This paper is an inquiry into the structural nature of urban processes in an ethnic urban space, taking as an example Little Tokyo, a Japanese ethnic business enclave in Los Angeles, California. The urban processes can be roughly divided into two categories, i.e. concrete processes such as the construction or restoration of buildings and symbolic processes such as the creation of public arts or landmarks. In the field of geography, studies on ethnic urban processes have tended to emphasize one or the other type of the above-mentioned processes. In this paper, the author has attempted to integrate both aspects of urban change based on his research of the urban processes in Little Tokyo. Postwar Little Tokyo has experienced long-term urban redevelopment processes. By the early 1960s, Little Tokyo was beginning to decline as a residential community and show signs of decay in the built environment. Under these pressures, the Little Tokyo Redevelopment Project had its official beginning in 1970, and continued until its official termination in February, 2013. By 1994, 28 redevelopment projects had been completed, which include the construction or restoration of 6 residential buildings （614 residential units in total;about 80 percent of these are affordable housing units）, 2 hotels, commercial office space （c. 240,000 square feet）, retail commercial space （c. 310,000 square feet）, and several religious, cultural, and community facilities. Through these projects, the area of Little Tokyo was drastically transformed from a shabby and run-down ethnic ghetto into a newly renovated and modern commercial/business quarter excepting the East First Street North area where the old structures were preserved. Although redevelopment stagnated in the period from 1995 to 2013, the residential function of this area was strengthened through the development of four new large-scale residential buildings and some renovation work which added a further 609 residential units in total to this area （about 75 percent of these are market-rate housing units）. Recently, three large condominiums have been developed in the vicinity of the project area adding 611 market-rate residential units in total. This kind of development has inevitably produced gentrification in and around Little Tokyo. Through the above-mentioned development, Little Tokyo now has at least 272 facilities including retail shops, service industry offices, and religious, cultural, or community-based facilities. Of these facilities, over half display no explicit ethnic characteristics, this tendency being especially conspicuous in the case of offices in the service industry. However, in retail shops, particularly restaurants, the most visible features in the urban landscape, the proportion of those facilities which display explicitly ethnic Japanese character is much higher than in the case of service industry offices. (View PDF for the rest of the abstract.)
Indoor temperature and humidity were observed for almost two years, from March 2012, in temporary housing built at Miyako City in Iwate Prefecture following the Great East Japan Earthquake. Average diurnal variations in temperature and humidity were compared between different types of vacant temporary housing and were examined in temporary housing an elderly person lives. Indoor daytime temperatures in temporary housing of light-gauge steel structure with exposed and non-insulated iron beams were 1.7―3.4 Celsius colder in winter and approximately 1 Celsius warmer in summer than in wooden temporary housing, resulting in large diurnal temperature range. Furthermore, in this type of temporary housing, the temperature of the iron beams in daytime was higher and the temperatures of the floor face in daytime and the iron beams at night were colder than indoor temperature in winter and summer. Compared with other types of temporary housing, relative humidity was higher throughout the day, and there was a 50% increase in hazardous situations causing heatstroke exceeding the “strict alert” level. The diurnal range and the spatial and vertical differences in indoor winter temperature tended to increase as external daily minimum air temperature became colder, exceeding 7 Celsius on average as a result of heating effect.