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Urban Regeneration TDD held in Japan with Delegations from 11 Countries

Monday, February 26th, 2018
Group photo

February 13-17, 2018, Tokyo, Kawasaki, Yokohama, Japan: TDLC held a Technical Deep Dive (TDD) on Urban Regeneration. More than 50 practitioners and decision makers from 11 World Bank client countries participated and discussed urban revitalization with a focus on applicable business models for implementation that can also fulfil the government economic goal. This TDD was delivered in collaboration with Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), Yokohama, and Tokyu Corporation.


At the Opening, Kazuko Ishigaki, Director in Charge of International Planning for Construction Industry, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) expressed welcome and showed future expectations for collaboration in Urban Regeneration area which Japan has rich experiences going through reconstruction and revitalization of cities. David Sislen, Practice Manager of GSURR at the World Bank, pointed out key issues that cities are facing to push urban regeneration- how to finance it, what the social benefits are, and how to implement those projects. 

Legislation and methods of Japan’s urban planning were introduced to the participants to show what benefits and constraints they may expect. Japan took special measures and spatial policies/regulations for urban planning to correspond to its rapid population growth and urban expansion. Three types of urban regeneration- Government-led, private-led and community-led urban regeneration were showcased. One of the key approaches taken for success in private-led urban regeneration was that the cost of preserving a war-damaged station building was financed by transferring Floor Area Ratio (FAR) from the building to the neighboring new towers. 

Seoul’s urban regeneration case provided participants the perspective of urban waterfront and brownfield areas. The key lessons shared with the participants through developing World Cup Park and restoring Cheonggyecheon areas include having creative envisioning along with each city’s characteristics, utilizing ecological urban regeneration as an effective tool for environmental and economic benefits, and securing public support.

The discussion also covered the financing of urban regeneration projects where most participating cities hold challenges with. Cities are facing growing demand of enhancing infrastructure and services with scarce resources. They need to obtain more value from existing resources and increase returns. Land-Based Financing (LBF), the use of land value to finance urban infrastructure and/or services, was raised in order to provide cities more options. Various international cases of Land Value Capture (LVC) were introduced during the sessions including Japan, Brazil and US. Although the size and progress that have been made vary from city to city, there is an encouraging comment that came out from Jim O’gara, Managing Director of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, “These projects may seem too large-scale and unrealistic, but the approaches and principles are the same. That’s where we have to learn from.”

Site visit

Participants visited Kawasaki Musashikosugi area, Yokohama Totsuka Station area, and Yokohama Minatomirai Red Brick District area. Kawasaki Musashikosugi Station was first opened in the 1920’s and now it offers convenient access to most major centers in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, while the station area itself has improved greatly due to recent urban regeneration effort. Fumitaka Inoue, Manager of Strategy Headquarters Urban Development Business Unit of Tokyu Corporation stressed, “integrating old and new residents together is a challenge but is key to urban regeneration.” Yokohama Minatomirai 21 area which represents waterfront development took a unique path in regeneration. According to Mr. Katsura, Urban Designer of City of Yokohama, mentioned that Yokohama prioritized urban design at the city scale rather than building scale for competitive advantage. 

The participants developed practical action plans on the last day of the workshop containing key takeaways, approaches, and next steps to plan and implement effective urban regeneration. Among other key takeaways, finding Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) and potential LVC, the use of LBF to fund public projects, a clear vision of urban regeneration, and a strong political commitment with multi-stakeholder approach were the characteristic findings.  Participants also developed short, mid, and long-term action plans to take back to their countries. Improving and applying effective legislation, engaging private markets, and effective coordination with other stakeholders were raised as common key actions to be taken.

Action plan


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