Jorge Almazán et al., "Emergent Tokyo: Designing the Spontaneous City" (Oro Editions, 2024)


If ancient Kyoto stands for orderly elegance, then Tokyo, within the world’s most populated metropolitan area, calls to mind–– jam-packed chaos. But in Emergent Tokyo: Designing the Spontaneous City (Oro Editions, 2022), Professor Jorge Almazán of Keio University and his Studio Lab colleagues ask us to look again—at the shops, markets, restaurants and tiny bars in back alleys, side streets and underneath highway bridges and rail lines. Within walking distance of a commuter rail station, small wood frame detached houses on tiny lots define a cohesive neighborhood. The order underlying a seemingly chaotic cityscape makes for an eminently livable city. Finishing this remarkable study, the reader may ask—have we been overlooking under-utilized space in my town? Why not little houses on small lots? Why can’t we walk to a shop around the corner? If Jane Jacobs’ Death and Life of Great American Cities opened your eyes, then consider Emergent Tokyo. With Dr. Almazán as our guide, Tokyo has much to teach.

James Wunsch, Emeritus Professor of Historical Studies, Empire State College (SUNY)

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James Wunsch

James Wunsch is Emeritus Professor of Historical and Educational Studies at SUNY Empire State.

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