1997 Technical Innovation of New Town Development/INTA 21th World Congress, Lisbon

Technical Innovation of New Town Development(INTA 21th World Congress, Lisbon, 1997)

Hirohide Konami

Professor, Toyo University, Faculty of Regional Development Studies

Tokyo, Japan

(Sorry, Figures and Tables are eliminated.)


New Town Development is one of the powerful tool to initiate the regional development and decentralize urban functions in large metropolitan areas. This report reviews the technical change in development technique for both fields of software and hardware based on two examples. One is the Itakura New Town as a home of the new campus of Toyo University and another is Suwano New Town with a unique water treatment system to be sustainable in the coming century.

1. Technical Change in New Town Development

Technical change in new town development can be reviewed from two aspects: engineering technique and know-how of new town development. The progress in engineering technique has contributed not only in the reduction of construction cost but also in the field of environmental improvement. Suwano New Town is one of the examples of this kind of technical innovation. Another technical progress of new town development is the progress in know-how which makes possible to develop a new town even in such less developed area as Itakura Town together with the high engineering technique of soil treatment in a swamp area.

2. Progress of Engineering Technique in Suwano New Town

Suwano New Town is located about 300 km north of Tokyo and aimed to supply high graded residential area to the people of Fukushima City which is just 10 km south of the new town with the population of about 300 thousand. The project area is rather small and 12.6 ha with 288 housing lots.

This new town was designed as a model of sustainable development and established following basic policy.(1) To keep good harmony with climate and natural environment and to encourage the creation of a sustainable new town, 

(2) To design open space as a key to create comfortableness of the community,

(3) To put an importance on the regional history and to create traditional town, and

(4) To promote citizen participation such as community meeting and cooperative work.

In order to realize this basic policy, Suwano New Town installed following devices.

(1) Maximization of the green coverage by planting domestic trees and clover

(2) Under ground installation of electric and telephone lines and beautifully curved street alignment

(3) Installation of underground dam function under the common space to promote the natural recycle of rainfall to the earth and to keep cooler on ground

(4) Preparation of the environment for birds and insects

(5) Preparation of a small conventional facility and regular programs of meetings, seminars and cooperative works

(6) Distribution of natural stone posts at intersections and common spaces on which the historical findings and regional historical stories are written

(7) Introduction of solar energy system for convention facilities

As a whole Suwano New Town is a Japanese model of sustainable development.Fig. 1 Design of Suwano New Town

Fig. 2 Underground Dam of Suwano New Town

3. Change of Know-how of New Town Development in Case of Itakura New Town

Itakura New Town is located about 60 km north of Tokyo. The area was rather low area including some swamps and has been kept undeveloped for a long time even within the commuting distance from Tokyo if a good transportation system is introduced. The project area is about 200 ha and land use plan is as follows with the projected population of 11,000.

residential 73.6 ha 36.4 % 

commercial 7.0 3.4

educational 39.0 19.3

business 11.3 5.5

road 43.7 21.6

green & parks 23.4 11.6

others 4.4 2.2

Total 202.4 ha 100%

Table 1 Land Use Plan of Itakura New Town

The home town of this project is Itakura Town with the population of about 16,000. The land use of the town area was mainly rice field and had no railway service to Tokyo because there is no station while Tobu Nikko Line is running through the project area. Therefore, this project was proposed to construct a new railway station and to develop Itakura Town as an academic core area of the region. Then Toyo University was invited to the area as a central facility.

Traditional way of development was to introduce manufacturers or residential complex but in this case a university was introduced. The advantage of the introduction of a university can be described as follows.(1) Propaganda effect and the image-up as a home town of the well known university 

(2) Activation of the town by the inflow and consumption of professors and students

(3) Possibility of the contribution of professors as domestic resource persons in various aspects

(4) Creation of new job opportunities 

The number of students of 1997 is about 450 of first year students (exceeding the capacity) and will increase about 300 every year, then total number of students after 4 years will be about 1350. To add to this, there is a proposal of a new department named department of international tourism studies which will have the students of about 1000, and graduate schools in the future wilt- have nearly 1000 graduate students. Therefore, grand total number of students in the future will be over 3000. This means that the number of teaching staff in the future will be about 100 or 150. These numbers are big enough to grow Itakura Town into a core city of the region.

Only regret of Itakura New Town is that the existing community in the center of the project site was left as it was. Because this project was implemented by land acquisition method and not by land readjustment method. Therefore, the area where land owners rejected to sell their land was excluded from the project area.Fig. 3 Design of Itakura New Town

Fig. 4 Newly Opened Railway Station

Fig. 5 New Campus of Toyo University

4. Conclusion 

As mentioned above, the policy of new town development has been changing from a large scale completely new development to a medium or small sized new town with some peculiar purposes like Suwano New Town and Itakura New Town.

In addition, there is another kind of software innovation of development technique. For example, in case of Tama New Town in Tokyo, the land acquisition of central area faced great difficulty and they introduced Land Readjustment Technique for the central area of the new town site. This technique is good for every new town site because it is usual that the project area includes some existing residential areas and it is hard to acquire their land. The mixture of land acquisition and land readjustment may become all mighty to develop any areas.