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Urban Renaissance Headquarters


Basic Policies for Urban Renaissance


April 16, 2004 (Modified)


@In order to enhance the attraction, appeal and international competitiveness of Japanese cities, as well as realize the Urban Renaissance, it is important for relevant parties such as government and the private sector to devote every effort thereon. The government regulates such basic policies as a common guideline to engage in such matters in the Urban Renaissance.

1) Matters relating to the Importance and Goals of the Urban Renaissance

1. Importance of the Urban Renaissance

@The main factors behind the Urban Renaissance for such vital areas as 21st century urban Japanese cities are a firm desire to enhance the attraction of the cities and their international competitiveness. These factors are in response to corresponding changes in a range of socio-economic indicators including a rapidly increasing information flow, internationalization, the declining birthrate, aging and so on.
@Additionally, it is hoped that the Urban Renaissance will stimulate economic recovery by attracting private sector investment and technology into urban areas, hence encouraging new growth.
@Furthermore, the Urban Renaissance can contribute to the elimination of bad loans through such measures as land liquidation.


2. Goal of Urban Renaissance

@Japanese cities should be revitalized in order to allow their culture and history to flourish and prosper. Moreover, these areas should be restored to promote rich, comfortable, and internationally active cities, so that future generations will both take pride in and continue to sustain them.
Thereupon, the following points should be highlighted.

a) Constraining the expansion of cities that has occurred, particularly during the `bubble` economy, and encouraging cities that have a unifying, compact and urban structure.
b) Urgently resolving the "negative legacy of the 20th century" which imposed heavy burdens on urban life, such as the existence of hazardous urban districts in regards to earthquakes, chronic traffic congestion, and traffic accidents.
c) Engaging in the "creation of new cities for the 21st century" such as forming truly international cities with global competitiveness, a beautiful city where everyone can live with a sense of security, realizing a society that is sustainable and has development potential, a society in tune with one's natural surroundings.
d) Accurately calculating the value of accumulated assets in urban areas, and making use thereof for the future, in conjunction with a new arrangement of facilities, etc.
e) Focusing on two of the key functions of cities: advanced industrial activities; and supporting the citizens lives, which contributes to an improvement in the quality of people's lives


2) Basic policies that the government should intensively implement for the Urban Renaissance

1. Basic approach to the Urban Renaissance

@In order to intensively implement the Urban Renaissance, in line with the following concepts, the targeted districts and fields should be specified, and the relevant ministries should prioritize and focus on policy matters. In conjunction therewith, individual policies should be promoted based on mutual cooperation with the relevant local authorities, etc.

2. Targeted districts of policies for Urban Renaissance

In light of the fact that each Japanese city is a source of liveliness and vigor, the Urban Renaissance should be accurately promoted according to the conditions thereof. Specifically,

a) In light of the fact that each Japanese city is a source of liveliness and vigor, the Urban Renaissance should be accurately promoted according to the conditions thereof. Specifically,
b) All cities, including local areas, have common interests such as increasing areas of greenery in their urban districts, and becoming cities that allow citizens to realize a comfortable and prosperous life. Another key issue is inner-city restoration, including moderation and reduction of segmentation of urban districts by railways. The Urban Renaissance should be addressed by focusing on such issues.


3. Priority areas

@Aimed at "advances in city functions" and "improvement of the standard of living in cities," the policies of the relevant ministries should be integrally promoted including the improvement of necessary systems, regulatory reforms, etc., as well as the improvement of facilities.


a) In accordance with the policies for Urban Renaissance, the targeted fields shall be as follows. Preservation of vigorous urban activities
b) Realization of various and robust exchanges and economic activities
c) Ensuring the infrastructure to cope with natural disasters
d) Constructing a society that is sustainable and has development potential
e) Realization of a safe and comfortable urban life where everyone can exercise their own ability
(Notes) Concrete policy examples are given in Reference Material 1.


4. Comprehensive promotion of Urban Renaissance policies

@Upon planning the policies for Urban Renaissance, it is important that the following points be considered equally, not placing disproportionate weight on one aspect, and a system for comprehensive promotion of the policies should be developed.

a) "Approaches to aim at the recovery of international economic vitality" and "approaches to aim at the revitalization of the living environment surrounding cities and the socio-economy of local communities"
b) "Approaches to change the basic foundation of the urban structure" and "approaches to urgently resolve the issues confronting the current situation"
c) "Approaches of public bodies such as the central government and local authorities, etc." and "approaches to arrange the conditions for regulatory reforms and finances, etc. in order to promote private initiative"

@In line with such concepts, various types of measures have been taken at the Urban Renaissance Headquarters based on the cabinet decision of May 8, 2001. Taking over the system of policies in the future, and enriching future policies, the policies based on the Law on Special Measures for Urban Renaissance follow below.


3) Standards relating to planning the cabinet order designating the areas that need priority development in Urban Renaissance and other basic matters

1. Standards of designating the areas that need priority development in the Urban Renaissance

@Based on the Law on Special Measures for Urban Renaissance Article 2, Clause 3, the areas in which the intensive implementation of the given policies such as urban planning and finance, etc., is envisioned, and which are considered as necessary to promote the rapid and intense redevelopment of urban districts whilst corresponding to the following concrete standards of designation should be specified as the "areas that need priority development in the Urban Renaissance."

a) In addition to the districts of urban development projects, etc. that are expected to be enforced as soon as possible, other districts that have momentum towards urban development projects, etc. based on the intent of landowners and plans stipulated by local authorities
b) Districts where the transfer to more appropriate use of lands which would be a base of the Urban Renaissance is expected in the future due to a ripple effect on all urban areas
Notes: Concrete examples for images of the districts shall be described in Reference Material 2.


2. Method of establishing the designation of areas that need priority development in the Urban Renaissance
@In light of the current economic situation, and aiming at early improvements, the first designation for the areas requiring priority development in Urban Renaissance should be established as promptly as possible after implementation of the Law on Special Measures for Urban Renaissance. Thereafter, corresponding to the movement of the Urban Renaissance throughout Japan, any designations subsequent to the second designation should be initiated according to the suitability of urban development projects, etc.

3. Intensive implementation of the policies in areas that need priority development.
@In areas that need priority development, the main focus of governmental policy should be to incorporate private-sector efficiency and ingenuity. Concerning the appropriate authorization process, intensive development of public facilities, and the policies necessary for Urban Renaissance as well as special urban planning exceptions, measures for financial support stipulated under the Law on Special Measures for Urban Renaissance, the central government and relevant local authorities should endeavor to urgently implement improvement in such areas in a focused manner. Furthermore, considering the effects of the policies, etc., constant reviews should be undertaken to ensure the focused implementation of such approaches.
@In addition, upon developments in the Urban Renaissance projects, if there is a change of opinion among any of the relevant parties, a council for priority improvement in urban renaissance should be organized and such adjustment should be made to ensure prompt resolution among the relevant parties in a transparent manner.
@In addition, in case that relevant conditions, such as the suitability of the urban development projects until the designation of the areas that need priority development in the Urban Renaissance is made, or the concreteness of the plans for the relevant public utility facilities, is not made, "the scheduled districts for Urban Renaissance" should be established according to the proceedings based on the designation of those areas that need priority development in Urban Renaissance at the Urban Renaissance Headquarters. Under this framework, the relevant parties should concur and proceed with the prompt arrangement of conditions.


4. Considerations, etc. given concerning improvement in the areas that need priority development in the Urban Renaissance
@Upon improvement in the areas that need priority development in the Urban Renaissance, considerations should be given so that no plans regulated by the government, such as comprehensive plans relating to the utilization, development and preservation of national lands, will be at variance therewith.
@Also, consideration should be given to the preservation and improvement of the natural environment in areas such as greenery, water, air, energy, scenery, and maintenance of the residences of long-term residents.
@Furthermore, the creation of urban planning proposals relating to the urban development projects in such districts should proceed by using the innovation of the private sector, taking into account the master plan for urban planning.


4) Basic items in formulating urban redevelopment plans

1. Promotion of nationwide urban renaissance based on independence and creativity

Covering cities nationwide from Wakkanai to Ishigaki, the Government will promote urban renaissance efforts aimed at improving the quality of daily life and revitalizing regional economies and society.
The following serve as a basic framework of ambitious efforts by municipalities and support for such efforts by the Government, etc.
E@Town Development Subsidy that encourages free thinking of communities
E@Integration of authorities necessary for urban renaissance
E@Collaboration and coordination between the administration and private community development activities
@Urban redevelopment plans prepared by municipalities with respect to the above in accordance with the provision of Article 46(1) of the Urban Renaissance Special Measure Law shall value municipal independence and aim to maximize the creativity of municipalities using both tangible and intangible regional resources depending on regional characteristics, including declining birth rates, aging and other changes in regional society, in addition to local history, climate, landscape, the environment, industrial structure, traffic issues and urban safety issues.


2. Perspectives and other matters that must be specifically clarified in urban redevelopment plans

@Urban redevelopment plans shall contain specific projects and measures to be promptly implemented within a realistic target period while clarifying the following aspects based on the principle of selection and concentration.
a. Emphasis on achievable results and strategic/efficient implementation through software enrichment
@Emphasizing achievable results, and aiming to make objective, highly-transparent and appropriate evaluation to the greatest possible extent on projects and measures implemented under the plans
@Promoting efficient implementation of projects and measures and enhancement of urban functions, such as cultural, environmental and residential functions, through utilization of existing facilities and placement of emphasis on collaboration with software measures
@Promoting collaboration of various interrelated measures and exercise of synergy effects through utilization of special districts for structural reform, regional redevelopment plans and tourism measures


b. Collaboration and coordination with private community development activities
@Promoting the active participation of communities in planning, project implementation and management and the utilization of ideas and know-how in the private sector
@Facilitating coordination with private community development activities by residents, industry, universities, specific non-profit corporations, experts, etc. as well as flexible implementation of projects and measures corresponding to these activities


(Reference Material 1) Targeted fields of the policies for Urban Renaissance

1. Preservation of vigorous urban activities

Measures for the reduction of traffic congestion and accidents by making use of I.T., etc.
Resolution of bottleneck crossings that result in traffic congestion
Priority improvement in the roads designated in urban planning that would be highly effective for stimulating private investment
Dissolution of commuter congestion
Efficiency and facilitation of distribution systems such as enhancing international distribution systems, etc.


2. Realization of various and vigorous exchanges and economic activities

Enhancing international exchange functions and promotion of city sightseeing
Fostering future growth industries such as I.T.
Activation of industries for the city including community-based commerce
Cooperation and integration of higher education institutions, such as universities, and functions of each city, etc.


3. Forming a city structure capable of dealing with natural disasters

Improvement in densely populated areas
Earthquake control measures
Flood control measures, etc.


4. Constructing a sustainable society with development potential

Waste collection and recycling measures
Pollution measures
Measures to deal with global warming and heat island effects
Integrating the use of water and greenery within urban areas
The formation of a beautiful city, etc.


5. Realization of a safe and comfortable urban life where everyone can exercise his or her own ability

Barrier-free
Pollution measures
Forming a city where employees live close to their workplaces
Refurbishment and renewal of existing housing
Fulfillment of livelihood support services, such as child-care and nursing care
Measures for reducing urban-oriented crimes
Preservation of safe and drinkable water, etc.


(Reference Material 2) Concrete examples for images of areas that need priority improvement in the Urban Renaissance

@Concrete examples for images of areas that need priority improvement in the Urban Renaissance which are considered to correspond to standards of designating the areas that need priority improvement in the Urban Renaissance in point 3.1 should be as follows.
Districts used for heavy industry which was an engine of the high-growth period, and which are expected to be converted to utilize the large-sized lands
Districts which have traffic junctions, such as stations, or the surroundings areas thereof, and which are expected to form a base of livelihood and exchange, etc.
Urban districts whose focal points such as main streets will be maintained, and whose renewal and coalition of buildings, etc. is expected
Districts where maintenance for width of roads should be given to the existing urban districts and whose integrated roadside development should be expected
Densely populated areas that are a disaster prevention hazard whose integrated and comprehensive redevelopment is expected
Districts whose integration and effective use of lands were segmented such as spotty, unmarketable land which is a legacy of the bubble economy
Other districts where large-sized investment of urban development by the private sector is expected