City Core River Forum 2007: Overview
Attendees of over 100 from various fields exchanged opinions actively
in the forum.
Three workshops with different themes shared goals and viewpoints,
where we could find several common keywords for solutions for our general
theme, "Post-City Core Rivers: What Do We Need Now?"
The keywords included "analysis of current situation". "Original
landscape" is also focused for renovation from the historical viewpoint.
From the ecological viewpoint, it is important to analyze Edo-Tokyo using the
Water and waterfronts of Tokyo were utilized in divers manners. Waterfront provided
the place for exchange where users carried clear responsibilities. In other words,
urban activities were always developed along waterfronts. However, in the process
of modernization, waterfronts were separated from cities for rationality. Again,
the age of waterfront renovation has come, and we face several issues as described
For example, recent revaluation of waterfront area has pulled up real-estate
values. As a result, high-rise and mid-rise condominiums stand together. We can
see many places where such developments have proceeded intermittently. We are
sure that restrictions on such developments should have been imposed by administration.
In reality, the relationship between water renovation and economical elements
cannot be neglected. So we should have discussions based on the recognition of
social and economical realities.
The major points for session meetings are as follows: the dredging of waterways
(session 1: Urban rivers as bustling place and tourism resource), water quality
(session 2: Tomorrow's rivers in Tokyo to be improved with citizens), and cases
of Motomachi Park (session 3: Landscape seen from rivers and banks). The shared
theme included water circulation, landscape, and gathering spots along waterfronts,
Above all, "link" is the keyword of all sessions. Based on the themes
such as human network and collaboration, or headwaters, head streams, upstream,
midstream, and downstream, links between human-human, water-water, and thing-thing
were focused. In this context, understanding as a loop (session 1), network and
circulation of outer moat (session 2), and importance of network and root around
Motomachi Park and surrounding areas (session 3), were highlighted. Through the
sessions, the correct knowledge of history and field research has been re-acknowledged
as the effective method. The waterfront will be most appropriate space for linking
people, if it will be positioned as a place for meeting and discussions among
people from various fields, such as officers, office workers, local residents,
NPO members, etc. Furthermore, we should focus on activities to bring rivers
flowing along the border of wards into "borderless"; e.g. construction
of Sakura-bashi (bridge), reconsideration of Koto Sumida, and water bus.
Another important keyword, is "complex". Various activities such
as water quality tests, events, and environmental improvement should be conducted
simultaneously from the multiple viewpoints. In Tokushima, for example, ditches
were cleaned up, theater was built, and administration evaluated and supported
these activities. Next goal is to utilize waterfront on a daily basis. To reach
the goal, payability, active utilization of ship transportation, and easing of
regulations will be added. From that aspect, the case of Osaka should be noted.
In summary, historical values should be revaluated. Whole city area including
waterfront should become a showcase, in which everyone interested and participated,
and obtain inspiration for next age. Some European port towns are good examples
of "creative city". This idea can be typically seen in cities in Holland
and Yokohama where historical buildings such as warehouses have been renovated.
Exchanges have been generated along the waterfront, resulting to activate economic
activities. Such bustling space attracts young people, generating another waterfront.
Various viewpoints were presented based on different positions for the urban
river forum. We are sure that the forum played important role to create the network
focusing on water. It is expected that the network will be retained and reinforced.