A CPUL design for Tokyo
Early December 2019, Andre Viljoen returned from his second visit to Tokyo at the invitation of Nerima City’s Mayor. As part of this trip, he was invited to develop a CPUL proposal for an urban farm belonging to Mr Shiraishi, who, with his family, is one of several farmers cultivating land in Nerima for many generations.
As Tokyo expanded during the twentieth century, farmland has been built on, resulting in fragmented urban agriculture, scattered between housing. While urban agriculture in Nerima is still extensive compared to other cities, Nerima’s city planners are now reconsidering the advisability of loosing any more productive landscape. The farmers have remained committed to farming and as the city recognised the ecological, sustainability and social benefits of urban agriculture, consideration is being given as to how it can be integrated more fully into the city’s fabric and appear less like “leftover space”. This is why the city is interested in the CPUL concept as a means to knit urban agriculture into a coherent network of spaces. From our perspective, many ingredients are in place to facilitate this: the farms are productive, there are several outreach programmes run by farmers that enable residents to participate in agriculture, learning and socialising, all of which are significant to Japan as it re-evaluates life-work balance and the consequences of an ageing population.
The drawing above shows a proposal for enhancing a footpath that already exists as a short cut through one of Mr Shiraishi’s fields. By realigning the paths, a central gathering space is easily formed, enabling a public space to meet and the site for a local market. By developing a “thick edge” to one side of the path, people are encouraged to stop and linger, sit, read, play, talk and enjoy being adjacent to farmland, while not disrupting the farmers work.
For further information on Andre’s presentation about urban agriculture in London and the design for Mr Shiriashi’s farm see here.
For information, in Japanese, on Mr Shiriashi’s farm and activities see here.
For information on the design of the project see here.
Image: Proposal for an “urban agriculture path” and public gathering space passing through part of Mr Shiraishi’s farm in Nerima City, Tokyo. (source: Andre Viljoen 2019)