Chapter 11: Urban Farming in Tokyo


Toward an urban-rural hybrid city

By Toru Terada, Makoto Yokohari, and Mamoru Amemiya
From Green Asia: Ecocultures, Sustainable Lifestyles, and Ethical Consumption
Edited by Tania Lewis
Routledge, NewYork.(pp.155-168)


Cities are places of both consumption and production. There is actually a city that had already realized this future vision of Japan in which agro- activities are incorporated into society. It is Tokyo’s predecessor, Edo. Edo, one of a handful of the world’s megacities that had a population of more than 1 million at the beginning of the eighteenth century, was a garden city with numerous farms integrated into the city. Fujii, Yokohari, and Watanabe (2002) reconstructed the land use in Edo in the mid-nineteenth century based on historical documents and maps.

They found that, at the time, a little more than 40 per cent of land in Edo was used for agriculture and that numerous farms were interspersed in the urban area radiating outward for a distance of 4 and 6 km from the Edo Castle. Local production and local consumption were thoroughly enforced, with vegetables produced on farms within the city being consumed within the city. Meanwhile, Edo maintained an outstanding sanitary environment that was unmatched by any other megacity in the world at the time, whereby human waste generated in the city was returned to the farms. Describing it in modern terms, Edo was a smart city with relatively little environmental burden and high-quality amenities. The coexistence of city and farms was a manifestation of Edo’s advanced environment.

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