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WPS Asia Research Institute No. 249 | Ronald, R. & Oana, D. (2016) | How Changes in Housing, Homes and Households are Reshaping Urban Japan

Transformations in Japanese housing and urban conditions in the last half century have been remarkable, reflecting significant shifts in the economy and population. The transition has been from an era of extreme of high-speed urban and industrial growth, to the creation and bursting of an economic bubble, to an new era characterized by a sluggish economy, slow growth, social ageing and demographic decline.

Japan’s post-growth society has also been increasingly subject to the rise of neoliberal forces that have combined with social and economic pressures to shape a ‘post developmental state’. In this paper we explore the changing role of housing in urban Japan, moving between a national picture of post-war renewal, growth and stagnation to a more focused view on the changing complexion of Tokyo in terms shifting policy approaches, patterns of urban investment and household fragmentation, as well as the combined impact on the built environment.