Dead space by design III: Furukawa river buried by a freeway

Furukawa river below a freeway

On my way to Temple University, I passed the Sannohashi bridge, and realized that the river was almost completely covered by an elevated freeway. Later I learned the river is called Furukawa (古川), an extension of the Shibuyakawa.

The freeway destroys all the life the river could support, and also diminishes the value of the houses left in its shadows.

Furukawa river below a freeway

This is just one of many Tokyo rivers, canals and historic bridges buried by freeways. A hopeful vision of what could be is seen in the “daylighting” of Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon (Hangul: 청계천) river. As it is now, what remains of the river is a dead space created through poor planning.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Bureau of Construction has a cool interactive map showing every bridge of this river, with photos of each bridge and the views upstream and downstream. And there are photos of this river during Edo, Meiji and contemporary times.

Furukawa river in edo, meiji & now

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