I was delighted to see these nanohana (菜の花, or rapeseed) flowers in a subway display promoting rail trips to Izu, a subtropical peninsula a few hours from Tokyo. Rapeseed can be eaten like brocoli, used to make canola oil, or planted as a winter cover crop to improve soil quality. It is clever to promote rail trips to the countryside by bringing a bit of nature into the subterranean tunnels of heavily trafficked Shibuya station.
This giant origami mural celebrates Shinjuku station’s 125th anniversary. Tokyo boasts many mega-stations, including Tokyo Station, Shibuya, Shinagawa, and Ikebukuro. Yet Shinjuku station is the most used station in the world, with an estimated 3.4 million daily riders on train lines operated by five different rail companies.
I love how the anniversary is commemorated with this origami art work composed of thousands of cranes. The images chosen are iconic for Tokyo: Mount Fuji, a cherry tree, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s twin high-rise from the 1980s, and a rainbow. The only thing missing is the station itself; however, with no main entrance, the station is less a destination than a passageway to other places.
Recently in San Francisco, my friend told me about his rapid transit station’s 40,000 riders, which is a significant number. That figure is just over 1% of Shinjuku’s traffic. It is impossible to overstate the role of trains in making Tokyo function as an efficient and low carbon city.
Tokyo Sky Tree is rising on the eastern side of Tokyo. As the new digital television tower, it replaces Tokyo Tower as a symbol of “new” Tokyo. It’s scheduled for completion at the end of this year, and is already visible across Tokyo. In this picture, you can see Nakano Sakaue on the right and Sky Tree in the center.
The Japanese name for Sky Tree sounds funny in English, with two syllables becoming five unrecognizable ones. It’s スカイツリー, or Su-ka-i Tsu-rii. Japanese English is truly its own language. It’s also funny that they chose to use “tree” as a metaphor for this giant tower. In this view from here to there, across Tokyo, there are very few if any trees, green walls or roofs.
Inspired by a sidewalk garden, I planted some sweet pea starter plants in November. So far I have not seen any peas develop. However, the plants are growing vigorously on my balcony. The two part, red and pink flowers are lovely!
I was very skeptical of this plant when I purchased it at the end of last year. It’s amazingly long lasting. I bought it at Shimachu, and it’s produced by Suntory, the beverage maker and garden supply company. I think it’s very cheerful, especially for winter.
Palgrave Macmillan‘s new City Branding book includes my chapter on city branding with new green spaces. Amazon’s says it’s in stock, but I am still waiting for the publisher to send me a copy. There are many chapters I am looking forward to reading, including Roland Kelts’ chapter on Tokyo (@rolandkelts). Many thanks to Keith Dinnie for editing this volume.
PART I: THEORY
Introduction to the Theory of City Branding; K.Dinnie
Branding the City as an Attractive Place to Live; A.Insch
City Branding and Inward Investment; A.C.Middleton
City Branding and the Tourist Gaze; G.Hospers
City Branding Partnerships; S.van Gelder
City Branding and Stakeholder Management; A.Stevens
Paradoxes of City Branding and Societal Changes; C.Ooi
City Branding through Food Culture – Insights from the Regional Branding Level; R.Tellstrom
City Branding and Sustainable Urbanism; J.Braiterman
Online City Branding; M.Florek
PART II: CASES
Introduction to the Practice of City Branding; K.Dinnie
The City Branding of Accra; A.Ebow Spio
The City Branding of Ahmedabad; S.Nair
Athens City Branding and the 2004 Olympic Games; M.Fola
The City Branding of Barcelona: A Success Story; J.C.Belloso
Chongqing’s City Branding – The Role of Graphic Design; F.Lau& A.Leung
Edinburgh City Branding; K.Wardrop
The Hague, International City of Peace and Justice; B.Hulleman& R.Govers
Kuala Lumpur City Branding; G.Musa& T.C.Melewar
Lisbon City Branding; J.Freire
The City Branding of Montevideo; P.Hartmann
New York City Branding; P.Bendel
Paris City Branding; J.Kapferer
Seoul City Branding; K.Y.Kyung
The City Branding of Hong Kong; T.Loo
Strategic Planning Director for China at Mediaedge:cia
Sydney City Branding; G.Parmenter
Tokyo’s City Brand; R.Kelts
Wollongong City Branding; G.Kerr