Energy / Climate Change

August 24, 2007


Environment Ministry Recommends Urban Centralization to Curb Global Warming

Keywords: Climate Change Government 

The Japanese Ministry of the Environment released a report in March 2007 recommending the centralization of cities. The report is the outcome of meetings held by the ministry since 2005 to explore the necessity for city planning that takes into account global warming countermeasures in order to drastically reduce greenhouse gases.

As city functions become decentralized, per capita CO2 emissions from automobiles and the passenger transport sector increase. This report points out that it is essential to review the way cities are structured in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In Japan, urban functions have been increasingly decentralized - residential areas and large-scale retail stores are being built in the suburbs and even public facilities such as city halls and hospitals are being transferred to the suburbs. Such decentralization has generated a situation in which people cannot lead convenient lives without driving their own cars.

Based on the relatively new concept that natural resources such as waterfronts, green areas and ventilation pathways are important city infrastructure for improving the quality of life, the ministry suggest that in future, urban development should incorporate this kind of natural resource, such as large-scale street tree planting projects, and a well-developed public transportation system.

The report also mentions that centralized cities will increase daily life convenience for seniors and others who cannot drive, reduce infrastructure maintenance and other burdens on public finances, and revitalize local communities. It concludes that centralizing cities while taking global warming countermeasures into account will improve the environment, people's lives and the economy.

Posted: 2007/08/24 09:57:27 AM
Japanese version