At the 2021 annual conference of the Japan Association for Urban Sociology, we held a symposium on “Neighborhood Effects and Cities in Japan.” Although we planned this symposium as an international one, the pandemic of Covid-19 made it impossible to invite presenters from abroad. Thus we invited three leading researchers in this field living in Japan to the symposium. The three presenters referred to some important topics such as ethnographic research, urban subcultures, urban crimes, neighborhood disorder, health inequalities, and deprivation. The presentations and the discussion raise some important questions. (1) What contexts are important in the research of neighborhood effects? (2) What kind of social process works in neighborhood effects? (3) How can we measure neighborhood environments in the context of social research? We expect that this symposium stimulates theoretical and empirical research on neighborhood effects in the field of urban sociology.
In America and European countries the interest in neighborhood effects has accelerated after the publication of W.J.Wilson's The Truly Disadvantaged. The purpose of this paper is to consider neighborhood effects in Japanese society. Based on researches in public housing areas and a wooden apartment area, I find local community culture which has a negative effect on residentsʼ life chances. At the same time, however, the culture has an important function to support the process of transition from childhood to adulthood in the strained circumstances. By calling for more comparative studies of diversified neighborhoods and poverty, effective support measure can be found.
As with many other social phenomena, spatial patterns exist in crime and delinquency, and neighborhood contextual effects are known as its predictors. The exploration of neighborhood effects through quantitative methods, with multilevel analysis as a central pillar, has led to theoretical developments in criminology, providing a theoretical basis for social developmental crime prevention policies. The paper discusses the cartographic school, social disorganization theory, and systemic theory as ways to formulate neighborhood effects in criminological research, which focuses on spatial aspects. Section 2 discusses collective efficacy, multilevel crime opportunity theory, and devastation theory as important criminological theories that explain neighborhood effects using multilevel analysis. Section 3 introduces the development of empirical studies of neighborhood effects in Asia, including Japan, and Oceania. Section 4 presents examples of empirical research on the neighborhood effects on crime and crime insecurity in large Japanese cities through subregionally aggregable social surveys and systematic social observations. Finally, crime open data and collaboration between researchers and practitioners are presented as future prospects for the study of neighborhood effects of crime in Japan.
This article introduces studies in health geography and social epidemiology about the geographical variations in health observed at the neighbourhood scales and the accumulation of neighbourhood effects research, particularly related to deprivation amplification in Japan. It is considered that, in Japanese society as in Western societies, neighbourhood effects, which occur through the geographical concentration of socioeconomic disadvantage, may work as a spatial-social process that contributes to the shaping of social inequalities in health. However, it is necessary to question what kinds of and how neighbourhood effects, have contributed to emerged social inequalities in health in the context of Japanese urban spaces. It is also crucial to deepen understanding of the mechanisms and historical processes by which they are established through selective migration and environmental changes for effectively tackling the urban problems of health inequalities. The main challenges are (1) to advance systematic analysis of the socioeconomic disparities or determinants of neighbourhood environments, which contribute to a large extent to social inequalities in health, and (2) to consider a temporal and spatial perspective of health inequalities due to neighbourhood effects within cities, with a view to the history of environmental change and residential mobility.
Modern cities are embedded in regional urban systems as economic hubs and must adapt to the competitive global market. Conversely, it is often forgotten that most cities arise from rural areas and are constrained by nature and the history of agricultural landuse. Tensions between the two aspects of the city are meaningful in grasping the causes and consequences of the disaster. Accordingly, this paper explores the reconstruction process in the rural-urban fringe of the Sendai Metropolitan Area following the Great East Japan earthquake. The results indicate that although disaster reconstruction in this area accelerated existing trends of urban development overall, it revealed several frictions and problems caused by unthoughtful agricultural land-use changes. The historical understanding of human adaptation to the natural environment is significant for disaster studies. Furthermore, the approach to disasters from such a viewpoint is also significant for urban studies in understanding the city in the context of nature.
In this study, we created social maps based on socio-economic indicators and income-related indicators to clarify the commonalities and differences in the spatial distribution of income classes in the three major metropolitan areas. In the Tokyo metropolitan area, the high-income group concentrated area located in the center of the city is thickly established, and many low-income groups are seen in the outer periphery. In the Osaka area, high-income groups are concentrated in Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto, and highincome groups are concentrated in the north, creating a sector-type spatial distribution. In the Nagoya area, the sector-type spatial distribution is dominated by the concentration of high-income groups in the southeast and low-income groups in the northwest.
This paper examines how immigrants in metropolitan areas are assimilated into the local housing market. Most work on racial/ethnic disparities in homeownership draw from two different frameworks, spatial assimilation model and place stratification model, both of which were developed in the United States based on the relationship between social and spatial mobility. In Japan, however, it is said that immigrants move up the stratification ladder through homeownership rather than through migration, such as that to a higherquality location like the suburbs. Building on this perspective, this paper explores various factors that account for the ethnic inequality in homeownership and advances migration studies in Japan by dividing housing tenure into four categories–high– and low-quality owner–occupied, high– and low-quality rental–and presents alternative frameworks about housing trajectories, housing assimilation model, and stratified housing model. Analysis of anonymized census data for 2000 and 2010 indicates that the socioeconomic and life-cycle characteristics are associated with homeownership, showing a similar pattern of housing consumption between Japanese and immigrant group. However, for immigrant group, the education level does not account for the probability of attaining low-quality owner-occupied housing, presumably due to the low transfer of human capital in dual labor market in Japan. Marital status also has a large effect on homeownership, while the impact of intermarriage on homeownership attainment varies by head of household's nationality and housing tenure, revealing that an intermarriage premium in the housing market is higher for intermarried families with a native head of household. These findings suggest that there is indeed a homeownership hierarchy in Japan that are partly attributable to institutional barriers in housing and mortgage markets, although immigrants tend to be moderately assimilated into the housing market.
Based on fieldwork and interview surveys conducted in Nishikawaguchi Chinatown, this paper clarifies the actual situation of coexistence between Chinese and Japanese residents in that area. It turns out that there was an occasional conflict between Japanese and Chinese residents from Nishikawaguchi Chinatown concerning the issue of garbage disposal. In general, it has never developed into a noticeable conflict, and a peaceful symbiotic relationship is being established. The reason for this phenomenon is the existence of civil society organizations creating places where Chinese and Japanese residents can contact and interact with each other. The second finding elucidates the process in which ordinary Japanese residents becomes ‘specific persons' who establish a symbiotic relationship with Chinese residents. Japanese inhabitants are distrustful of media reports on Nishikawaguchi as the problem area. Therefore, they want to get in touch with and understand Chinese people instead of believing in the negative image of Chinese people built in the media report. In addition, based on their attachment to Nishikawaguchi, Japanese inhabitants tend to present a crossnational consciousness of ‘our area' to Chinese residents who play an important role in making contributions to improving the regional image. Finally, they've reached a symbiotic relationship between individuals with Chinese residents.
In Japan, the national government has encouraged urban mega-projects under the dogma of “choice and concentration.” This article presents case study of the Nagoya Station area to examine the construction of an urban growth machine in contemporary Japan. In this area, the Central Japan Railway Company (CJRC) conceived the idea of installing a new underground Chuo Shinkansen station under the building. CJRC and other local big businesses including the Toyota Group had rebuilt antiquated buildings from the 1990s to the 2010s. In 2007, CJRC officially announced a plan to construct a maglev line between Tokyo and Osaka named Linear Chuo Shinkansen, and since then this plan has driven redevelopment of the area. The city government set a development plan for the Nagoya Station area in 2014, and this plan defines the framework for the coordination between local stakeholders. The local business community and the city government expressed worries that Nagoya might be subordinated economically to Tokyo by the opening of the maglev line. This case study shows how a mega-project drives a city to growth politics in the post-Fordist era.
Based on administrative documents and testimonies of (former) local government officials, this paper examines the relationship between redevelopment and cultural policy in the urban center of Yokohama City. At the center of the discussion in this paper was the idea that the direction of urban space indicated in past urban policies determines the way urban space is organized today. In the Minato Mirai district, high-rise buildings and housing complexes are still being built one after another as of 2021. This scene symbolizes the urban redevelopment based on global competition among cities since the Fordism crisis. This district was created by waterfront development in the 1980s, and was once called a “creative experimental city,” a term that now seems to have been largely forgotten. However, this term reminds us of the creative city policies that have been seen in municipalities around Japan since the 2000s, which link culture and urban policies. The concept of the “creative experimental city” that arose in the 1990s is one of the variations that has been repeatedly created as an image of the city, although it has something in common with contemporary creative city policies. It has been reduced to a discussion of urban design that interprets “culture” as the preservation of historical landscapes. However, this is hardly an attempt to implement the idea of the creative city, which is to revitalize the creative industries of the city. In this way, the Minato Mirai district, which had proclaimed itself a “creative experimental city,” turned into a space where skyscrapers were “concentrated” for the purpose of inducing capital through “selection,” which is different from a creative city.
This paper examines the effects of living in a disadvantaged neighborhood on university enrollment in Japan. Since Wilson published “The Truly Disadvantaged” in 1987, the effects of living in a disadvantaged neighborhood have been recognized as neighborhood effects in sociological research on urban poverty. In Japan, many case studies have reported the existance of neighborhood effects on educational attainments in disadvantaged neighborhoods. On the other hand, due to shortage of quantitative studies, it has not been clear to what extent the neighborhood effects work in Japan, and whether this phenomenon can be confirmed in general throughout Japan. In this paper, I use a longitudinal study conducted in Japan and analyze the effect of living in a disadvantaged neighborhood using propensity score matching and stratification-multilevel model to examine the extent to which living in a disadvantaged neighborhood suppresses university enrollment rate and whether living in a disadvantaged neighborhood has heterogeneous effects. The results confirm that the neighborhood effects exist widely in Japan as well, and that living in a disadvantaged neighborhood suppresses the university enrollment rate by 12.3 percentage points, and that living in a disadvantaged neighborhood suppresses university enrollment to a greater extent for those who have characteristics that make them more likely to live in a disadvantaged neighborhood.
This paper reviews the methodological evolution of urban sociology, with an emphasis on US urban sociology. Furthermore, it focuses on the development of quantitative methods for urban sociology. First, this paper reviews the tradition of the Chicago school of sociology. The Chicago school is distinguished by social disorganization theory and ecological determinism. The theory of L. Wirth is primarily analytical. He viewed the city as an independent variable and the way of life as a dependent variable. Second, social composition theorists appear in this paper, with H. Gans serving as a representative sociologist of this approach. He believed that urbanism as a way of life is explained not only by the ecological aspect of the city, but also by the characteristics of individuals, such as social class or lifecycle. Gans' view, which distinguishes between the effects of individual and city, is overlapped with the concept of multilevel methods. Third, B. Wellman and C. S. Fischer modified Wirth's theory. They recognized Gans' perspective and refocused on the city's ecological aspects. Fourth, the trend of current urban sociology is the neighborhood effect. R. J. Sampson, a well-known sociologist in this discipline, revolutionized the methodology of urban sociology. He recognizes the city's ecological aspects, and interprets neighborhood effects as the accumulation of specific individuals, such as black or impoverished people. In short, the ecological aspect of the city and individual selection of migrating to the city are interpreted as the city's effects. The emergence of quantitative methods such as panel data analysis and social experiments methods has aided the manner of thinking of neighborhood effects research. Finally, this paper discussed the future of Japanese quantitative urban sociology. We should make panel data for urban sociology and cooperate with urban sociologists employing qualitative methods to capture the urban dynamics.
Recent reviews of long-term care insurance service associated with a rapidly aging population have noted that preventive long-term care services have become increasingly important in Japan. Salons for older persons have been established across the country, especially for those with no opportunity to go out and experiencing declining physical ability. Previous studies have discussed salon activities as the voluntary and independent actions of neighborhood residents using the framework of community welfare studies. With the revision of the Long-Term Care Insurance Law in 2015, attention to community resources has become an issue today. This paper aims to examine the dissemination process of the preventive long-term care services, the researchers analyzed the process of setting up salons for older persons in each district. The researchers conducted visit surveys and interview surveys with representatives and members of all salons. The target project salon, Salon A, in X City, Miyagi Prefecture, was set up in 22 districts of the city comprising both new town areas and rural and old town areas. The process of establishing a salon in new town areas requires the support of the local government. Local government members propose establishing a salon for older persons to the president of a neighborhood association, a welfare commissioner, and others who have effectively produced results with past activities. However, in rural and old town areas, decisions to establish a salon are made by the residents themselves in the course of tea meetings, which are held by the welfare commissioner to revitalize local ties. The city government is not only trying to incorporate community resources into salons for older persons, but community resources are also trying to develop their activities by incorporating salons for older persons. Therefore, the perspective on the activeness of community resources is also important.
The ultimate goal of an ongoing analytical research, on the ground of community theory which has been developed in urban sociology, is to establish a hypothesis about the relationship of Japanese residents' attitudes towards their communities, with tho se towards foreign residents, and to discuss its validity. Although the examinations of “contact hypothesis” or “group threat theory” have been well taken in quantitative researches on Japanese residents' attitudes towards foreign residents, there are not much studies which make and verify the hypothesis related to their attitudes towards local communities. Additionally, the analyses inputting variables like “residents' orientation towards settlement in the community”, or “residents' orientation towards community contribution”, are also rarely performed. This manuscript is a tentative report on a questionnaire survey in Kanazawa, based on a hypothesis that Japanese residents' attitudes towards their community described above, have an influence on the pros and cons of accepting foreign residents. The results currently indicate that the more settlement-oriented awareness in the community Japanese residents have, the more negatively they react to acceptance of foreign residents, whereas the more community contribution-oriented awareness they have, the more positively they react to acceptance of foreign residents.