Build environment: subdivision

Shrine and composition of stones on a tiny plot

‘“Subdivurban” refers to patterns that emerge when a suburb is subdivided after being swallowed in a wave of urbanization. Okusawa, located about ten kilometres from Tokyo station, was developed as Tokyo’s first suburb in the 1920s. Like the Tamagawa Arable Land Administration Project and the development of Denenchofu in the early Showa period, the area was designed to be a pleasant, shrubbery-lined residential area with systematic road maintenance. In recent years, however, as the plots have been subdivided after being inherited by successive generations and used for mini development projects, large properties have been made into strips, cul-de-sacs, and flagpole lots, and the greenery has largely disappeared. The higher the tax assessment becomes, the more likely it is for a large property to be subdivided. This is due to the high inheritance tax that is imposed when the head of a household changes. While in the past, the children would cordially divide up their parents’ land, with the increasingly low birth rate, an only child by necessity must resort to measures such as subdividing and selling the property. By chronologically examining the tendency to divide residential land since 1940 one finds that the area of the lots sold over the last 90 years has shrunk to approximately one third of the original size, or from 240 m2 to 80 m2.’

Kitayama, K., Tsukamoto, Y., and Nishizawa, R. (2010) Tokyo Metabolizing. Tokyo: TOTO publishing

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