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Old September 5th, 2011, 09:26 AM   #2881
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Kintetsu gears up for Kansai’s answer to Tōkyō Sky Tree
http://www.nikkei.com/markets/kigyo/...01092011000000

Quote:
The complete vision for the supertall skyscraper being constructed in Ōsaka’s Abenobashi district by Kinki Nippon Railway (Kintetsu Corporation), scheduled to open in spring 2014, is now apparent. Requiring an investment of approx. ¥130 billion, the megaproject is being carried out with the full strength of Kintetsu. It’s hoped that this supertall building, opening two years behind the Tōkyō Sky Tree scheduled to open next year, will become a new landmark for the Kansai area.

On August 25, Kintetsu announced that it selected Abeno Harukas as the name of the terminal building. The name draws from an ancient Japanese word that means “to make (people’s hearts) cheerful,” and the railway says it hopes that the view from 300 m aboveground will offer visitors an enjoyable, soothing feeling. The tower will surpass the Yokohama Landmark Tower (296 m) completed in 1993, garnering the attention of locals as the soon-to-be tallest building in Japan.

However, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that what will control the success or failure of the project is the leasing status of the office space that occupies about 30 percent of the gross floor area. About ten companies including Kansai Electric Power Co. and Okumura Corporation have already informally agreed to move in, and Kintetsu vice-president Taniguchi Muneo, who is responsible for the railway’s real estate business, says that about 50% of the space has already been filled. The names of other big-name corporations have also been mentioned. Another Kintetsu executive says that “the railway’s presence among locals is being tested”, with Kintetsu hoping to open the building with a high occupancy rate on the pride of Kansai’s top corporations.

For the hotel, the success of which depends on brand power and the ability to attract customers, Kintetsu succeded in attracting the Marriott brand, which will make its first entry into the Kansai market. The estimated room rates for the Ōsaka Marriott Miyako Hotel are ¥30,000 a night, and the hotel is aiming for 80% occupancy. Japan’s largest department store by floor area—100,000 sq m—and an art museum are also planned to take out space in the building.

Kintetsu envisions approx. 130,000 daily visitors to Abeno Harukas. The railway estimates that the expansion of the Kintetsu Department Store will increase visitors by 50% from the current 80,000 to 120,000, with a little under 10,000 visitors generated by the other uses such as the hotel, observation deck, and art museum. In regards to the observation deck, which is forecasted to see 2,000,000 annual visitors during the first fiscal year, Kintetsu is also confident: “The observation deck will be an outstanding success in terms of attracting visitors. It will certainly be a big plus.” In regards to the price structure for the observation deck, the railway says it will decide based on the outlook of Tōkyō Sky Tree.

Kintetsu estimates that Abeno Harukas will generate first-year revenues of approx. ¥155 billion and operating profit of approx. ¥8 billion. Shifting around the abacuses, the railway says it will fully regain its investment in the building in about 15 years after opening.

Shares in Kintetsu recorded the highest price this year on August 31, closing at ¥291. A reentry into ¥300 levels is finally on the horizon after April of last year, when the railway group was rocked by fraudulent accounting at one of its subsidiaries. The railway has recently been proactively publicizing information about Abeno Harukas, and it appears that individual investors are especially taking note.

Even so, some market analysts, including one domestic securities analyst, are still doubtful of the future prospects: “The first phase of the Ume-Kita (Umeda North Yard) redevelopment project, also located in Ōsaka City and expected to be a competitive force, is scheduled to open in spring 2013, and it’s uncertain whether we can really expect high occupancy rates for Abeno Harukas.” Eyes are focused on whether or not the project can really “cheer” away these anxieties and uncertainties.
Official website for the project, formerly known as the Abenobashi Terminal Building:
http://www.abenoharukas-300.com/

This is a redevelopment of the terminal complex at Ōsaka Abenobashi Station, the terminus for Kintetsu’s Minami-Ōsaka Line and one of the railway’s two major Ōsaka terminals (the other being at Nipponbashi).
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Old September 5th, 2011, 09:26 AM   #2882
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Historic video of the Ōsaka Municipal Transportation Bureau

Found these videos on the web, which are snippets from DVDs released about three years ago by the Ōsaka Municipal Transportation Bureau. They provide a pretty fascinating look into Ōsaka during the Shōwa Era. Enjoy!

Part 1
Shot in 1953. Scenes of rush hour pull-outs, including trams pulling out of Tennōji Car House, plus passengers pouring out of JR Ōsaka Station and filing onto trams and buses. Also scenes of Umeda Station on the Midōsuji Line.



Part 2
A look at the factors behind the construction of the subway network, which began with the opening of the Midōsuji Line in 1933. There’s a pan of what is now Ōsaka Station, plus scenes of trams at Ōebashi and Yodoyabashi. Apparently, Midōsuji was less busy back then, as most traffic used Sakaisuji. Ōsaka’s commerce and industry boomed due to World War I, and people concentrated in and around central Ōsaka, resulting in a dramatic increase in traffic. This demand couldn’t be handled only be trams and buses, leading the city to begin planning for a “high-speed railway” (i.e., subway).



Part 3
More clips of “Great Ōsaka” from the early Shōwa Era, focusing on tourists. Scenes of the tourism information center outside Ōsaka Station and various clips on the Midōsuji Line. The stations on the Midōsuji Line had escalators from the beginning, but these were removed during the war. Some “Abenobashi-bound” trams, followed by scenes of Nankai Electric Railway’s spacious Namba Station.



Part 4
Recordings of Japan’s first double-track shield tunneling, when work on the extension of Ōsaka Municipal Subway Line 4 (Chūō Line) from Honmachi Station to Fukae Station began in 1964. The excavated dirt was used to fill in portions of Ōsaka Bay.

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Old September 5th, 2011, 09:27 AM   #2883
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Trial program implements service improvements for Toyama Chitetsu
http://www2.knb.ne.jp/news/20110901_29415.htm

Quote:
On September 1, Toyama Chihō Railroad initiated a trial program increasing the number of scheduled trains on the Fujikoshi / Kamidaki Line.

By improving the convenience of the line, the railway will determine the line’s latent ridership potential.

The trial program covers the entire length of the Fujikoshi / Kamidaki Line, from Dentetsu Toyama Station to Iwakuraji Station.

The last scheduled departure from Dentetsu Toyama Station has originally been around 10:40 pm, but on September 1, it will be pushed back another 30 minutes to 11:10 pm.

On weekdays during the return commute period between 4:00 pm and 9:00 pm, the railway will also add three additional trains in both directions.

Akagawa Hiroshi, spokesperson for Toyama Chihō Railroad’s General Affairs Section, says, “The program is a test to see how much ridership along the line can be stimulated by increasing the number of trains, to see whether or not it will lead to an increase in ridership. The neighborhoods along the Kamidaki Line somewhat serve as bedtowns for central Toyama City, and we are hopeful that we can expect some latent demand potential.”

Of the approx. ¥17.36 million in costs in required additional personnel and other expenditures as a result of the increased service, the national government will fund half, with Toyama City and Toyama Chihō Railroad each providing one-fourth.

The trial program will last until the end of March next year, and ridership for the seven-month period is expected to increase by 3%. The railway expects an average daily ridership increase of 62 passengers.

Together with this trial, Toyama City will spend ¥7 million to build a 16-space park-and-ride lot on land outside Tsukioka Station, aiming to open the lot in November.
The article also has a video new report.

Summer scenes on the Toyama Chitetsu (latter part also has some Fukui Railway and JR scenes):


Source: kamohito on YouTube

Scenes at Minami-Toyama Station (2010.05), the junction of the Fujikoshi / Kamidaki Line and Toyama Chitetsu’s Toyama City Line (a tram line):


Source: AGUIMOVIE on YouTube

The Toyama Chihō Railroad is also the setting of the second “RAILWAYS” movie, debuting in December. The first movie was set on the Ichibata Electric Railway. The second movie will star Miura Tomokazu and Yo Kimiko. Official preview:


Source: RIVERBOOK41 on YouTube
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Old September 5th, 2011, 09:27 AM   #2884
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Grounbreaking on continuous grade-separation at Toyama Station
http://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/to...302000120.html

Quote:
In conjunction with the construction of the Hokuriku Shinkansen to open in late FY2014, the JR Toyama Station Continuous Grade-Separation Project kicked into gear on May 22, starting in motion several projects to advance urban planning to reconnect neighborhoods to the north and south sides of the tracks.

The grade-separation covers approx. 1.8 km between Meirinchō and Akebonochō in Toyama City, and will elevate the Hokuriku Line, Takayama Line, and Toyama Chihō Railroad.

The project is targeted for completion two to three years after the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen. The total project cost is ¥34.5 billion, and is being executed with Toyama Prefecture as lead.

After elevation of the tracks, two north-south roads will be expanded from two lanes to four lanes, and an additional two new roads will be constructed.

Toyama Light Rail and the city’s streetcars will also be connected north-south, relieving traffic congestion and making travel to central Toyama City more convenient.
A bit of belated Toyama news.
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Old September 5th, 2011, 09:29 AM   #2885
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Meitetsu announces redevelopment of Nagoya Station buildings
http://www.chunichi.co.jp/s/article/...090090609.html

Quote:
In regards to Nagoya Railroad (Meitetsu) Nagoya Station and the railway’s properties in the surrounding area, on August 9, Meitetsu president Yamamoto Ado unveiled plans for a redevelopment project in time for the 2027 scheduled opening of the Tōkyō – Nagoya section of the Chūō Shinkansen maglev.

The railway plans to cooperate with government and the owners of adjacent buildings such as Kinki Nippon Railway (Kintetsu Corporation) to execute the redevelopment in a cohesive manner. Meitetsu will compile a basic vision in one to two years, gradually beginning work as the development plans are finalized.

“This is a redevelopment focused between Meieki (Nagoya Station) and Meieki South areas. Since it will take 10 to 20 years to complete all the construction, the time has finally come to present our vision,” remarked Yamamoto.

The area in question stretches 350 m north-south, from the Meitetsu Building (containing the Meitetsu Department Store flagship branch) and the Meitetsu Bus Terminal Building (containg Meitetsu headquarters and the Meitetsu Grand Hotel) to the Meitetsu Lejac Building at the southwest corner of the Sasashima intersection. The area covers approx. 2.6 ha, and will be the largest redevelopment in the history of the Nagoya Station area.

Meitetsu will take its properties and develop a mixed-use building that combines the functions of a railway and bus terminal, retail facilities, and offices. The railway will narrow down a specific vision, circulating the plan to the affected stakeholders for comment and finalizing the details of the facilities. The construction will be executed gradually in three or four blocks.

In order to allow for smooth access for passengers to / from Kintetsu, Meitetsu has paid special attention to dividing ownership of the train station and terminal building structures, and has already notified Kintetsu of its intentions to redevelop the area. In addition, the railway will also now formally begin calling on owners of buildings on the blocks several hundred meters south of the Lejac Building to cooperate with the project in an effort to execute a cohesive redevelopment that connects to the Sasashima Live 24 area.

Approaching 40 to 50 years since completion, the Meitetsu Building and the railway’s other properties are beginning to show their age, and Meitetsu had been hoping for many years to replace the buildings. With the buildings’ underground levels housing structures for operating subway lines, however, complex coordination is needed, Yamamoto had up until now avoided reference to the timeline of the redevelopment, saying it was “still far into the future.”
Map showing the location of the lots / buildings in question:
http://g.co/maps/thmf

Evening rush hour at Meitetsu Nagoya Station (2011.03.08), 5:00 pm:


Source: naha478 on YouTube
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Old September 5th, 2011, 09:29 AM   #2886
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Shizuoka City to establish LRT committee in September
http://www.kentsu.co.jp/shizuoka/news/p03741.html

Quote:
In regards to the light rail transit (LRT) proposals being considered for Shizuoka City, the city will establish an LRT Implementation Research Committee in September to work towards introduction of an LRT system, and plans to determine the direction of the project before year’s end.

The news came after Chairman Gotō Yasuo of the Shizuoka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) called together Shizuoka City mayor Tanabe Nobuhiro and Shizuoka Railway president Sakai Kimihiro for discussions. The research committee will be comprised of four members: Saitama University graduate school professor Kubota Hisashi, SCCI Chairman Gotō Yasuo, Shizuoka Railway managing director Miura Takafumi, and Vice-Mayor Shimizu Kiyoshi.

The city plans to have the research committee consider operation strategies for the line and debate and research how to deal with the remaining issues, with a total of four sessions to be held between September and December. The research committee will then report the results of the research to the mayor before year’s end. Meanwhile, the city will also hold a symposium for citizens, increasing public awareness of the LRT plans by opening up the project to public comment and undertaking other efforts.

In order to evaluate implementation of an LRT system, the city has carried out a variety of studies such as consideration of more specific proposed alignments and the project costs, and has been moving forward with studies for ridership projections in FY2011. The LRT will be evaluated as a means of accelerating urban planning centered around public transit in central Shizuoka City and has been defined as a public transit axis for trips throughout the city center, connecting central urbanized areas and hubs through a proposed seamless connection with railway lines. In addition, consideration of introduction of an LRT system is also incorporated into the framework of the Shizuoka Urban Refinement Strategy Execution Plan currently being drafted, which will explain how the government will carry out the mayor’s manifesto.

In regards to introduction of a new transit system, the city has identified three issues: (1) improvement of profitability (selection of an appropriate alignment and system, capture of ridership demand, etc.); (2) reservation of space for the line (reduction in traffic lanes, widening of roadways, etc.); and (3) securement of funding sources (selection of a project method, securement of project capital, etc.). In order to resolve these issues, the research group will provide a variety of information and conduct awareness studies and opinion exchanges, aiming to develop a consensus with residents after accepting a diversity of opinions and proposals.

A total of three routes currently envisioned, two in the Shizuoka area and one in the Shimizu area. The Shizuoka routes include one alignment from Shin-Shizuoka Station to central Shizuoka City and another alignment from Shin-Shizuoka Station towards the Suruga Ward Offices. The Shimizu area route features an alignment connecting Shin-Shimizu Station, JR Shimizu Station, and the Hinode area.
I can’t find any maps or documentation online, but based on the descriptions in the article, the alignments should look something like this:
http://g.co/maps/d9bt

In other Shizuoka news, there’s some major work at Shin-Shizuoka Station, which is the terminus of the Shizuoka Railway’s Shizuoka–Shimizu Line. Shizutetsu is replacing Shin-Shizuoka Center, the terminal building / shopping center at the station, and the bus terminal at the station with a new 11-story building (gross floor area of approx. 93,000 sq m, including 32,000 sq m of retail). First floor will house the bus terminal, train station, station concourse, and fashion shops, 2nd through 5th floors will house retail, 6th through 8th floors will house the vehicular parking, and the 9th floor and above will house a cinema. Major tenants include Shizutetsu Store (a supermarket chain) and Tōkyū Hands (Shizutetsu has a close relationship with Tōkyū, which owns a portion of the railway). The work is supposed to be completed this year.

Short tour of the work (2011.07.23) at Shin-Shizuoka Station:


Source: kaiy130 on YouTube
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Old September 5th, 2011, 09:30 AM   #2887
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Sendai Airport Transit to fully reopen October 1
http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2011/08/20110830t15004.htm

Quote:
It was revealed on August 29 that the Sendai Airport Access Line will restore service on the Mitazono Station – Sendai Airport Station section—currently suspended as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake—on October 1, reinstating revenue service across the full length of the line.

Sendai Airport is scheduled to do a full reopening, including the resumption of regular international flights, on September 25. The restoration of the Access Line could give renewed energy to the resumption of functions at the hub airport.

A total of 40 roundtrips will be operated daily, including two rapid roundtrips, returning the service to pre-earthquake levels. The train traffic control system, flooded out as a result of the tsunami, has been relocated from the first floor to the second floor at Sendai Airport Station as part of anti-tsunami measures, and the railway will restart operations of the system.

In conjunction with the re-opening of the full length of the Access Line, the substitution bus service operating between Mitazono and Sendai Airport Stations, as well as the direct-service bus runs connecting JR Sendai Station and Sendai Airport, will end on August 30.

The Access Line received severe damage to electrical equipment, viaducts, tunnels, and station buildings as a result of the tsunami, and service across the entire line had been suspended. The railway temporarily restored the train traffic control system on July 23 at Mitazono Station, partially resuming service on the Natori Station – Mitazono Station section of the line at about 70 percent of the pre-earthquake schedule.

Some recent videos on the line (2011.08.02):
Source: muratalove on YouTube

Mitazono to Morisekinoshita:



Morisekinoshita to Mitazono:

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Old September 5th, 2011, 09:31 AM   #2888
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Utsunomiya City LRT plan kicks back into gear
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/news...2290001-n1.htm

Quote:
Utsunomiya City has restarted efforts towards introducing a new public transit system such as light rail transit (LRT). The community meetings to explain the project to residents, delayed from two years ago, began last month, and Mayor Satō Eiichi heralds development of a new public transit network as a “project that will decide the fate of the city.” It seems that the movement to introduce a new public transit system will once more be the focus of attention.

=========

In regards to a new public transit system, Mayor Satō pointed out the following at a recent lecture held in the city: “It’s critical that we move forward with all manner of public transit projects, as the fate of Utsunomiya dependso on it.” The Mayor also called attention to the critical need to introduce LRT: “It’s quiet, environmentally-friendly, and can operate in very constrained environments, so why don’t we deploy LRT in needed areas?”

Faced with an aging society, population decline, and environmental concerns, the city is aiming to realize a “network-style compact city” where public transit connects together hubs featuring concentrated neighborhood functions and population. In particular, the chronic congestion on roads connecting the Kiyohara Industrial Belt in eastern Utsunomiya to the city’s central district has become an issue, with establishment of a new public transit system seen as essential.

For this new public transit system, introduction of LRT is being considered, and the city had scheduled community meetings in FY2009. However, the meetings were delayed indefinitely citing “uncertain prospects due to the ongoing cuts to public works projects as a result of the change in administration.”

However, the city had been continuing preparations for the community meetings behind the scenes. This year, the city published a pamphlet, “Utsunomiya City’s Vision for Urban Planning and a Public Transit Network.” The city distributed the pamphlet to households in the city—including placing the pamphlets inside newspapers—attaching a postcard at the end and asking citizens to share their opinions.

Based on the comments received, the city will establish an “open house” in late August to allow the city to exchange opinions with citizens regarding the vision of the public transit network. Two to three staff from the city’s Transport Policy Section will be present at the open house venue, explaining the city’s vision for urban planning face-to-face with citizens showing interest in the display boards.

Rather than just publishing the city’s viewpoint uni-laterally through a public relations magazine, the city says it instead hopes to give special care to interacting with citizens. The Transport Policy Section says, “We want to hear citizens’ honest opinions on the LRT and the city’s future public transit network.” Citing a polarized public opinion over the project in the past, the city hopes to carefully move forward with the project.

Mayor Satō is optimistic about introduction of LRT: “It is the job of government to do the things required by citizens. We put money into the things that society needs. We can easily accomplish this project on Utsunomiya’s city budget. The construction will take three years… This is not a far-off dream.”

The open house established in the first floor of the Main Municipal Government Building. Citizens were seen listening intently to explanations by city staff. (Utsunomiya City Hall)
Proposed LRT alignment:
http://g.co/maps/95df
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Old September 5th, 2011, 09:31 AM   #2889
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Shibuya Hikarie to be symbol of Shibuya
http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni201...SS087.htm?ep=6

Quote:
TOKYO (NQN)--Tokyu Corp. (9005) on Tuesday announced the outline of its plan to build a commercial complex where the Tokyu Bunka Kaikan once stood outside Shibuya Station in central Tokyo.

Shibuya Hikarie, which is scheduled to open in spring 2012, will have 34 stories above ground and four below, with a 2,000-seat music hall occupying the 11th to 16th floors.

The complex will have commercial facilities, including a Tokyu department store and two event halls, one large and one small.

The eighth floor will have a floor space of about 2,000 sq. meters, which will be used to hold art exhibitions and other events.

Tokyu President Hirofumi Nomoto told the press that Shibuya Hikarie is "the premier project among Tokyu's redevelopment projects in Tokyo's Shibuya district."

"We want Shibuya to be recognized as the entertainment district that people both inside and outside Japan want to visit most in the world," Nomoto said. "We will make the complex a symbol of this."

The executive said Tokyu will spend nearly 100 billion yen on the project, and that he believes the undertaking will be profitable if it can generate a revenue of around 6% of that amount.

Tokyu Theatre Orb, the name of the music hall, will open in the summer of 2012 with the musical West Side Story.
Tōkyō MX news report (2011.07.19):

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Old September 5th, 2011, 02:33 PM   #2890
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Kintetsu gears up for Kansai’s answer to Tōkyō Sky Tree
http://www.nikkei.com/markets/kigyo/...01092011000000
I hope I'm not too off-topic, but I'm really glad they are constructing this building although the rather ordinary design of the building definitely won't make the same kind of impression on one's mind as the Sky Tree. Japanese cities need more landmark buildings. Up until now the only landmark building non-Japanese might have been familiar with has always been Tokyo Tower, which is just a copy of the Eiffel Tower.

The project's website: http://www.abenoharukas-300.com/
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Old September 6th, 2011, 07:11 AM   #2891
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What would you define as a “landmark” building? If you just mean something that looks tall and somewhat unique, I don’t think you can expect much on the tall side… The seismic design requirements and airport proximity make supertalls mostly impractical. While there are plenty of nondescript office and mansion towers, I would argue there’s still a decent batch of architecturally decent skyscrapers in Tōkyō, including Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, Midtown Tower, Cocoon Tower, TMG Building, etc.

Anyways, I think we have an interesting situation right now, where the tallest structure in Japan and the tallest building in Japan are being constructed by private railway companies, the first Tōbu and the second Kintetsu. With declining ridership, we may start to see more large-scale terminal redevelopment with skyscrapers / tower complexes as they try to capture the synergies between their railway business and their other businesses like retail, leisure, etc. Shibuya Hikarie, while a comparatively run-of-the-mill tower, is also part of this trend, as is JR East's Tōkyō Station City redevelopment, the Shiodome towers, and the future Shibuya Station redevelopment.
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Old September 6th, 2011, 07:14 AM   #2892
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For a while now, I’ve been working on this every so often… It’ll eventually get it done someday. Enjoy!
Click for larger size.

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Old September 6th, 2011, 10:59 AM   #2893
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Quote:
Japanese cities need more landmark buildings.
If a "landmark" building is designed as part of a redevelopment, requires a certain height for technical reasons (Sky Tree), or just to satisfy the vanity of the private corporation building it, fine, but building such a structure because a city "needs" it says more of the lack of anything else interesting in that said city. Tokyo and Osaka have interest in spades even if all the buildings topped off at five stories, in fact, it's at the street level where you get the atmosphere that makes a city special.
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Old September 6th, 2011, 06:20 PM   #2894
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Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
For a while now, I’ve been working on this every so often… It’ll eventually get it done someday. Enjoy!
Click for larger size.
awesome! thanks for sharing
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Old September 7th, 2011, 01:45 PM   #2895
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k.k.jetcar View Post
If a "landmark" building is designed as part of a redevelopment, requires a certain height for technical reasons (Sky Tree), or just to satisfy the vanity of the private corporation building it, fine, but building such a structure because a city "needs" it says more of the lack of anything else interesting in that said city. Tokyo and Osaka have interest in spades even if all the buildings topped off at five stories, in fact, it's at the street level where you get the atmosphere that makes a city special.
Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
What would you define as a “landmark” building? If you just mean something that looks tall and somewhat unique, I don’t think you can expect much on the tall side… The seismic design requirements and airport proximity make supertalls mostly impractical. While there are plenty of nondescript office and mansion towers, I would argue there’s still a decent batch of architecturally decent skyscrapers in Tōkyō, including Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, Midtown Tower, Cocoon Tower, TMG Building, etc.

Anyways, I think we have an interesting situation right now, where the tallest structure in Japan and the tallest building in Japan are being constructed by private railway companies, the first Tōbu and the second Kintetsu. With declining ridership, we may start to see more large-scale terminal redevelopment with skyscrapers / tower complexes as they try to capture the synergies between their railway business and their other businesses like retail, leisure, etc. Shibuya Hikarie, while a comparatively run-of-the-mill tower, is also part of this trend, as is JR East's Tōkyō Station City redevelopment, the Shiodome towers, and the future Shibuya Station redevelopment.
Well people associate images with words and ideas. If you ask people around the world what they think of when you say 'New York, London, Paris' images of landmarks in those cities would probably come to mind even if they've never been to these places. I'm not talking only about tall buildings; London and Paris aren't famous only for their tall buildings. If you mention Tokyo to Joe Schmo on an American street and ask that person to name a Tokyo landmark, what do you think crops up in that person's mind? Even Tokyo Tower isn't that famous; outside of Japan or Asia, most people probably don't even know what it is or what it looks like. And they certainly wouldn't have heard of Tokyo's other 'landmarks' like Roppongi Hills. Standout historical cites are scarce. And many of Tokyo's unique neighborhoods are popular only with niche groups i.e. Harajuku and Akihabara with nerds. Tokyo is one of the biggest cities in the world, but I think it's underrepresented in the minds of most people when compared to other world cities. The only people outside of Asia Tokyo is famous among is nerds or people with specialty interests i.e. people into anime, trains, Japanese women etc.

Last edited by nouveau.ukiyo; September 7th, 2011 at 01:51 PM.
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Old September 7th, 2011, 08:46 PM   #2896
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My few thoughts (at the risk of going OT)...

I do not believe there is a dearth of landmark-quality places in Tōkyō... The Shibuya scramble, Kaminarimon / Sensōji Temple, the Imperial Palace just to name a few... Even hidden treasures like Tsukiji Honganji and Hamarikyū. Tōkyō also lost a lot of buildings during the air raids, so much of the architectural heritage that it had is now gone. If people outside of Japan do not know, then it is mostly a branding / marketing exercise, which while important, is only one element of making a great or "global" city. I think Dubai is a good example that "monumentalism" is not necessarily the solution.

Second, how much of people's perceptions are shaped by our perspective and our past experiences? Correct me if I am wrong, but all of us in this discussion come from an American (U.S.) perspective... The history we learn in school, the images we see on TV, etc. are American- (and to a lesser extent, Euro-) centric. Thus, it is only natural that when someone says "London", "Paris", "Rome" that images and concepts that have been associated with these cities by a sort of "manufactured" history and tradition immediately spring to mind. However, we rarely talk about "Tōkyō" per se, more about "Japan", if at all. Same with "India" and "China".
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Old September 8th, 2011, 09:36 AM   #2897
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Hopes and anxiety for Tōzai Line construction
http://www.kahoku.co.jp/spe/spe_sys1079/20110823_03.htm

Quote:
Requests to relocate to Arai
On July 21, eleven officials from six neighborhood associations in the Arahama district of Wakabayashi Ward, Sendai City paid a visit to City Hall, relaying citizens’ anxieties one after another to city leaders.

“Homes along the coastline have been devastated.” “Please at least listen to our requests for a coordinated relocation.” One potential relocation site proposed at the meeting is the area around Arai Station on the Tōzai Subway Line scheduled to open in FY2015.

The site is about 5 km inland from the Arahama district, on the west side of the Sendai East Road, which fulfilled its duty as a breakwater when the tsunami washed ashore after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Urban planning along the Tōzai Line designates the area around the station as the “hub of the city’s eastern area.” Land readjustment projects are currently underway in four districts, covering a total area of approx. 120 ha.

Aside from the Arai Higashi district to the south of the station where work has already begun, land readjustment projects in the other districts are falling behind, and will not make it in time for the line’s opening. The city had been aiming to concentrate functions and population along the line, and has begun considering accelerating the pace of the projects.

Ridership projections delayed
While the recent earthquake has added a new element involving the relocation of residents previously living along the coastline to areas along the new line, calls have reignited for a cautious stance on the subway project from a cost-benefit perspective.

In May and June, respectively, the Sendai City Ombundsmen and the Association to Protect Mt. Aoba, an environmental protection group, submitted requests to the city pushing for the shelving of the project and a halt to construction work, saying that recovery from the earthquake damage should be prioritized.

Ombundsmen lawyer Onodera Shin’ichi points out, “The city should stop while it still can and conduct accurate ridership projections, informing citizens of the revenue and cost forecasts for the line.”

Citing difficulties in ascertaining population trends following the earthquake, the city abandoned plans to develop ridership projections in accordance with Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) guidelines, originally scheduled to take place this fiscal year. The city will restart the work based on the reconstruction plan, and has indicated that it plans to release the new projections next fiscal year.

”Interaction” now in question
When the project was approved in 2003, daily ridership projections for the Tōzai Line were 119,000, of which Arai Station was forecasted for approx. 7,700 passengers. Many city leaders believe that even the figures for Arai Station, expected to see an influx with the relocation of residents, would be “difficult to match.”

However, the city points out that partial operations on the Namboku Line were resumed on March 14 only three days after the earthquake, bolstering the mobility of citizens as a mode of public transit, emphasizing that “faith in the subway, resilient against earthquakes, has risen. There is greater anticipation for the trackside development along the Tōzai Line.”

While construction of the Tōzai Line was temporarily suspended following the earthquake, work on all 21 sections, except for the Nishi Kōen section (Aoba Ward), has already resumed. Aiming for an on-time opening, work is proceeding at a fast clip.

“The Tōzai Line will never generate an annual operating surplus, and we will need to subsidize a massive deficit from the city’s general budget every year,” say the Ombundsmen.

Will the city be able to relay to citizens the critical need for the subway project, even in parallel with the budget-busting reconstruction work to come? The skills of Mayor Okuyama Emiko to interact and convince citizens and execute the project will be tested.
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Old September 8th, 2011, 09:37 AM   #2898
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Tōkyō stations with highest employment and population growth

On 2011.08.30, Wonds Inc. released results of a survey of population and employment growth around train stations in the Tōkyō area. Of course, these need to be taken with a grain of salt, as the study is intended to assist retailers in determining potential new locations, but it’s a bit interesting to see that all the growth is happening (at least according to this study) in the eastern wards. The study looks only at the top 200 stations by ridership and assumes a 1 km radius (15 min walking distance) around each station to calculate the figures.

Population:
Code:
                     Pop.   Five-Year Increase
Rank Station         (2005)   (2000 to 2005)
==== =============== ====== ==================
 1   Ningyōchō       31,941       10,953
 2   Hatchōbori      30,720        9,707
 3   Bakuro-Yokoyama 33,221        9,482
 4   Tsukishima      48,475        8,943
 5   Kinshichō       59,783        7,948

 Average of 200 sta. 35,841        2,157
     Std. Dev.       15,804        2,468
Daytime population:
Code:
                    Daytime Pop. Five-Year Increase
Rank Station           (2005)      (2001 to 2006)
==== ============== ============ ==================
 1   Shiodome         335,860          45,241
 2   Hamamatsuchō     216,668          44,385
 3   Daimon           234,206          42,160
 4   Shinbashi        393,843          38,437
 5   Mitsukoshi-mae   464,001          31,296

 Average of 200 sta.  104,047           1,393
     Std. Dev.        111,829          10,691
Press release:
http://www.wonds.co.jp/WONDS_Site/pd...se20110830.pdf
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Old September 8th, 2011, 09:38 AM   #2899
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TOKYO WONDERGROUND September posters

Click on image for larger size.
Source: Tōkyō Metro



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Old September 8th, 2011, 09:39 AM   #2900
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JR East releases details of Chiba Station replacement project
http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2011/20110905.pdf

Quote:
In preparation for the replacement of the Chiba Station station building and the main structure of the station tenant building (Perie 1), up until now we have been proceeding with detailed design and related construction work such as removal of obstructions, but we will now begin construction of the actual building.

After completion, the station will be reborn into a user-friendly, open station befitting the central terminal and gateway to Chiba, thanks to the relocation and reorganization of station facilities and construction of a tenant building and ekinaka (station retail) that is unified with the train station.

We apologize for the continued inconvenience as a result of the relocation of under-construction passages, the closure of stores, and other work, but we ask for your understanding and cooperation.

Project details
Train station
By relocating the concourse above the tracks to the third floor and constructing the station facilities above the platforms, we will improve safety, comfort, and mobility while creating a new face for Chiba.
  • A safe and comfortable station
    We will not only improve the seismic performance of the station through the replacement of the train station and station tenant building but also realize a safe and comfortable station by concurrently carrying out seismic reinforcement of viaduct columns.
  • A comfortable, user-friendly station
    By designing the station to be open and airy, with wide passages and high ceilings, as well as connecting the East Exit and West Exit on the same floor, the field-of-vision inside the station concourse will be improved, transforming the station into an easy-to-understand, user-friendly station (for both boarding / alighting and transferring).
  • A convenient station unified with the neighborhood
    With the aim of attractive urban planning and development of a network for the station surrounds, we will coordinate with Chiba City to connect with the area north of the station (the Benten district), creating an additional north-south through-passage functionality on the third floor. In addition, by connecting to the monorail, we will transform the station into a more convenient transport hub.
Station tenant building and ekinaka
We will create an attractive retail facility that will publicize the unique qualities of Chiba, prove useful in the daily lives of locals, and bring pleasure to many customers.
  • A station where one can experience all that Chiba has to offer
    In order to publicize the unique qualities of Chiba, including the blessing of a rich natural environment and an area with a multitude of sporting activities, we will sponsor farmer’s markets featuring locally-produced food products and undertake a variety of information campaigns.
  • A station where locals gather
    In order to encourage use of the station as a place for locals to relax and gather during their daily lives, we will construct a rooftop garden. In addition to installing a hall that can be used for cultural exchange, we will also construct parenting support facilities (nursery schools, etc.), medical facilities, and other functions to support passenger lifestyles.
  • An attractive and fun station
    We will aim for an attractive station tenant building and ekinaka facility by offering a product lineup that can meet a variety needs from highly-sensitive to daily, satisfying our loyal customers who have shopped with us in the past, customers who had originally shopped in retail facilities in downtown and suburban areas, and visitors to Chiba.
Green design
Taking advantage of the energy efficiency achieved through introduction of LED lighting throughout the entire station, station tenant building, and ekinaka facility, as well as the natural energy captured by solar panels, we have designed a station that is conscious of the global environment.

Introduction of new technology developed through R&D
As the replacement of the Chiba Station station building and station tenant building requires the construction of a large-scale building directly above the tracks, it was envisioned that the construction could require a lengthy period of time as a result of the following factors:
  • The diameter of foundation piles is large, and there is no machinery to execute the work (the work would be executed by manpower).
  • Work in locations in close proximity to the tracks or in constrained spaces (e.g., on platforms) would only be permitted during the late night period.
In order to resolve these issues, we developed the following new technologies in coordination with contractors and others:
  • Cast-in-place pile construction with borehole wall retention (provisional name)
  • Super-low vertical clearance cast-in-place pile construction (provisional name)
Facility details
Location: Shin-Chiba 1-chōme, Chūō Ward, Chiba City
Gross floor area: Approx. 70,000 sq m
Floors: 7 aboveground, 1 underground
Primary uses: Station facility / concourse (approx. 16,000 sq m), ekinaka (approx. 8,000 sq m), station tenant building (approx. 46,000 sq m)

For reference:
Former station building / station tenant building (Perie 1)
Gross floor area: Approx. 27,000 sq m
Floors: 6 aboveground, 1 underground
Primary uses: Station facility / concourse (approx. 10,000 sq m), in-station retail (approx. 2,000 sq m), station tenant building (approx. 15,000 sq m)

Project leads:
East Japan Railway Company
Perie Co., Ltd. (retail facility operations)

Schedule (planned):
October 2011: Groundbreaking of main structure (January 2010: groundbreaking on related construction work)
Summer 2016: Opening of new station building, opening of ekinaka (a portion still under construction)
Spring 2017: Grand opening of ekinaka, opening of station tenant building (a portion still under construction)
Spring 2018: Grand opening of station tenant building
Images from the press release:

Due to the unusual track layout at Chiba, the station needs to be quite wide, particularly at the south end.





Main entrance



Public concourse (outside the faregates), third floor.
Much higher ceilings compared to the current station building.



Paid concourse (inside the faregates), third floor



Direct access to the monorail station from the third floor (currently access is from ground level, requiring passengers to go up to the third-floor monorail station).



Ceiling here contains the direct access to the monorail station.



Cast-in-place pile construction with borehole wall retention (provisional name). Steel-plate walls the retain the soil are constructed concurrently with the pile. This method allows the work to be performed day and night. This method was developed by JR East and Tekken Corporation.



Super-low vertical clearance cast-in-place pile construction (provisional name). The machinery is small and light, making it possible execute work in constrained locations, reducing the preparation work, and allowing for 24-hour, round-the-clock work. This method was developed by JR East, Tekken Corporation, and Tōa–Tone Boring Co. Patents for both this and the previous technology are under application.

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