Breathable and green Tokyo

The Tokyo skyline with air pollution.

Aware that climate change wasnot the only environmental threat weighing heavily on the metropolis, Tokyo authorities pointed out, within their climate program, two other issues.

Local power decided to implement an urban strategy aiming at improving air quality and planning greenery and water areas. In the past, Tokyo used to be a city with a better life quality.

In the 60s, the air of Tokyo was already polluted. At that time, the community figured it out locating the factories outside the city. Despite air quality has strongly improved, it is still miles away from fitting with international standards about public Health, especially because of the numerous suspended particles in the air.

This pollution is, nowadays, coming from traffic increase and diesel engines and also household’s consumption (as an example : air conditioning).

To struggle with this environmental burden, the metropolis set up different steps. The main purpose is to ensure there are no more photochemical smog warning days by 2016.

To make it thruth, local authorities encourage the purchase of low-emission vehicles and public transit services. Massive infrastructure works were done to enhance their efficiency.

They strengthened measures to reduce volatile organic compound and traffic in the city-center. A large planning project ended with the construction of three loop roads surrounding Tokyo :  the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway Central Loop Route (47 km, 29 miles), Tokyo outer Loop Road “Gaikan” (85 km, 53 miles) and the National Capital Region Central Loop Road “Ken-o-Do (300 km, 186).

Mostly thought to relieve congestion in the metropolis center, those loop routes will enhance economic connections between the thriving areas located in the megalopolis and will strongly help to prevent from urban heat islands in the center of Tokyo.

However, traffic increase isnot the only reason of urban heat islands phenomenon.

Grass streets

Grass streets

Focusing only on Growth during the 80s and 90s, Tokyo local authorities left apart inhabitants life quality.

In the past, the metropolis had abundant green spaces and was closely linked to the Sumida river but its impressing economic development required housing and office constructions. Towers and buildings emerged from the soil especially along the river and on city-center free spaces, enclosing more and more Tokyo.

Seeing that environment became vital in urban developpement, the climate program “10 year project for Green Tokyo” was established to equip Tokyo, by 2016, with 1000 hectares of greenery and one million additional trees.

The main feature of this plan is the creation of “Kankyojiku”, in other words, the implementation of an integrated urban network made of green roads, parks and waterways. The whole area to plan was determined in march 2006. Their implementation will last until 2015.

Looking for a sustainable metropolis urban model, Tokyo is starting its metamorphosis in order to satisfy its 13 million inhabitants’ life quality minimising its energy consumption.

The challenge facing up all global cities is colossal and will determine the futur leadership of international metropolis on sustainable development issues.

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