Tokyo : pioneer of the sustainable metropolis model

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Urban features of Tokyo make the capital-city one of the most influent global city on the planet.

At an international level, its urban area is the most populated with 37,4 million inhabitants and it produces the largest metropolitan economy with a US$1.9 trillion GDP (results 2008), equal to 20% of the national GDP and the whole of the canadian GDP.

This megalopolis has to face up with global urban demographic trends and issues as ageing of population, birth rate dicrease, congested traffic, air pollution, housing access or transit network efficiency.

Natural phenomenons more or less linked with climate change also set Tokyo’s development and urban organisation. Earthquakes, typhoons, cyclones and tsunamis are recurrent threats, watched by tokyo and japanese authorities in order to protect population’s life.

When local power etasblished its « Tokyo Metropolitan environmental Master Plan » in 2002, 5 years after Kyoto Protocol had been adopted, it made, consequently, climate change struggle its priority.

Many studies had showed that climate change marked by more frequent natural disasters ending to larger floods, drought and starvation, was daily noticeable in the world.

Such results warned the political class ending to local authorities awareness. Pointing out that climate change wasnot anymore a futur threat, they informed that it was a present issue jeopardizing coming generation’s life.

In order to come up with sustainable solutions for the XXIst century, the japanese metropolis has challenged itself to become the pioneer world urban model in climate change struggle.

Typhoon

During a typhoon

This natural phenomenon is the consequence of human being activities on Earth. Greenhouse gas coming from industry, agriculture and population (traffic, housing, consumption) are the main sources of it.

Following the entering into force of the Kyoto Protocol in 2005, Tokyo implemented, in 2006, its environmental urban strategy for 2016 « Tokyo’s Big Change – The 10 year plan » through a climate program.

In 2008, local authority revised its 2002 master plan and kept focusing on making Tokyo, an area with low CO2 emission and low energy consumption.

Goals remained the same :

  • Reduce greenhouse gaz emission by 25% by 2020 as compared to the 2000 level.
  • Reduce the amount of waste taken to landfill by 55% in Tokyo by 2016 compared to the 2000 level.

Many works have already been done.

Big companies have been submited to laws and standards aiming at reducing greenhouse gas emission. Moreover, local authorities included in Tokyo’s urban area got involved in climate change struggle through strategic urban program agreements.

Researchers and businessmen work on low energy consumption material for housing and city amenities. Promote renewable and cleaned energy and use recycling network are solutions already implemented.

However, inhabitants remain the main operator to enhance climate change trends. Inform about environmental issues and educate people to sustainable development challenges will help to adopt more respectful uses and behaviours contributing to the megalopolis attractiveness.

It’s nowadays obvious that this step in the history of humanity sets the advent of a new urban model of whom Tokyo could be the first world city to benefit from.

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