2017 Volume 5 Issue 3 Pages 116-133
Understanding the patterns of human concentrations within megacities is of fundamental importance to our understanding of megacity dynamics, and for megacity management and policy making. This study presents an updated investigation of the historical expansion of densely inhabited districts (DIDs) in the world's largest megacity, Tokyo. Long-term DID data (1960-2010) at 5- year intervals were analyzed in a geographic information systems framework. Results show that Tokyo completed rapid growth phase and is now in a maturity phase with minimal growth. Extension was the main form of expansion, although fragmented growth in the form of patches was also noted. The rate of DID expansion was strongly related to economic trends. However the direction and shape of expansion was influenced much by geographic and policy related factors. West and southern directions had earlier and greater expansion, likely related to the historical Tōkaidō corridor. Over 95% of all DIDs are located within 4km distance from a railway line. The coastline and distance from the CBD had some modifying influence. During the course of expansion, there was substantial decrease of population density in the inner wards. Future trends in Tokyo's DIDs will be greatly influenced by aging demographic trends. This study therefore shows that megacity spatial expansion is a dynamic process influenced by various processes whose roles vary over time.