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Denenchōfu: Building the Garden City in Japan

Ken Tadashi Oshima
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
Vol. 55, No. 2 (Jun., 1996), pp. 140-151
DOI: 10.2307/991116
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/991116
Page Count: 12
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Denenchōfu: Building the Garden City in Japan
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Abstract

This article attempts to identify the fundamental physical and ideological elements that shape Japanese urbanism. It examines the development of the suburb of Denenchōfu near Tokyo as an example of Ebenezer Howard's garden city idea and shows how it met the needs of a new social order during the period of modernization. Denenchōfu was planned and developed outside of Tokyo at the beginning of the twentieth century by a group, led by Meiji period developer Eiichi Shibusawa, that was inspired by Howard's urban planning ideas. Like most garden cities. Denenchōfu was transformed over time into a relatively conventional suburb. Nevertheless it became one of the most successful planned developments in Japan. Part of this success stems from its timely completion, which coincided with the huge population exodus from Tokyo following the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 as well as from its prime location on the rapidly developing suburban railway network. Drawing from Japanese sources, this analysis traces the planning process of the project. It also examines the role of design guidelines and continuities with premodern forms in shaping the overall urban plan and individual houses.

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