Twin cities : cyberspatial qualities of contemporary Tokyo
Author(s)Chen, Tong, M.S. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Cyberspatial qualities of contemporary Tokyo
William J. Mitchell.
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The cityscape of contemporary Tokyo is undergoing a dramatic transformation caused by a proliferation of technology, such as the rapid mass transit network and the advanced telecommunication system. On the one hand conventional urban design criteria such as physical proximity and spatiotemporal consistency are challenged or even rendered obsolete; on the other hand many new characteristics of the city are being established, and some of them have become prominent criteria in comprehending today's Tokyo. In order to apprehend this process of transformation and its impact on the city's form, and eventually to respond to the new situation, it is necessary to identify those unconventional characteristics brought to Tokyo by the proliferation of technology. In this thesis those peculiarities of contemporary Tokyo are pinpointed through a process of analogy with cyberspace, which bears tremendous resemblances to Tokyo. Contemporary Tokyo is found to contain two cities: the visible chaotic city and the invisible ordered city. In the visible city, the intonation of criteria used to form the mental image of a city is transformed; time is given importance over space; schizophrenia is a persistent theme; the boundary between human and machine is blurred; hierarchies and distinctions among objects are eliminated through codification. In the invisible city, the pattern of city's evolution is prescribed as piecemeal decentralized spontaneous growth; each node contains all the information of the whole system - the part equals the whole; connectivity becomes the prominent feature of a place - it promotes concentration and deconcentration simultaneously, and replaces Euclidean geometry with topology; layers of matrices cast ubiquitous control and circumscription over the whole city. The two cities rely on one another yet never compromise with each other; together they lay down the affordances and constraints of the city, and give it a new form. Both the visible city and the invisible city are the offspring of the Japanese culture of congestion, of which a full embrace or a total rejection will only cause lament.
Thesis (M.S.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1995.Includes bibliographical references (p. 150-152).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology