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Following the crucial elements of Starbucks, urban farming and lush islands, here is a fourth facet of japan: Its rivers, and the distinct lack of water-front development. Not quite the result of a deep respect for the natural path of water through land; Tokyo’s rivers have a history of extreme engineering from the Edo period’s diversion of Tone River away from Tokyo Bay to allow the swampy city to harden and grow. The frequent flooding of Japan’s ‘steep, short and flashy’ rivers invited Dutch engineering in the Meiji Restoration period. Two decades of economic boom brought rapid urbanisation and severe water pollution, halted by the 1970s energy crisis. Only after this a period of conservation and of Shin-sui (playing with water) and the 1990 adoption of Ta Shizen Gata Kawa Zukuri (nature-oriented river works) to mirror the German Natur-naher Wasserbau (near-natural water engineering). More about that by Nakamura, K et al (2006) here.
Kamogawa in Kyoto is full of Shin-sui; a long stretch of cycle-path, well-performing poodles, banks of wild flowers, big turtle-shaped stepping stones. Kyoto ‘turns its back on the river’ (tediously forbidden by urban designers) with stunning result.

One Comment

  1. Charles N wrote:

    Beautiful place. Thanks for the share. Have a blessing day ahead.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 1:00 am | Permalink

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