Mega-urbanization poses huge challenges today in Asia. The Tokaido Megalopolis from Tokyo to Osaka was the first case of this urban scale in Asia, and many of the issues faced by today’s emerging mega-city regions were identified in Tokaido 50 years ago, but at a very different moment in world history, and with different interpretations of major challenges and possible policy responses. This talk reviews and draws lessons from the Japanese experience of urbanization.
André Sorensen is Professor and Chair of the Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto Scarborough. His monograph ‘The Making of Urban Japan: Cities and Planning from Edo to the 21st Century’ (Routledge 2002) won the book prize of the International Planning History Society in 2004. His paper ‘Taking Path Dependence Seriously’ (2015) published in Planning Perspectives, won the Association of European Schools of Planning Best Paper Award in 2016. His current research examines institutions, urban space, and temporal processes in urbanization and urban governance from a comparative historical institutional perspective, with a focus on urban land and property development, infrastructure management, and the creation of increasingly differentiated property rights in urban settings.