Month: March 2009


This link page will be occasionally updated with annotated links about green space initiatives in Tokyo, the United States and other developed and developing cities. The current organization is Tokyo, San Francisco, Other United States & Canada, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and a book list.

This page is far from complete, and I welcome any suggestions for more links and categories.

Tokyo Municipal, Corporate, Non-profit and Popular
San Francisco
Other US and Canada
Latin America

Tokyo Municipal, Corporate, Non-profit and Popular Green City Initiatives

Tokyo’s 10 Year Green City Plan: Esteemed architect Ando Tadao led Tokyo Municipal Government’s “Tokyo 10 years from now” planning to make Tokyo the greenest world city as part of its 2016 Olympic hosting bid. This municipal plan includes creating a park on a garbage landfill in Tokyo Bay called Umi no Mori (Forest in the Sea), connecting existing parks to make rings of green space, and eliminating cars in central Tokyo :


From the Tokyo Metropolitan Government:

Tokyo Metropolitan government’s 2000 green plan requiring 20% of new buildings’ roofs to be green spaces:

Tokyo Assembly Green roof (2002):

A Japan Times article about Ando Tadao and the 10 year Tokyo green city plan:

Green Curtain, Suginami Ward, Tokyo (lots of photos, Japanese only): An example of a municipal ward’s inventiveness in introducing vertical gardening for energy reduction and climate change:

International Governmental Convention on Biological Diversity, COP 10, in Nagoya, Oct 2010

JBIB: Japan Business Initiative for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity

More Trees non-profit organization (founders include Ryuki Sakamoto)

SEGES: Social and Environmental Green Evaluation System, providing ratings for corporate and community public green spaces (Japanese)

Japan for Sustainability’s website article about 2006’s 10 year and 2008’s 3 year action plan:

Japan for Sustainability: A leading environmental ngo in Japan

A Japan Times article about Japan for Sustainability

2008 Yomiuri newspaper article about new 2017 plan to plant 1,000 hectares in Tokyo in parkling lots, new parks

Tokyo Metropolitan government’s Green Tokyo fundraising campaign:

Totoro no Furusato (The Homeland of Totoro) Foundation (English): Efforts to build a huge forest on the outskirts of Tokyo by famed illustrator Miyazaki Hayao:

Ping magazine article on popular efforts to add green spaces and nature to Tokyo:

Kajima Corporation and Chiba University study on how green space increases real estate values in Tokyo, Green space relations with residential values in downtown Tokyo – implications for urban biodiversity conservation (Yoichi Kumagai and Yoriyuki Yamada, Local Environment, Routledge Press 2008)

Mori Building corporation’s vision of vertical garden city:

Japan Times news story about Setagaya pig farmer

Satellite image of existing Tokyo green spaces from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency:

Ginza Bee Project, Ginpachi (Japanese only): green business builds bee hives in Ginza for honey and crow deterrence

Matsuya Department store in Ginza’s rooftop tomato garden, Japan Times article

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group Holdings’ vegetable garden on Surugadai Building for neighbors and office workers:

Tokyo Garden Party website

Metropolis magazine article on green roofs in Tokyo:

Flickr group on Tokyo green spaces:

Urban gardening art installation

Article on restoration of the urban forests of Tokyo and Hiroshima following World War II:

Taketo Shimohigoshi’s “Green beams,” a design for greening above the streetscape that won a 2007 architect award)

Tim Porter, Tokyo garden photographer

Tokyo & Kyoto University Thought Leaders and Top Landscape Design Firms


San Francisco Small Streets

Linden Street: living street that is pedestrian-friendly and permeable; design by Winslow Architects (partly realized)

Clementina Street: organization improving two small streets as green space for pedestrians in San Francisco’s car-intensive South of Market (SOMA) (partly realized)

Mint Plaza: corporate-city partnership for public open space that transformed neglected street into vibrant pedestrian gathering place (launched in 2008):

Chinatown Alleyway master plan, begun in 1998 (partly realized)

Visions for turning roads into pocket parks

More San Francisco

SF Victory Gradens, city-sponsored program for urban farming in backyards, front yards, window boxes, rooftops, and unused land

Plant SF, promoting permeable landscapes

Re-bar, an arts collective, sponsors Park(ing) Day when parking spots are converted into small green spaces

Sidewalk Plaza, project by Public Architecture for Folsom Street, San Francisco

Livable City: San Francisco street advocacy group. Its executive director, Tom Radulovich, assisted with this link page.

Urban Ecology: connecting cities, people and nature
Other United States and Canada

Fallen Fruit: advocacy and art for public fruit trees for free fruit

City Farmer News: urban agriculture blog from Vancouver, Canada

DIY Gardener Blog: Garden Rant


Ecocity Builders: urban ecology non-profit

Greenroofs: international resource site

Online magazine about sustainable futures

Discussions about energy and our future:

About Permaculture, a sustainable environmental design movement; Wikipedia article

Blog about streets, focusing on NY and other US cities

Video blog about streets, focusing on NY and other US cities

Photo Blog about urban life, based in Montreal

Site that scores 40 US cities for walking, searchable by address

“Intersection repair” turns streets into public gathering spaces, Portland, Oregon

New York Times article on how one New York City suburban town makes it legally complex and financially impossible for neighbors to make simple green spaces:
Hong Kong Pedestrianisation program, from Transport Department website

ARUP’s Beijing Changxing eco-city master plan:

Dharavi, Mumbai community redevelopment vision

Urban Typhoon: participatory urban design for Dharavi, Mumbai
Italian Cittaslow (Slow City) movement
Latin America

Chilean Green Wall
Green Belt Movement: Nobel Peace Prize winner Wanjira’s East Africa ecology movement
Alexander, Christopher. The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe. London: Taylor and Francis, 2004.


Association of Environmental Business Women (ed). Kankyo Business Women [Business Women Working on the Environment] Tokyo: Nikkei BP, 2005.


Cervero, Robert. The Transit Metropolis: A Global Inquiry. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1998.


Dower, John. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II. New York: WW Norton & Co, 1999.



Enbutsu Sumiko. Discovering Shitamachi: A Walking Guide to the Other Tokyo. Tokyo: Shitamachi Times, 1984.


Enbutsu Sumiko. A Flower Lover’s Guide to Tokyo: 40 Walks for All Seasons. Kodansha, 2007.

Harrison, Robert Pogue. Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Isoda, Koichi. Shiso toshite no Tokyo [Thinking Tokyo] Tokyo: Kodan-sha, 1990.

Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Modern Library Series, 1961.

Jinnai, Hidenobu. Tokyo: A Spatial Anthropology. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Kumagai, Yoichi and Yoriyuki Yamada. “Green Space Relations with Residential Values in Downtown Tokyo: Implications for Urban Biodiversity Conservation.” Local Environment, Routledge Press, Vol. 13, No. 2, 141–157, March 2008.


Miyazaki Hayao. Totoro no sumu ie [The House Where Totoro Lives] Tokyo: Asahi Shinbun-sha, 1991.


Pollan, Michael. The Botany of Desire. New York: Random House, 2001.

Richie, Donald. The Japan Journals: 1947-2004. Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press, 2005.

Seidensticker, Edward. Kafu the Scribbler. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1965.

Weisman, Alan. The World without Us. New York: St Martin Press, 2007.


Winn, Marie. Central Park in the Dark: More Mysteries of Urban Wildlife. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.

Yomota Inuhiko. Tsukishima monogatari [Stories about Tsukishima] Tokyo: Kosaku-sha, 2007.


Innovative government projects include Tokyo’s Suginami ward office building. In 2008 the municipal government in 2008 planted the world’s tallest “green curtain” to reduce carbon dioxide, lower energy costs, and demonstrate new green technology.

Suginami assembly green curtain

The green curtain covers the south wall of the main city offices, with support from a net nearly 29 meters in height, and a wall of vegetation consisting of fast-growing vines such as loofah, cucumber, gourd and morning glory. The vines are growing in small containers, with a moisture sensor that makes watering very efficient. During summer and fall, the offices are cooler by 4 degrees celsius.

This Tokyo ward-level project is an amazing demonstration of vertical urban gardening, but unfortunately little information is available online in English about this project.

UPDATE: There’s a fantastic 2010 blog about a Suginami resident creating a small green curtain. Wonderful photos document the progress, lots of information about plant types, and participation of 4 year old child. Very cool!