Development and Urbanization
Co-Authors: Yoshimichi Yui; Yoshiki WAKABAYASHI; Hitoshi MIYAZAWA
Since 2007, Japan has been experiencing a gradual decline in its natural population due to a rapid rate of aging, coupled with low birth rate. The term “shutter down” has become a common Japanized term in referring to the phenomenon of neighbourhood shops that had to close down in the recent years with depopulation and aging. This paper provides a case study of the services and shops that opened in the once “shutter down” shop spaces in a neighbourhood in Tama new town – the biggest new town suburb in Japan situated just outside Tokyo. Our site is situated in a neighbourhood characterized by high aging rate of over 40%. The site consists of a stretch of 24 shops under a high rise apartment, this stretch seems livelier than others around the estate, although 20% of these shops are still “shutter down”. In particular, we focus on the community service NGO, a café run by an NGO, and an integrated commercial and social support service operated by a courier business in this presentation. Through field work and interviews, we explore “neighbourhood activism” initiated by NGOs and social enterprises in the site in understanding the role of neighbourhood efforts in creating viable mutual support and community network. Such efforts represent innovative ideas reviving the sense of community while countering social isolation typically faced by older residents in these aged new towns.