2 Tokyo - Cityscape and residential areas

The city had 2 million habitants before the industrialization era. Since the 17th century, every second generation of its inhabitants learned about the irrelevance of the individual and the helplessness when facing the blazing fires and disastrous earthquakes. In terms of constructions, the city tributes to the frequent and strong earthquakes.

Due to these (expensive) requirements, Tokyo’s skyscrapers are mostly of the same height. Unlike in other Asian metropolises, Tokyo’s high-rises are rather cubic, not very high and pointed. The highest of those buildings measures "just" 255 meters. Compared to other southeast Asian cities, this is rather short.


Table of contents:
  • 2.1 Cityscape
  • 2.2 Facades
  • 2.3 Residential Towers
  • 2.4 Residential Areas
  • 2.5 The Machiya - small homes in portrait
  • 2.6 Inside the Machiya



2.1 Cityscape





2.2 Facades

While in most European countries building regulations are ensuring that all buildings are somehow visually fitting to their surrounding, Tokyo is free of such constraints.

Thus, the sight that opens up is really chaotic. Old and new are placed side by side, various eaves heights, balconies next to power cables, windows close to bright billboards, wood and concrete, tiled walls and antennas on the roof. Narrow gaps of ten centimeters between the buildings mark the property line.







2.3 Residential Towers

In case of an earthquake, the expensive residential high-rise complexes maintain the physical security of its inhabitants through canned food, drinking water and emergency power generators. Security guards don't play a major role: the crime rate is very low in Japan.






2.4 Residential Areas

All over Tokyo, very typical residential areas appear between the multiple city centers of Tokyo.  In the old ones there are small homes, flat and fragile with thin walls, often made from sheet metal and wood. Everything very dense but each house is stands separately. Most of the sidewalks are decorated with potted plants. Gardens are rare. 
The cacophonic noise, hectic and intrusive advertisements of the inner city seem to be very far away from here.
The outskirts of these districts are protected by a broad street and a block of concrete buildings, which surrounds them like walls.





2.4 The Machiya - small homes in portrait

While the paved streets are empty as usual, the buildings themselves show trust and frankness. From the outside you could see, through the eggshell tainted windows, view people sleeping or having dinner sitting on the floor. Or you can just listen to the sounds of a foreign language penetrating the thin walls.




2.6 Inside the Machiya

The first looks in the inside turned out to be a surprise. Many houses were fully packed.