine chronologically the evolution of the city, documenting transformations in urban form and their expression in terms of changing use of volumes of space, the characteristic infrastructure, premises and dwelling types, and how these relate to broader trends in Japanese history. The final chapter summarises the interrelationship of these transformations and draws some conclusions concerning what promotes transience and durability in an urban environment.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Japan, Chiba-shi, urban space, processes, transience, durability
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Sep 2010 14:20

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