2014 Volume 123 Issue 4 Pages 600-613
The range of Tokyo's big-city functions and activities roughly corresponds to an area of 100km in diameter circumscribed by the planned Ken-O (or Metropolitan Inter-City) Expressway. This basically defines the range of daily economic and social activity in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Tokyo's strength and appeal as a city lie in the way the entire megalopolis has come to function as one vast center of intellectual activity. Today, in response to the emergence of an advanced information society, office buildings are being transformed from places for performing routine administrative tasks to bases for the transmission and reception of information and centers for the kind of knowledge-intensive activity that generates wealth. In the advanced information age, the core function of the office building has evolved from mass-processing of paperwork and clerical tasks to the creation and exchange of knowledge. The amorphous and flexible system makes Tokyo's management both unique and practical. In Tokyo the role in support, development and mutual aid is largely performed by neighborhood associations and other local community organizations. The key characteristics of Tokyo's rail network are the large number of stations, the existence of two complete loop lines, and interline through service between subways and private rail lines. These features are the product of various measures developed during the period of rapid economic growth to make long-distance commuting as smooth as possible for massive numbers of commuters. As a result, Tokyo now has the most convenient rail network of any city in the world. When planning road traffic, the most rational approach is to add several restricted-access ring roads to a city's grid-pattern street plan, constructing them in such a way that they pass under or over other streets. Tokyo has such a plan. Tokyo can now boast a four-runway airport within 15 kilometers of the city center. Tokyo proposes to hold the Olympic Games not in the outer neighborhoods or the suburbs but right in the heart of the city. Cities evolve and the Olympics have a way of accelerating the process. The key is to ensure that evolution is not confined to any one city but contributes to the evolution of human society as a whole. Instead of being an industry-focused metropolis, Tokyo should aim to be a center for the arts, entertainment and sports. Tokyo should show the world a new model of a matured society, in which the quality of life is enhanced. The capital already leads other cities with facilities for elderly citizens and disabled people, but Tokyo still has room to improve as a barrier-free society.