Basic Policies for Urban Renaissance
July 19, 2002
For the urban areas, which are Japan's source of vitality, to heighten their attractiveness and international competitiveness, as well as to realize their revitalization, it is important to concentrate the collective efforts of those involved, not only the public sector, but the private sector as well. As the common guideline for these revitalization efforts of the urban areas, the Government will establish these Basic Policies.
I. The significance and goals of the revitalization of the urban areas
1. The significance of the revitalization of the urban areas
The basic significance of revitalizing the urban areas, which are the source of vitality in Japan in the 21st century, is to heighten their attractiveness and international competitiveness, to respond to the changes in the socioeconomic conditions, such as rapid computerization, internationalization, declining birthrate, and aging society.
Moreover, such revitalization of urban areas would draw forth the capital and know-how that exist in the private sectors, direct them toward the urban areas, which in turn would arouse new demand and lead to the realization of economic revitalization.
Additionally, the revitalization of urban areas would contribute to the disposal of the non-performing loans issue through the liquidity of land assets.
2. The goals of the revitalization of the urban areas
It will be made possible to revitalize Japan's urban areas into areas that are rich and comfortable, and full of vitality from an international point of view, while maintaining their culture and history, and to pass them on to the next generation as "world class cities."
In so doing, the following points will be emphasized.
|a.||To curb the spread of urban areas which began during the period of economic growth, and to convert them to compact urban structures with centripetal force.
|b.||To immediately resolve the "negative legacy of the 20th century," which is currently imposing an excessive burden on the urban life, such as the existence of hazardous districts in case of earthquakes, chronic traffic congestion, and traffic accidents.
|c.||To work toward the "Creation of New Urban Areas of the 21st Century," such as building world-class cities with international competitiveness, creating beautiful cities that are safe to live in, realizing societies in which sustainable development is possible, and formulating societies that coexist with nature.
|d.||In addition to new equipment such as certain facilities, to accurately evaluate the value of urban properties that have been accumulated thus far, and carefully apply them toward the future.
|e.||To enrich the two functions which urban areas possess?a place for advanced industrial activity, as well as a place which supports the livelihood of the people?and to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the people.
II. Basic policies regarding the measures which the Government must implement in a prioritized manner for the revitalization of the urban areas
1. The basic stance in working toward the revitalization of urban areas
In order to implement the revitalization of urban areas in a prioritized manner, targeted regions and areas will be determined and prioritized, based on the following ideas, and the relevant ministries and agencies will focus their measures on them. Together with this, the Government will cooperate with the relevant local public bodies and other organizations in order to strategically promote the various measures.
2. Targeted regions for the measures for revitalization of urban areas
Given the idea that the urban areas are Japan's source of vitality, it is necessary to carry out the appropriate revitalization of the urban areas throughout the nation, based on the current conditions of each region. It is especially important to work on the following areas.
a. From an international point of view, the major metropolitan cities which act as the engine for Japan's economy, such as the Tokyo district and the Osaka district, are declining in power. Based on this, Japan will work to revitalize these areas into cities that are rich, comfortable and full of economic vitality.
b. The urban areas including the regional cities possess some common, cross-sectional and structural issues, such as coexisting with nature, creating communities that can realize a rich and comfortable standard of living, revitalizing of the city centers, alleviating or eliminating the segmentation by developing railroads. The Government will work toward the revitalization of the cities while placing priority on such issues.
3. Priority areas of the measures for revitalization of the urban areas
In advancing measures for the revitalization of urban areas, the following are seen as the targeted priority areas. In this, the measures of the relevant ministries and agencies will be comprehensively promoted, including not only development of facilities but also the necessary improvements of the system, such as regulatory reforms. Such promotion will be aimed at "the sophistication of urban functions" and "the improvement of urban living environment."
(Note: Specific examples of measures are listed in Annex 1)
|a. ||Ensure dynamic urban activities|
|b. ||Realize diverse and active interaction and economic activities|
|c. ||Form disaster-resistant urban structures|
|d. ||Build a society in which sustainable development is possible|
|e. ||Realize a safe and comfortable urban living, where people can demonstrate their potential|
4. Comprehensive promotion of the measures for revitalization of the urban areas
In planning the measures for revitalization of the urban areas, it is vital not to focus too much on one perspective, but to comprehensively combine each of the following perspectives to establish a comprehensive policy system, and to promote such policies.
a. "Efforts aimed at the recovery of international economic vitality" and "efforts aimed at the revitalization of the living environment and regional social economy"
b. "Efforts aimed at reforming the basis of urban structures" and "efforts to quickly resolve the issues currently faced"
c. "Public-based efforts on national and local public bodies, and other organizations" and "efforts for developing conditions in areas such as regulatory reform and finance, to promote private-sector initiatives"
Based on such ideas, at the Urban Renaissance Headquarters, which is based on the Cabinet Decision on May 8, 2001, various actions have been taken. While such policy measures continue to be carried out, the Government will further enhance the policies, as well as promote the policies based on the Urban Renaissance Special Measure Law, as stated below in III.
III. Standards and other basic items in formulating the plans of the Cabinet Order to designate the priority urban redevelopment areas
1 Standards for designating the priority urban redevelopment areas
Based on the Urban Renaissance Special Measure Law, Article 2, paragraph 3, areas, in which a concentration implementation of various policies, including urban planning and financial, are anticipated, and in which there is necessity to promote the development of the urban regions immediately in a prioritized manner, and the specific designation standards listed below can be applied, will be designated as "priority urban redevelopment area."
a. In addition to the regions in which an early implementation of urban development projects are anticipated, there is a movement in the neighboring areas for urban development projects based on the desires of land owners and plans drawn up by the local public bodies.
b. Regions that are predicted to go through appropriate conversions in land use that will be the basis of urban revitalization because of the ripple effect throughout the urban area.
(Note: For a specific example of area models, see Annex 2)
2 Methods of designating the priority urban redevelopment areas
In view of the current economic situation, priority urban redevelopment areas must aim at the early realization of results, and as promptly as possible carry out the primary designation after the implementation of the Urban Renaissance Special Measure Law. Afterward, while responding to the actions of urban revitalization throughout Japan, and depending on the level of ripening of urban development projects, the Government will steadily begin the secondary and follow designations.
3 The concentrated implementation of policies in the priority urban redevelopment areas
In the priority urban redevelopment areas, the focus is to utilize the creativity of the private sector to the fullest, while tailoring to their sense of time. Through this, the Government along with the relevant local public bodies will work together toward the immediate and prioritized implementation for the development of the applicable areas, concerning not only the Urban Planning Special Measure Law or the financial measures regulated by the Urban Renaissance Special Measure Law, but also the appropriate approval management, the prioritized development of public facilities and other facilities used for the public's benefit, and other policies necessary for the revitalization of urban areas. Moreover, based on the developments of measures, constant reexamination over such efforts will be carried out, for the purpose of concentrated implementation.
Furthermore, in the development of priority urban redevelopment areas, in cases where adjustments of opinions from the relevant ministries and agencies, local public bodies, and other concerned parties are essential, a council for priority urban redevelopment will be organized. Within this council, members will coordinate their views in a transparent procedure within limited time in order to reach a prompt resolution.
In the case that the development of conditions are not complete enough to be designated as a priority urban redevelopment area, including the ripeness of urban development projects, and the concreteness of plans for related public facilities are not adequate, the Urban Renaissance Headquarters will set up a "planned urban revitalization area," by a procedure similar to that based on the designation of priority urban redevelopment areas. Within this framework, the concerned parties will coordinate opinions and will promptly advance the development of conditions.
4 Considerations for the maintenance of the priority urban redevelopment area
During the development of the priority urban redevelopment areas, care must be taken so that there are no inconsistencies with the plans established by the Government, including the comprehensive plan on the utilization, development, and preservation of national land and safety.
Moreover, the preservation and improvement of the environment in the urban areas, including greenery, water, air, energy, and scenery, as well as securing of housing for prior residents need to be taken into consideration.
Furthermore, in making proposals for urban planning that concern urban development projects in these areas, advancements will be made while taking into consideration urban planning master plans and fully utilizing the creativity of the private sector.
(Annex 1) The focus areas on the measures for revitalization of the urban areas
1. Ensure dynamic urban activities
|-||Countermeasures for traffic congestion and accidents utilizing information technology (IT) and others|
|-||Elimination of bottle-necked railroad crossings and congestion points|
|-||Prioritized maintenance of roads for urban planning that are highly effective in inducing private investment|
|-||Elimination of overcrowded commuter transportation|
|-||Improving the efficiency and facilitation of distribution, including the strengthening of the international distribution function, etc.|
2. Realize diverse and active interaction and economic activities
|-||Strengthening of international exchange functions and promotion of urban tourism|
|-||Developing growth industries of the future such as IT|
|-||Revitalization of urban industries, including community-based commercial businesses|
|-||Collaboration and integration of higher education institutions such as universities and various urban functions, etc.|
3. Form disaster-resistant urban structures
|-||Improvement of densely populated urban areas|
|-||Measures against earthquakes|
|-||Measures against urban flood disasters, etc.|
4. Build a society in which sustainable development is possible
|-||Measures for waste products and recycling|
|-||Measures for urban pollution|
|-||Measures for global warming and heat islands|
|-||Creating communities using water and greenery, coexisting with nature|
|-||Beautifying the cities, etc.|
5. Realize a safe and comfortable urban living where people can demonstrate their potential
|-||Creating communities which allow the location of work and residence to be close to each other|
|-||Improvement and renewal of existing housing stock|
|-||Enrichment of the livelihood support services, such as childcare and nursing care|
|-||Measures against urban crime|
|-||Securing water that is safe and tastes good, etc.|
(Annex 2) Example models of the priority urban redevelopment areas
Specific example models of the priority urban redevelopment areas, which fit the designation standards of the priority urban redevelopment areas, found in III-1, are as follows:
|-||Areas with heavy industries and others, which led the period of high economic growth, and have the potential for large-scale conversion in land usage|
|-||Areas near traffic junctions, such as train stations, and their surrounding areas that have the potential for being a central location for living and social exchange|
|-||Urban areas where the foundation, such as a main street, is maintained, and there is a potential for renewal or joint usage of buildings|
|-||Areas where the maintenance of wide roads is to take place within a preexisting urban area, and have the potential for integrated development alongside the roads|
|-||Overcrowded urban areas that are at high risk in disaster prevention, and have the potential for integrated and comprehensive redevelopment|
|-||Areas with potential for consolidation and effective usage of the segmentalized areas, such as the "worm-eaten land," which can be seen as legacies of the bubble economy|
|-||Other areas with potential for large-scale, private investment toward urban development|