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Conceiving New Urban Commons to Cope with Aging and Depopulating Society of Japan in the 21st Century (Preliminary Summary)

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Mogi, Aiichiro
Conference: The City as a Commons: Reconceiving Urban Space, Common Goods and City Governance, 1st Thematic IASC Conference on Urban Commons
Location: Bologna, Italy
Conf. Date: November 6-7
Date: 2015
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/9976
Sector: Social Organization
Urban Commons
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): anticommons
urban commons
property rights
Abstract: "Until the middle of this century Japan has to cope with aging and depopulating nature of society not only in economic and sociological terms but urban and regional space usage terms. As well as vacant houses and rooms are tending conspicuous in the regions nowadays, the same will be true at metropolitan areas more severely in the near future. In terms of coping with aging society more positive creation of urban commons supporting aged people not in mere welfare measure terms but more in social organizational terms should be a challenge. In order to complement this mandate overhauling the present urban institutional systems is a logical option. If these are overhauled, planning/building permits avoiding outright freedom of owners’ building will should be set at the local level in conforming to the agreed plan/program upon citizen’s consent. Firstly this paper touches upon the situation in the course of Michael Heller’s anticommons, such as coordination failure in the urban high street shopping districts in regional cities in Japan, where renewals are badly needed however, incumbent landowners/shopkeepers do not cooperate together, but only making shuttered streets with numbers of vacant premises is a resulting phenomenon. One the other hand in this paper the case of Marugame-machi shopping street in the center of Takamatsu city is introduced where at the time of redevelopment the longer term-lease is applied for the purpose of sustaining spaces and environment by letting landowners participate the renewal project, then executing the area management with choosing appropriate tenants in cooperation with peer stakeholders for commercial feasibility. Although this endeavor is still rare in Japan, such scheme surely subdues the position of landownership and enhances joint-usage of spaces basing potential urban commons. Lastly, this paper touches upon the old 'Garden City' concept and squeezes insights and policy implications. At the end the need of systemic and institutional overhauls is put and some legal changes are proposed."

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