Low-Carbon Cities
The Future of Urban Planning

Preface for the English Edition

The control of greenhouse gas emissions to prevent global warming has become an issue that needs to be tackled across the world. An intergovernmental framework was established in the Kyoto Protocol under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This led to further discussions in the 2009 COP15 meeting and the COP16 the following year toward the establishment of a new framework that involves countries that were not involved in the Kyoto Protocol framework such as the United States and China.
@At the same time, local municipalities, the closest government organs to citizens, have been actively discussing ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability has begun promoting such activities, with many countries now actively promoting local government-based activities that aim to achieve low carbon societies, through means such as designating model local municipalities. Cities are where greenhouse gas emissions are concentrated. Such measures are attracting attention because of their effectiveness in contributing to cutting emissions in the international framework.
@In addition to the government-designated model environmental cities that promote various policies to reduce urban CO2 emissions, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has launched a new policy of mandatory reduction rates at workplaces where greenhouse gas emissions exceed specified levels. Furthermore, low-carbon district projects are also being carried out to bring about actual zero emissions of greenhouse gases from housing developments or industry and housing mixed-use developments. These efforts by local authorities and urban districts are drawing a lot of attention, even when viewed on a global level.
@The editors and authors of this book have tried to introduce some comprehensive attempts by local authorities and district in urban areas in Japan that contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions as part of the bigger global picture. Specifically, we looked the examples of Nagoya and Tokyo in chapters 6 and 8, respectively, and other examples in Japan in Chapter 9. We hope this will be useful in making a contribution to the creation of low-carbon cities across the world.

April 2011
Editors: Takashi Onishi and Hikaru Kobayashi


This book is published as part of the University of Tokyo Masterfs Program in Sustainable Urban Regeneration Series, examining current urban issues and the state of urban planning. The program was launched in 2007 as a formal masterf s program for working adults with lectures and seminars being held on weekday evenings (Tuesday through Friday) and Saturday afternoons. The course aims to combine studentsf awareness of issues at their workplaces with study and research. This book looks at the realization of low-carbon cities\one of the most important challenges facing society.
@Japanfs population is shrinking, and Japanese cities are looking to make major reforms. Cities are developing in this age of urbanization in ways such as suburban development, new urban construction, urban redevelopment, and the improvement of facilities. Many types of urban plans and developments are being carried out to make these cities more comfortable places to live and work. They are being implemented in a period of major transition from growing urban population through to population stagnation and decline. Japanese government estimates show that the nationfs population has already peaked, with the population declining by 12.5 million by 2030 and 25 million by 2050. The urban population is also believed to be approaching a peak before it begins to fall. Accordingly, urban plans, developments and improvements will have to shift focus from a growing urban population to one of decline. One of the authors and editors of this book uses the expression: gUrban planning in the age of deurbanizationh to describe this practice, and stresses the importance of the conservation and restoration of nature in cities and the use, preservation and management of low-carbon urban spaces.
@The population decline in Japan is occurring at a time of a growing global effort to prevent the phenomenon of global warming. This presents the new problem in the field of urban planning of creating low-carbon cities. Low-carbon cities are those that have greatly reduced emissions of greenhouse gases stemming from their urban activities. To create such cities, it is necessary to consider the supply and use of energy in a different light and find new energy solutions. In other words, the development of civilization has, to date, involved the large consumption of resources and energy\a practice that is unsustainable. We face several challenges: increasing the supply of renewable energy to take the place of fossil fuels; preventing the wasteful use of resources through the development of a recycling-oriented society; and greatly reducing consumption of resources and energy in all aspects of life. Of course, the creation of low-carbon cities involves a major shift in various urban planning policies. Low-carbon city concepts and practices must permeate through from the way people lead their lives to the structure and infrastructure of cities. One of the authors and writers of this book is an expert in environmental administration, and believes the creation of low-carbon cities is only possible if environmental and city administration is unified and carried out in unison with citizens.
@In such a way, this book examines ways of tackling two major problems faced by Japan: population decline and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
@Chapter 1 explains the significance of low-carbon cities and its basic direction. Chapter 2 clearly and comprehensively describes the latest trends regarding an international framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the stance of the Japanese government. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 look at efforts in the commercial, transportation and household sectors, respectively, to realize a low-carbon society, and examine basic concepts and the latest measures being implemented. Chapter 6 looks at the road to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through cooperation between cities and their surrounding regions and international collaboration. Chapter 7 examines ways to incorporate the reduction of CO2 emissions into urban plans. Chapter 8 describes the world-leading low-carbon city policies of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
@Finally, Chapter 9 looks at specific examples of initiatives being implemented, both in Japan and overseas. In Japan it looks at the ambitious attempts to restrict greenhouse gas emissions in several cities selected as environmental model cities\Kitakyushu City, Toyama City, Yusuhara Town, and Tokyofs Chiyoda Ward\and the use of natural energy in Ota City, Kuzumaki Town and Niihama City. Overseas, European nations have implemented some of the worldfs most advanced green measures and policies and this chapter examines efforts by the European Union as a whole, as well as those by Sweden, Britain and Germany. By examining these cases, we can see the types of measures that can be effectively implemented into efforts to create low-carbon cities.
@This book was written by experts and researchers of environmental and city administration methods to examine international efforts to create low-carbon cities from a local perspective. It is hoped that this book goes someway toward encouraging a shift in the direction of Japanfs cities.
January 2010
Takashi Onishi and Hikaru Kobayashi