Views within and from a city make spatial experiments productive. These views make it easier to understand the importance of the image of a city as several urban planners and designers have indicated. On the basis of literature reviews and data gathered from the author's research on views in Tokyo, this paper establishes four phases, namely “foundation,” “creation,” “obscuration,” and “conservation” for views in Edo and Tokyo in an urban transformation context.
First, in the foundation phase, this paper focuses on mountain vistas. Block planning in the early Edo period is considered to have been affected by the orientations of Mt. Fuji, Mt. Tsukuba, and a small hill inside the urban area. It also covers views within places of interest that attracted artists, and indicates such undulating landscapes were chosen deliberately.
Second, this paper analyzes some views created under modern town planning and urban design systems and techniques, specifically those based on baroque-style urban design in which some vistas of monumental structures such as the Diet Building and Tokyo Station were embedded into the existing urban space. Furthermore, new views created when developing public spaces utilizing existing views or existing monuments reconstruct the spatial order.
Third, many views have been obscured in central Tokyo, where building space has become increasingly dense. Furthermore, views of landmarks have also been blocked or restricted by new buildings. Nowadays, there are few Fujimi
slopes from which we can command a view of Mt. Fuji. Moreover, vistas and landscapes of traditional Japanese gardens have been artificially disturbed by developments in their settings.
Finally, in the conservation phase, Tokyo metropolitan government and local authorities of their respective wards have introduced a system, which we call the “View Conservation Plan,” since the “Landscape Act” was established in 2004. Some vistas of an outstanding monument, landscapes of traditional Japanese gardens, and several local views have at last been recognized to require protection. However, these plans are still at an early stage and we have yet to verify their effectiveness. Furthermore, we must continue to improve views in terms of both theory and management techniques.
On the basis of these discussions, this article concludes that we need sophisticated theories and techniques of view management planning particularly to consider how we can create new views, while taking into account existing urban issues, and we need to come up with ideas for taking advantage of views as local resources to raise a shared awareness of the importance of views in our daily experiences.
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