Contemporary urban development is tightly related to infrastructural systems and mobility patterns. Since the post-war period, urban development has indeed become a function of transportation and mobility. The philosophy of building cities along and around infrastructure is not new (e.g. The Copenhagen ‘Finger Plan’), but the sustainability challenges to this urban development model have become radically different over the last decades. Urban sprawl and agglomeration is leading to more transport-oriented CO2 emissions, longer commuting times, and ‘stretched-out’ everyday lives for an increasing number of urban dwellers. The decoupling of work- and living spaces that came about as a function of the rapid increase in Automobility has, to some degree, been countered by the development of public transport. However, community interaction and everyday life is stressed by the de-coupling of work- and residential locations. Crucial to the functioning of these large infrastructural landscapes are the connecting points or ‘handshakes’ between residential areas and the infrastructure, as well as between the work- and leisure areas and the infrastructure. Such ‘Critical Points of Contact’ (Jensen, O.B. & N. Morelli 2011) are often developed around what has been named ‘HUBs’. A hub may be restricted to a narrow definition focusing on the multi-modal interchange of commuting (e.g. from car to train, or from bicycle to bus). However, increasingly the HUBs of the contemporary network city takes on multi-functionality (e.g. shopping, business, recreation facilities, and housing). Densification around infrastructural HUBs may very well be the best solution to some of the pressing challenges. In Japan, the model of city development based on infrastructure and mobility is extensive and elaborate, particular with the Tokyo region as one of the world’s most dense urban agglomerations as a testament (more than 30 million people lives in the Tokyo bay area). Japanese ‘HUB thinking’ is elaborate and sophisticated, but also at times resulting in homogenous urban developments and less diverse urban environments. In addition, aging of residents in suburban area is getting serious and compactness of urban functions around station with on-demand transportation is needed. In Denmark, HUB-development is more targeted towards the inter-modality of transportation systems. However, recent examples such as Bruuns Galleri in Aarhus (where the main rail station and a shopping mall has merged) seems to indicate that the Danish development is converging toward more international models (including the ones in the US and Japan). At the other end of the scale, a number of new experiments with re-thinking HUBs in rural areas in Denmark is on the rise. Here the multi-functionality of the HUB is seen as one way of fighting back the continuing urbanization that threatens life conditions in rural areas. Summing up, the ways in which HUBs and urban developments are practiced and conceived in Japan and Denmark, are very different but also potentially mutually inspiring. This is what this INP application is targeting to explore.
This is an 'International Network Programme' (INP) grant from The Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science running from 2022-23 (230.000 DKR). The goal is to enable exchange of knowldge between Japan and Denmark related to infrastructural mobility HUBs. The grant is for travel and visits between Yokohama City University and Aalborg University (Center for Mobilities and Urban Studies, C-MUS).
|Effektiv start/slut dato||01/02/2022 → 01/07/2023|
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