1990 Volume 63 Issue 1 Pages 48-59
In the shinden settlements that were developed in the frontier areas on the Musashino upland, plain forests were a basis for upland field cultivation, providing fallen leaves as fertilizer, and suburban agriculture was dominant there. When new main highways were constructed in such an area, farmers were faced with rapid urbanization. In this study, the responses of farmers to urbanization under the influence of the opening of the Shin-Ohme highway were investigated, taking the case of the border area of Kodaira-shi, Tanashi-shi, and Higashikurume-shi.
Generally, the first response of farmers to urbanization is to find non-agricultural jobs for some of their family members. However, when farmers who have been reluctant to sell their lands sell parts of their lands for roads and to real estate agencies, they usually build or rebuild new houses for themselves or apartment houses or houses for rent on their premises with the money earned. Some farmers owing lands along the main highways have leased parts of their lands to automotive-related companies. Leased lands are used as new and used car shops, restaurants, material depositories, warehouses, and distribution centers.
As a side business which makes use of agricultural lands, the operation of sports facilities such as golf practice ranges is outstanding. In the area considered here, six golf practice ranges have been constructed, producing one of the largest concentration of golf practice ranges. Some ranges have not only a batting practice range and tennis courts next door to them, but also a restaurant or a golf shop for customers. Farmers who operate specialized sports facilities are therefore no longer farmers but entrepreneurs.
The increase in land prices makes it difficult for an average salaried worker to buy a detached house, but urban farmers have built apartment houses or houses for rent, which accommodate a large population. Thus, the population density has risen in this area.
Furthermore, since increasing car ownership has created a large demand for parking lots, many urban farmers have constructed them. In this way, urban farmers get income from such non-agricultural activities as operation of apartment houses or houses for rent and lease of lands. In the remaining cultivated lands, farmers grow vegetables under contract with supermarkets, or sell them directly.